UC San Diego

Center for Memory and Recording Research
Formerly known as Center for Magnetic Recording Research

Search Menu

Hard Drive! (As the Disc Turns)

Gordon Hughes' new adventure novel, Hard Drive!

Tells the remarkable story of Seagate Technology, which pioneered hard disks for personal computers, in both their invention and mass manufacturing. Presented as an adventure novel, the story is based upon true events, and told through the eyes of one of Seagate's early engineering executives, who alternatively thrived and survived as the company underwent the financial and emotional roller coasters typical of such firms -- from heady triumphs to harsh business crashes and layoffs.

The public rarely gets to see the extraordinary challenges faced by high-tech companies and the engineers who work for them. Consumers only see the final product, and miss the extraordinary innovation required to solve technical problems amazing to the average computer user -- even those well-versed in the megabytes and megapixels that define the capabilities of modern computers.

This book like no other presents the disruptive technologies and "creative destruction" evidenced by Seagate's pioneering work in hard disk drives. Their amazing story, beginning with the company's earliest success as a Silicon Valley startup, is framed in the context of the inevitable progress of technology, stretching back to the mechanical and information revolution initiated over two centuries ago in Victorian England.

Fascinating to computer wonks and technical project managers, this book will also be of great interest to the general public and to anyone engaged by technology and the hurdles must overcome, particularly in the realm of computers and information storage. In addition, Hughes gives an insider's view of corporate competition, U.S. tax policy that encourages industrial globalization, and the role of lawsuits.

Hard Drive! is available for sale online at Amazon.com and BookSurge.com (search for "Hard Drive As Disc Turns"), and through additional wholesale and retail channels worldwide.


About the Author

Gordon Hughes earned his PhD degree at Cal Tech, and began his technology career at Xerox Research, later serving as the Senior Director of Recording Technology at Seagate, in its early years. He is now a research scientist at the Center for Memory and Recording Research at the University of California San Diego.

The Institute of Electronic Engineers made Hughes an IEEE Fellow for his work on the Grenex Cobalt disc, as described in the book.


Review by New York Times best selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh

"The home computer is as common as the telephone these days, but have you ever wondered who to thank (or blame) for the revolutionary hard disc drive that you depend on? Welcome to the high pressure world of Silicon Valley and the startup company Seagate Technology. Author Gordon Hughes was there for the inception (he's the former Senior Director of Recording Technology) and his fictionalized memoir of the times and travails of this Silicon Valley startup is both gripping, amusing, and so fascinatingly told that it's as addictive as a brand new computer game.

From his days studying with Richard Feynman and Linus Pauling at Cal Tech to his first heady days in the world of computers, Gordon Hughes tells a riveting tale of the early days of an industry that has changed the way we live. Hughes started working at Seagate in 1980 in Scotts Valley, California. A brilliant raconteur, Hughes writes like a dream, infusing the scientific world with grace and adventure and telling personal stories of his marriage and friends with aplomb. There are also lively accounts of the times Hughes flies private planes, and using a dowser to test his lawn for a septic system. He's also worked on magnetic sensors in solid rocket fuel for NASA.

Seagate's company soon goes global, making its way to Russia and China. But part of the magic of the book is that it isn't just a tale of technology. Indeed, during the course of his life Hughes experiences a sudden spiritual enlightenment, becoming aware of a Central Light. A scientist at heart, he uses the scientific method to explore and sort out the truth of what he has seen, coming to the startling conclusion that he has touched God.

Hard Drive! As the Disc Turns is a smart, thrilling read that's not just for computer geeks but for anyone who has ever pushed a power button."