I finished my second memoir of the week and it was Andy Grove’s excellent Swimming Across. Most of us know Grove as founder of Intel and as such I expected the company to play some role in the book. The company is not mentioned once. Instead, we are treated to a front seat on Grove’s childhood in Hungary. With plain and earnest prose, Grove recalls fleeing the Nazi occupation, and then later, fleeing Soviet troops after an unsuccessful populist uprising. He escapes the country alone into Austria and, with the help of refugee organizations, gets on a ship to New York City where he finds asylum with his uncle. In New York, he studies chemistry at City College, changes his name to Andy Grove, and realizes that New York weather is unkind. His professor tells him the only city he thinks could meet Grove’s climate needs is San Francisco. He ends up at UC Berkeley, starts Intel, and the rest is history.
Swimming Across is well written, vivid, inspiring. Highly recommended.