Accidental Empires

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Accidental Empires
Revised edition (1996)
AuthorMark Stephens (as Robert X. Cringely)
CountryUnited States
SubjectComputer industry
PublisherAddison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date
February 1992
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
338.4/7004/0979473 20ca
LC ClassHD9696.C63 U51586 1991

Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date (1992, 1996), is a book written by Mark Stephens under the pen name Robert X. Cringely about the founding of the personal computer industry and the history of Silicon Valley.[1]

The style of Accidental Empires is informal, and in the first chapter Cringley claims that he is not a historian but an explainer, and that "historians have a harder job because they can be faulted for what is left out; explainers like me can get away with printing only the juicy parts."[2] Notably, the book was critical of Steve Jobs and Apple, as well as Bill Gates and Microsoft.[3] The book described how companies in the technology industry were built and critiqued the public-relation campaigns that explained such narratives.[4]

The book was revised and republished in 1996, with new material added. A documentary based on the book, called Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires was aired on PBS in 1996, with Cringely as the presenter.[5][6] In November of 2011, a film based on the miniseries called Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, was exhibited at the Landmark Theatres.[7] It included the missing footage of the interview that Jobs did with Cringely in 1995 for the PBS documentary.[8]

In February 2012, Cringely wrote on his blog that he will republish the book online, free for all to read.[9]

Release details[edit]


  1. ^ Lewis, Peter H. (7 August 1992). "Summer books for computer nerds". New York Times.
  2. ^ Cringely, Robert X. (1992). Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date. p. 11.
  3. ^ Wilmott, Don (31 March 1992). "Cringely makes Silicon Valley shutter with scathing industry history". PC Magazine. 11 (6): 7.
  4. ^ Beckett, Jonathan (2020-12-04). "Great Books About Computers, History, and the Internet". The Startup. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  5. ^ Goodman, Walter (12 June 1996). "Mapping cyberspace in Bay Area garages". New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  6. ^ Reed, Sandy (24 June 1996). "Notes from the legal front: the real Robert X Cringley appears in Infoworld". InfoWorld. 18 (26): 67.
  7. ^ Ng, Philiana (2011-11-05). "Unseen Footage From Lengthy Steve Jobs Interview Heading to Theaters". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  8. ^ Ong, Josh (May 4, 2012). "'Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview' coming back to Landmark theaters May 11". AppleInsider. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  9. ^ Cringely, Robert X. (7 February 2012). "What the Dickens? Accidental Empires Rebooted". I, Cringely.

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