5 Books Every Microsoft Fan Should Read

Microsoft is one of a handful of companies in the tech industry that has genuinely changed the game over the years. It's never been plain sailing, and there are tales of controversy, of failure, of epic success, and everything inbetween.

There's a lot to talk about, and there are some great books out there dedicated to Microsoft and its story. These are five of the best.

Hit Refresh - Satya Nadella

Hit Refresh

If you want to hear about Microsoft then who better to talk about it than current CEO, Satya Nadella, in his new book Hit Refresh.

"At the core, Hit Refresh, is about us humans and the unique quality we call empathy, which will become ever more valuable in a world where the torrent of technology will disrupt the status quo like never before." – Satya Nadella from Hit Refresh."Satya has charted a course for making the most of the opportunities created by technology while also facing up to the hard questions." – Bill Gates from the Foreword of Hit Refresh.

Hit Refresh is about the transformation taking place within Microsoft and is a must-read for fans, or even just curious tech industry watchers.

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Bill Gates: A Biography

Bill Gates

Everyone knows Bill Gates. Microsoft's iconic founder, philanthropist and, depending on stock fluctuations, often the richest man on Earth.

It's fair to say Gate has had quite the life, and his Biography is a great read to find out about some of that.

The co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates helped transform society by ushering in the era of ubiquitous personal computing. This book examines the life and achievements of this standout American inventor and philanthropist.

This balanced account of Gates' life contains not only some of his own words, but also criticisms of some of his management techniques, so the reader gets both sides and can make up their own mind.

Either way, it's a great read to get some real insight into one of the tech industries greatest names.

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Game of X: Vol. 1 and 2

Game of X

Microsoft didn't always make a games console, and honestly. it surprised many when the company pushed out its first Xbox console. Over the years Xbox has gained millions of fans, and Game of X is a terrific look at how it all came about.

Based on 48 interviews and years of research, Game of X v.1: Xbox tells the many stories of Microsoft's unlikely entry into the game console business. In addition to the personal insights of the key players in the story, Game of X includes many previously unreleased documents that show what was going on behind the scenes. This is the story of Xbox and Xbox Live.

The book is split into two volumes totaling around 800 pages of work. The second volume tells of the pre-Xbox era and how everything ultimately led to Microsoft getting into the console game. For gamers and Microsoft fans alike, it's a must read.

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Showstopper! The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft


Showstopper! is a tale from Microsoft's past, but it's also the tale of an incredibly important time in the company's history.

Showstopper! is the dramatic, inside story of the creation of Windows NT, told by Wall Street Journal reporter G. Pascal Zachary. Driven by the legendary David Cutler, a picked band of software engineers sacrifices almost everything in their lives to build a new, stable, operating system aimed at giving Microsoft a platform for growth through the next decade of development in the computing business.

The book originally came out in 1994, so many of the references within are now woefully out of date.

But even so, it's a look behind the curtain at the development of Windows NT, and one that Microsoft nerds will really appreciate.

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Burning the Ships

Burning the Ships

Microsoft stories don't come much more behind the scenes than this, told by Marshall Phelps who was there, witnessing everything. It's a tale of transformation within Microsoft.

Discover the never-before-told details of Microsoft's secret two-year negotiations with Red Hat and Novell that led to the world's first intellectual property peace treaty and technical collaboration with the open source communityWitness the sometimes-nervous support Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer gave to Phelps in turning their company around 180 degrees from market bully to collaborative industry partnerOffers an extraordinary behind-the-scenes view of the high-level deliberations of the company's senior-most executives, the internal debates and conflicts among executives and rank-and-file employees alike over the company's new collaborative direction

As one reviewer has said, it's how Microsoft "went from being the Evil Empire, to just another software juggernaut." Miss it and miss out.

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Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine