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Review of "iWoz" - Steve Wozniak's Recent Book

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During my recent sailing vacation, I read Steve Wozniak's book "iWoz". I promised in an earlier post that I would write up a review of the book and here it is! Quick summary: an interesting and sometimes compelling read, but it leaves you wanting for more.

iWoz is written in first person conversational form, as if Steve was simply talking to you and it had been recorded and written down (in fact this appears to be exactly how the book has come to be). A lot of the early part of the book focuses on his childhood, making clear that he was something of a technology prodigy rigth from the start.

I was struck almost immediately by the nearly childlike innocence and niavete Steve exhibits in the way he expresses himself and the way he thinks about the world, relationships and other people.

The book seems unnecessarily boastful in places, almost as if Woz feels that he needs to defend and strongly assert his personal contribution to Apple to ensure that he is not ultimately overshadowed by his one time partner, Steve Jobs. Bearing in mind the "simplicity and niavete" mentioned above however, this may just be Woz's personal view, expressed simply and directly, as opposed to any overt boasting.

iWoz makes it clear that Steve Wozniak was a self admitted geeky engineer who just happened to be at exactly the right place at exactly the right time with exactly the right idea. The Apple I and the Apple II are his major contributions to the company - he played little part in what came afterwards, and this is reflected in the coverage in the book. The Apple II was a breakthrough product however, not just for Apple but for the history of computers and Steve Wozniak will be rightfully lauded for it - a truly innovative and exciting design at its time.

A lot of really interesting stuff, like his relationship with Steve Jobs over time, and what happened at Apple after the initial huge success of the Apple II, is simply sidestepped. Had it been included, the book might have been even more interesting, but I suspect, more controversial.

Steve expresses tremendous enthusiasm for engineers and engineering. Woz is a geek in the very best sense of the word - he LOVES technology and good design and this shines through exuberantly over and over. It borders on inspiring in many places as a result. If you are an engineer, this book will resonate with you over and over in many places. If you are thinking of becoming an engineer, this books makes clear the limitless possibilities the profession offers.

iWoz is simply written and is not high prose in any sense. However, it is an interesting and valuable read that is almost compelling in places. Highly recommended.
 
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Thanks for the info Mac57; sounds like a good read - certainly sounds more interesting that John Hodgmans 'Areas of my expertise' which I still can't quite get in to.

Thanks for sharing.

Dave
 
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Sounds good to me, I really wonder a lot about the Steve-Steve relationship, whether there have been rough times etc. You can't always believe what you see on TV.
 

cwa107


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If you're really interested in the history of Personal Computing, directly from some of the engineers that made it happen, I highly recommend On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore.. Although it is (obviously) primarily focused on Commodore, it is very sincere and cuts through a lot of the revisionism coming from skewed perspective of Silicon Valley and the West Coast. A thoroughly enjoyable read for any geek that ever owned a C64 (and how many of us got our feet wet with that machine!)

As an Amiga fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although it is very critical at times of both Apple and IBM.
 
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This review simply reinforces my negative view of Woz....
 
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Sounds good to me, I really wonder a lot about the Steve-Steve relationship, whether there have been rough times etc. You can't always believe what you see on TV.

:)

Off topic - but I quite like that made for TV movie.
 

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