Martin Cooper is an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, and futurist. He is known as the “father of
the cell phone.” He led the creation of the world’s first cell phone at Motorola—and made the
first public call on it. Over nearly three decades at Motorola, Cooper contributed to the
development of pagers, two-way radio dispatch systems, quartz crystal manufacture, and more.
A serial entrepreneur, he and his wife, Arlene Harris, have cofounded numerous wireless
technology companies. This includes Cellular Business Systems, SOS Wireless
Communications, GreatCall, and ArrayComm. Cooper is currently chairman of Dyna LLC and a
member of the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council. He was the first to observe the Law of
Spectrum Capacity, which became known as Cooper’s Law.
In 2013, Cooper became a member of the National Academy of Engineering from whom he
received the Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering. He was awarded the Marconi Prize “for
being a wireless visionary who reshaped the concept of mobile communication.” He has been
inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame and Wireless History Foundation’s
Wireless Hall of Fame. The Radio Club of America awarded him a Lifetime Achievement
Award in 2010. He is a lifetime member of the IEEE, was president of its Vehicular Technology
Society and received its Centennial Medal. In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the “100
Best Inventors in History.” He is a Prince of Asturias Laureate.
Cooper grew up in Chicago, the son of Ukrainian immigrants. He attended Crane Technical High
School and the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he is a Life Trustee. He served in the US
navy as a submarine officer during the Korean Conflict.
The cell phone changed the world. It revolutionized how people communicate, freeing them
to get in touch with one another at any time and in any place without the constraints of
wires. The cell phone led to the creation and growth of new industries. Yet the true story of
its creation has not been told…
Cutting the Cord tells that story. It centers on a battle for control of how people communicate,
involving government regulators, lobbyists, police, technology breakthroughs, failures, quartz,
and a horse. At the center of that story is Martin Cooper. This book describes how his early life
influenced the creation of the cell phone.
Industry skirmishes became a political war in Washington, a struggle to prevent a monopolistic
company from dominating telecommunications. The drama culminates in the first-ever public
call made on a handheld, portable telephone—a cell phone. Despite that, the cell phone we know
today almost didn’t happen.
Without the vision of a small group at Motorola, the last forty years of history would be
different. Their story is inspiring and instructive. After a twenty-nine-year career at Motorola,
Cooper became an entrepreneur, helping launch companies dedicated to accelerating cell phone
The story of the cell phone has much to teach about innovation, strategy, and management. This
book also relates Cooper’s vision of the future of personal communications. That story is far
from finished. We have only achieved a small fraction of the cell phone’s potential impact.
The cell phone empowers people from all walks of life. It is reshaping how children learn. The
ways we work together will soon seem primitive because of continued advances in the cell
phone. Most of all, the cell phone will transform medicine and healthcare, contributing to the
eradication of disease, elimination of poverty, extension of life, and close coupling of human and
Praise for Cutting the Cord
"Cutting the Cord recognizes that innovation has always been about both standing on others’
shoulders and collaboration. Throughout tech, we all stand on Marty’s shoulders just as he stood
on Marconi’s." —Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft
"If you are looking for a story of daring innovation and its challenges, this is a book for you."
—Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
"Marty Cooper is the father of the cell phone and our lives have been changed and saved because
of this unshackling from our cords. How Marty got us there is an important and compelling
story." —Gary Shapiro, Chairman Consumer Technology Association & CES
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