updated January 22, 2006

Other than the book, The HP Way, written by David Packard and the comments written by William Hewlett in the forward to the book, Inventions of Opportunity, there is little formal history written about the two men who truly lived the American dream of starting a company in their garage and becoming billionaires. There ought to be a book but there is not one.  However, the combination of John Minck's HP Narrative, the articles on The Southwest Museum site, and other links above comprise just about a complete book. The story of these two men and the technological innovations of the Hewlett-Packard Company is an inspiration to everyone but in particular to electrical engineers. These two men were electrical engineers, not businessmen. They built a business out of a desire to make truly exceptional test equipment that technical people like themselves would want to use. As actual users of their competitor's equipment they had a perspective of their customer's point of view that pure business types in general can never have. Their success was the combination of technical skill first and business skill second. This order applied to many of the subsequent products over the decades - market need came about after the product was introduced. People often talk of market driven companies and HP certainly responded to the market, but in many cases they drove the market. The success of the HP35 calculator is a classic example.

I consider the two books in the references below to be required reading - not just once but numerous times to absorb everything. Both books are out of print although a paperback version of The HP Way may still be available. I am fortunate to own both books. Any reasonable size library should have at least one of these books.


Hewlett, William R. (introduction by), Inventions of Opportunity: Matching Technology with Market Needs, Selections from the pages of the Hewlett-Packard Journal, Hewlett-Packard Company, 1983.

Packard, David, The HP Way, First edition, Harpercollins Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022, 1995.

Other books of interest:  These books make numerous references to the Hewlett Packard Company as an example of management doing things right.  All of these books contain interesting bits of HP history too.

Peters, Thomas J. and Waterman Jr., Robert H., In Search of Excellence, Harper and Row, Publishers, New York, 1982.

Collins, Jim and Porras, Jerry I., Built to Last, Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. New York, 1994.

Franson, Paul, High Tech, High Hope, Turning Your Vision of Technology into Business Success, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1998.

Malone, Michael S., The Big Score, The Billion Dollar Story of Silicon Valley, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York, 1985.  This book has over two dozen pages of HP history.

Siebel, Thomas M. and Malone, Michael S., Virtual Selling, Going Beyone the Automated Sales Force to Achieve Total Sales Quality, The Free Press, 1996.

Malone, Michael S., Infinite Loop, How Apple, the World's Most Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane, A Currency Book, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. New York, 1999.  In any discussion of Apple Computer, linkages to HP inevitably arise and numerous linkages are found throughout the book.

Malone, Michael S., The Valley of Heart's Delight, A Silicon Valley Notebook 1963 - 2001, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2002.  This book is a collection of short articles written by Malone and includes his articles of tribute to Mr. Packard and Mr. Hewlett after their deaths.  The book is an excellent short history of Silicon Valley and how the technology developed there changed the world.
HP Publications

Leath, Charles L., 40 Years of Chronicling Technical Achievement, Hewlett Packard Journal, October, 1989.  This is a history of the HP Journal and has a good summary of instruments developed by HP over the years.  This was the 40th anniversary issue of the HP Journal which began publication in 1949.

The entire final issue of Measure, May-June 2000 is over 60 pages and is a great history including many pictures of HP over the years.  This magazine was a publication of HP for employees and associates.  This issue which was subtitled, Wrapping it up, marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new era at Agilient Technologies.

Links to other web pages on this site This link takes you to the main HP Museum page. This link takes you to the main page of my personal web site where you can access a variety of information.