iWoz by Steve Wozniak
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I know this one’s been out for a while — We recently watched the Steve Jobs movie. Sadly, it focused on what a schmuck Jobs appears to have been. I was hoping to learn more about the development of the personal computer and of apple as a company. Maybe this book does that? Wozniak looks happy in all the pictures.
Reluctantly, I have to agree with reviewers who put the book down because it is written so badly. Truly. It reads as though someone wrote down Wozniak’s casual conversation. I wish the second writer had added in historical context and other details. I almost gave up!
But then, around page 100, it gets better! I think it is because Wozniak is writing about times that were very exciting for him. He begins to use place names, dates, the names of the other people involved, and speaks with more detail about the projects he worked on.
I’m not an engineer; there are readers who have said that his claims about his own inventions and firsts are not true. It would have been great, again, if Gina Smith had rounded out the book with contemporary happenings in electronics and computer engineering.
Those were exciting times, though! The best part of the book is when Wozniak talks about using a slide rule, and how revolutionary it was when HP came out with its first home-use calculator. I remember: my dad worked for Grumman in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One Chanukah (and it must have been before 1973, because my parents were still married), he gave our mom a calculator. It was a very nice gift and, as we were told, it was “not a toy.”
And, then! Did you know Wozniak was the creator of the Atari Breakout game? My best friend had an Atari system in the 70s and I remember playing Pong and Breakout and oh! how much fun it was! It was worth reading the book for these thrilling moments of nostalgia.
So, I want give this more stars (maybe 2.5) because I did learn some of what I set out to learn. And, I kinda like the Woz. He’s a little bit charming, a little bit annoying (much like the glossary in the back of this book.) I do think that I need to be deliberate and choose a well-crafted story for my next read.
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