As you might know, I picked up an Amazon Kindle DX not too long ago and thought that to properly review the device I should buy a book for it to evaluate the check out process and see how books appear on the device. I’ve already tested out a PDF using a sample provided by someone I know but this wouldn’t allow me to see how changing the text size works amongst other things. Anyway, I never intended on reviewing books as part of this blog mainly because I didn’t usually read much apart from computer magazines and technical literature. However, I must say that having a Kindle has inspired me to start reading again (albeit still technologically related stuff).
Anyway, I had heard about Steve Wozniak’s autobiography several times on the TWiT podcast that I listen to every week in the Audible ads run during the show. One of the occasional guests, Gina Smith, co-authored the book with Steve Wozniak (who has appeared on TWiT a couple of times as well). For those who don’t know, Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and built the Apple I and Apple II computers that made Apple so successful back in the 1970s and 1980s. I still remember using the Apple IIe computers back at my school when we learnt to type in Grade 3, mucking around with Logo (a friend and myself got the little turtle to draw a boombox and coded in the choice of three songs to play through the speaker – one of which was “Tequila”) as well as playing games like “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”.
Ah, the memories.
Anyway, the book covers Steve Wozniak’s life as you would expect starting in his childhood and fleshing out how he was instilled with his passion for logic and electronics. There are many humourous events in there as he was (and still is) a bit of a prankster. It’s amazing to think that kids were able to solder things together back in those days and build a piece of hardware and a robust one at that. I couldn’t imagine a sixth grader being allowed to touch a soldering iron let alone work with molten metal to create logic gates.
The book also details Wozniak’s time at university and his career at HP, starting up Apple and a number of other ventures in which he became involved over the course of his life.
What I loved most about the book was that his language was very much left intact. I could imagine him saying the things that were written in the book and that’s a testament to the editor and co-author. The book also sets straight some of the errors that have been spruiked as history about his involvement with Apple and the circumstances in which he left and the capacity in which he remains at the company. It’s also refreshing to read something about Apple without the spin and “magic” being thrown at us.
Before Steve Jobs gets his own autobiography out this is well worth a read if you are into technology. If you have an Amazon account, you can download the first chapter for free for Kindle (or your Kindle app on your favourite device) or you can grab the audiobook version on Audible.