Book title: iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon
Author: Steve Wozniak
I really wanted to like this book. Woz is a geek icon, after all, and the early stories of his life and inventions are the stuff of legend. They had to be better coming straight from the horse’s mouth, right?
The stories themselves are interesting: redesigning commercial devices on paper to reduce the number of chips, why colour was so important to him, knocking together Breakout in a few sleepless days, making the Apple I. And there’s all of Woz’s pranks over the years.
But the problem is, Woz just doesn’t have the gift of storytelling. All through the book, I felt like I was simply reading a transcription of stories that he’s been telling in person every time he speaks for the past 20 years. (Reading the afterword, I’m pretty sure that I’m right on this regard.) Okay, so they were scrubbed for um and ah, but that’s about it. It gives the book a conversational tone that makes me feel like he’s skipping over all the really interesting stuff.
With the loving touch of a good editor, this could have been a much better book. As it stands now, it’s simply disappointing. It was immensely repetitive, with one particularly egregious case being a story repeated four pages later. There wasn’t nearly enough about the early days of Apple, nor about Woz’s departure from the company. The tone of the book was entirely too self-congratulatory, with hardly a page going by where Woz didn’t say how clever he is. It trails off post-Apple.
If you’re interested in the history of computing, and specifically Woz’s contribution to it, there are many other places to start that will give you a much better picture. Read this book only after you’ve read those.