Jeffry Perren wrote this fine article about Jack Kilby, the inventor of the integrated circuit. Had Kilby not accomplished what he did, would someone else have? According to the Wikipedia (another fine creation) article linked above, an article about the IC was puiblished a few years before Kilby built the first one. It is quit amazing how this man’s invention has changed how we live.
Today I picked up Henry’s The Evolution of Useful Things, which is related to invention, though his other titles seem more focused on it, as is John Jewkes’s The Sources of Invention. Here’s a speech by him.