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Make it New: The History of Silicon Valley Design is a fascinating book, in which the author, IDEO design fellow, educator and historian Barry M. Katz pulls out details of many of the lesser-known designers in Silicon Valley and shows how valuable and influential their work was. The premise of the book is a simple one: the role of design in Silicon Valley has had limited attention paid to it, overshadowed as it has been by numerous accounts of the flamboyant entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technological behemoths and universities that crowd ‘the narrow strip of real estate bounded by Highways 101 and 280’ (p. 189).

In Katz’s view, ‘Design came to Silicon Valley on the heels of engineering’ (p. 24). In the first chapter,...

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