Bill Gates’s Favorite Business Tales, in The New Yorker

“Business Adventures” went out of imitation in a seventies, though it’s entrance behind into imitation this year. Gates is pity one of a book’s chapters, “Xerox Xerox Xerox Xerox,” on his Web site. (“The title alone belongs in a Journalism Hall of Fame,” Gates writes.) First published in a repository in 1967, Brooks’s Profile of Xerox tells a story of a technologists who took huge risks to emanate a Xerox machine. (Many people during Xerox poured their life assets into a R. D. effort.) It’s full of insights about a diligent business of invention. It has also, with time, turn a window onto a past: it papers details of technological story that competence differently have been forgotten. Here’s Brooks describing an early Xerox machine, a 914:

Technologically, a 914 is so formidable (more complex, some Xerox salesmen insist, than an automobile) that it has an irritating bent to go wrong, and hence Xerox maintains a margin staff of thousands of repairmen who are presumably prepared to answer a call on brief notice. The many common malfunction is a jamming of a supply of duplicate paper, that is rather picturesquely called a “mispuff,” given any square of paper is lifted into position to be stamped by an interior fume of air, and a malfunction occurs when a fume goes wrong. A bad mispuff can spasmodic put a square of a paper in hit with prohibited parts, igniting it and causing an shocking cloud of white fume to emanate from a machine; in such a case, a user is urged to do nothing, or, during most, to use a tiny glow extinguisher that is trustworthy to it, given a glow browns itself out partially harmlessly if left alone, since a bucket of H2O thrown over a 914 might communicate potentially fatal voltages to a steel surface.

“I was fearful of it during first,” one Xerox “operator” tells Brooks. “The Xerox group say, ‘If you’re fearful of it, it won’t work,’ and that’s flattering most right. It’s a good scout; I’m lustful of it now.”

Over during a Journal, we can watch a video of a New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik—along with many others, including Warren Buffett—talking about Brooks. And, here on a site, we’ve unbarred a series of Brooks’s classical stories for your weekend reading:

A Corner in Piggly Wiggly,” Jun 6, 1959. On a life of Clarence Saunders, Piggly Wiggly’s founder.

The Edsel,” Nov 26, 1960. The story behind Ford’s luckless car. (Part Two.)

Privateer,” May 21, 1979. On Juan March, a rapacious Spanish banker famous as “the final bandit of a Mediterranean.” (Part Two.)

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