For Apple fans this is probably the book theyâ€™ve been waiting for. iWoz is the autobiography of key founding member of Apple, Steve Wozniak. My copy duly arrived from Amazon and I devoured it within a couple of days.
Firstly I should point out that I loved it. Cheers Woz, I really appreciate hearing your story first hand. Having said that, Iâ€™m not sure I really learned anything new that really interested me. Woz seems to go out of his way to correct a series of fallacies that have built up over the years, he shows a real keenness to get the truth out there. The thing is though, while certain information does clarify matters I still feel exactly the same way about Woz as I did last week.
Heâ€™s a fascinating, lovable, cuddly prankster with only the best of intentions. My kind of guy but the new and clarified information in this book hasnâ€™t changed that, or even enhanced it particularly.
This is not a heavyweight read. It reads much like the process that produced it – a conversation with Woz. Itâ€™s simple, straightforward and not in any way salacious or sensational. I can imagine some people being disappointed. Itâ€™s not packed with new revelations, itâ€™s just a diary of events – this happened then that happened – not much more. Those events take us from early childhood almost to the present day in a linear fashion.
I do now know a little more about Wozâ€™s personal life but he doesnâ€™t talk extensively about his wives and kids. I enjoyed hearing about his relationship with his dad and about his early pranks. Woz and Gina (his co-writer) do a great job showing how events unfolded, how Wozâ€™s understanding developed and how this led to the creation of his seminal work, the Apple II.
Heâ€™s been incredibly open in some ways and yet seems to reveal little. Gina Smith has done a professional job, seemingly faithfully reporting Woz in a style that really feels like the man himself. The only trouble with this is that Woz likes to keep things simple so the book is kept simple. Itâ€™s a little disconcerting having Woz explain how he basically invented the personal computer in such a matter of fact way. Maybe thatâ€™s part of the charm but I was hoping for a little complexity I think!
All in all, recommended for Apple nerds everywhere and for anyone who fancies a quick, lightweight read about a genuinely decent bloke. If youâ€™re looking for a colourful, rich history of Apple then look elsewhere.
ps. My personal favourite book on Apple history is Revolution in the Valley by Andy Hertzfeld which I particularly recommend. You can read most of it online at http://folklore.org