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Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything
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Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  587 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The creation of the Mac in 1984 catapulted America into the digital millennium, captured a fanatic cult audience, and transformed the computer industry into an unprecedented mix of technology, economics, and show business. Now veteran technology writer and Newsweek senior editor Steven Levy zooms in on the great machine and the fortunes of the unique company responsible fo ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published July 5th 1993)
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Jun 20, 2014 Antonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ebook is a reissue of an older book, originally published in 1994. The author has added a couple of appendices, one of which is his essay, "In Memory of Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011," and the other a lengthy interview with Steve Jobs that took place shortly before the Macintosh launch (1984).

I enjoyed this review of the Mac's development, the fervor and frenzy and commitment. I've been a Mac user since 1991, but had forgotten a lot of the details — e.g., names of display features, software, etc.
Feb 02, 2014 Aku rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good overview of how the Macintosh came to be and of the people who made it happen.

Steven Levy is a writer who seems to divide opinions. I liked his earlier book Hackers a *lot*, and this book continues with the same style, although this time solely focused on Apple and Macintosh. This time a couple of his stylistic devices rubbed me the wrong way, though — he seems to have a real penchant for obscure words with perfectly good common alternatives. This style of writing can come across as prete
Tammam Aloudat
Nov 26, 2014 Tammam Aloudat rated it it was amazing
Reading a new (old) book I picked from Phoenix used bookstore in Amsterdam near my apartment.
The book is called “Insanely Grea: the life and times of Macintosh, the computer that changed everything”. I am reading now about the incredibly intelligent visionaries of the sixties and seventies who visualized what a computer could be and do. Things that are today part of our everyday vocabulary like desktop, windows, mouse, informations ape and others were leaps of imagination beyond belief.

Then come
Peter O'Kelly
Jan 26, 2014 Peter O'Kelly rated it really liked it
The Kindle edition of the latest edition of the book, which adds a lengthly 1983 Steve Jobs interview transcript, is available, as I type this, for $4.99. I read the original hardcover edition in 1994, but rereading it and the Jobs interview (and an afterword from the 2000 edition) was a fascinating experience.

I'd give the latest Kindle edition 5 stars if it weren't for some glaring typos and an obvious factual error that went uncorrected from the 2000 revision: Levy asserted, in reference to 1
Phil Simon
Mar 19, 2012 Phil Simon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
An excellent look at the rise and challenges of the Macintosh. To me, this book was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I remember some of the very applications that Levy describes. I remember the frustrations of first using a personal computer, but didn't know the backstory behind the development of the Mac. Rife with interesting parables from key players like Atkinson and Woz, this is a really interesting book that ages surprisingly well.
Jan 25, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
This was decent, although 20 years old. I like Steven Levy and this was read by him, which made it better. The afterword and other updates to the audiobook after Jobs death as well as a very recent roundtable discussion among some of the key players were nice additions to this edition. It was fun to go back in time to remember how many things we take for granted were really innovative back then.
Mar 17, 2012 Erik rated it really liked it
Even though I've heard this story at least 100 times now, the author was still able to make it interesting and added a couple little tidbits that I hadn't heard before.

I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the creation of the Macintosh without all of the technical jargon.
Jul 26, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-read
Excellent book. Enjoyed it. (This review was created in July 2011, long after I read the book.)
Ben Galbraith
Oct 03, 2010 Ben Galbraith rated it it was amazing
I generally love Steven Levy's work and this is no exception.
Erick Petersen
Sep 26, 2009 Erick Petersen rated it liked it
Interesting story behind the creation of the Macintosh computer and the general history of Apple. What was fascinating was learning about the people who designed these computers. Many of them were musicians, poets, artists who happen to be computer engineers as well. I was particularly impressed with the man who initially launched the Mac project for Apple, Jef Raskin, who majored in Philosophy and Engineering, taught computer science classes and conducted the San Francisco Chamber Opera Society ...more
Tim Jin
Dec 06, 2013 Tim Jin rated it it was amazing
Any Mac aficionado will love this book. I am very aware of Steven Levy's writing. He is one of the best technology chronologist of our time. Even though I am not a Mac User, I really enjoyed listening about how Apple got started. There is a secret hidden gem about Apple and their stories.

This company is like a blockbuster movie, lights, action, and drama. There is no other tech company out there like Apple that keep their consumers wanting more. I don't see multiple books about Intel, but there
Roberto Lopes
Jun 01, 2016 Roberto Lopes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Levy goes about reporting his experiences covering the Mac developments sometimes mixing Apple history with his own. Things also get specific while describing key design decisions and killing apps like PageMaker. But the fun here comes from the great pirate within Jobs daring to design something insanely great; a hell of fun of course.
Bob Skrezyna
Jun 09, 2015 Bob Skrezyna rated it it was amazing
Finally! A book about the Mac that gives credit where credit is due! Interesting read even for those who may not be too tech savvy but love a good history lesson.
Oct 02, 2015 Bart-Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-s-companies
The tale of the original Macintosh is very interesting. This book, as it was written 10 years since the Macintosh entered the marketplace, covers a lot of details that have been skipped in more recent versions of Apple history. Therefore it is an interesting addition to the collection. Levy gives us insight in the struggles and the amazing accomplishments of the team, like overlapping windows. The audiobook version also covers an interview with Bill Atkinson and Joanna Hoffman on being part of t ...more
Mark James
Apr 27, 2014 Mark James rated it liked it
Interesting telling of the first days of the Macintosh, lots of great anecdotes from the creators. I would love to read a book like this about NeXT.
Jan 12, 2015 Travis rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Excellent look into the making of the macintosh. A very interestig read for anyone who finds technology interesting.
Dec 19, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it
This book is provides a great overview of all the personalities, quirkiness, ideas, difficulties, and ultimately, as the title suggests, genius behind the development of the Macintosh computer. The narrative can be slow a bit at times but it's a fun read and one I would definitely recommend for anyone interested in business and/or computers. The divide between the engineers and those focused on the business side in the computer industry is certainly highlighted throughout the book but is by no m ...more
Joe White
Mar 12, 2011 Joe White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 94, the book might appear to be dated to some, but serves as an excellent perspective on the history of technological device development and the history of Apple. Even by 94, it assumed that windowed environments had become the standard operating interface for users and in the last chapter presaged devices such as the Iphone and Kinect.
(It wasn't until 95, and Windows 95, that the majority of business machines were running a windowed interface. DOS held on for a long-long time in the
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Baker
May 13, 2014 Bruce Baker rated it it was amazing
Deals with the mac years. A great deal of information.
Hans Gerwitz
Not Levy at his best. It's an enjoyable story despite the sloppy writing. Especially at the beginning when he tries to explain things, it's not that he oversimplifies, it's that he misunderstands his own subject. There are even errors that any editor should have caught, regardless of knowledge.
Tony Pitttarese
Oct 21, 2014 Tony Pitttarese rated it really liked it
Well written and interesting. Rather out of date now.
Nicholas Moryl
Nov 28, 2013 Nicholas Moryl rated it liked it
A good history of the initial development of the Mac. Published shortly after Jobs' return to Apple, so don't expect much of the more recent history, but it's a decent chronicle of the original Mac project.
Jan 15, 2011 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting look at the history of personal computers and of course the Mac. Would be hard to recommend to anyone unless they had a interest in computers.
David Dietrich
Oct 14, 2013 David Dietrich rated it really liked it
Good stuff, which wasn't surprising since I'd really ejoyed Levy's "Hackers." Leaves off a few years before Jobs' triumphant return to Apple.
Mar 17, 2008 Greg rated it really liked it
Great little history of the creative process behind creating the first Mac. A pleasure to read for any techie.
Jon Laiche
Aug 18, 2012 Jon Laiche rated it it was amazing
This book helped to direct and define my career as scholar, historian, teacher, techie, and modern pagan.
Jun 22, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
I'd read pretty much anything by Steven Levy, and have. This one is well written and fun.
Todd Everett
Oct 15, 2014 Todd Everett rated it it was amazing
Insanely Great book! I now realize I need to read everything Steven Levy has written.
Denis Collins
Oct 30, 2011 Denis Collins rated it liked it
An interesting particularly since I was reading it when Steve Jobs died.
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Steven Levy (born 1951) is an American journalist who has written several books on computers, technology, cryptography, the Internet, cybersecurity, and privacy. Levy is chief technology writer and a senior editor for Newsweek, writing mainly in the "Science & Technology" section. He also writes the column "Random Access" in the monthly feature "Focus On Technology." Levy is also a contributor ...more
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