Plugged in and wired up for the futureFrom cover to cover, Wireless Nation: The Frenzied Launch of the Cellular Revolution by James B. Murray, Jr. is an intriguing tale of the birth of an industry. This is a Wild West tale, a no-holds-barred account of rags to riches and the people and power-mongers that shaped the revolution in cell phones, wireless communications, pagers and the Internet. There's Craig McCaw of McCaw Cellular; Bob Pelissier, former truck driver turned cellular entrepreneur; and Scot Jarvis, a young windsurfer who bought cellular licenses and began a small-market acquisitions team. We read about the strange coincidence of hundreds of people in a tiny hamlet in Tennessee winning cellular service rights who didn't know they'd applied for them and wonder aloud at the incompetence of the FCC as it tried to manage an industry and technology no one fully understood.
Carefully documented and well-researched, Wireless Nation is a must-read for anyone interested in communications issues. It is also a glimpse into the future of emerging technology and the management (and mismanagement) of technology by government. It is also a tale of hopeful entrepreneurs, wild chances taken and opportunity gained by sheer bravado. Summer business reading at its best.