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Entertains but doesn't enlighten
on 4 August 2010
"Iwoz" offers little insight into the worlds of electronics and business. If you're looking for a text on either, this is not the place to start.
It does, however, tell the not uninteresting story of America's answer to Sir Clive Sinclair. In summary, Wozniak had one brilliant idea (the Apple II) and thereafter went on to invent the universal TV remote. Then there is far too much information about how he organised rock concerts (is this some sort of attempt to try and show that even though he didn't invent the Ipod, he's still hip?) And then he went into teaching. Those who can...?
I'm not sure that we really get to know the real Steve Wozniak from this book. If it IS to be believed, he had a refreshing dislike of corporate culture, was good to his co-workers and was on occasion even known to give stuff away. But on the other hand, he goes through at least 3 wives and without really telling us why - is this what we expect of a nice guy? Do we really, as the cover claims, get "to the core of Apple's inventor"? If we do then fine, but I'm not entirely convinced on the evidence of this.
The big-headed writing style is at first a bit irritating: SW appears to be the perfect human being and knows it. But all that starts to crumble very subtly as the references to the Apple II (which HE obviously rates very highly) increase disproportionately. The expression "Pooterism" springs to mind.
Commendably, he doesn't hide his admiration for the Ipod (which was produced after his effective departure from Apple). In fact I think the subconscious title for this book would be something like "How I failed to invent the Ipod despite the fact I'm really very clever and I'm far too positive a person to be bitter about it".
The FT Magazine review quote ("oddly endearing...") quoted in Amazon's product info, hits the nail on the head.