This is a beautiful and (nearly) comprehensive collection of photographs spanning the history of Apple design. I enjoyed it, and very much wanted to "This is a beautiful and (nearly) comprehensive collection of photographs spanning the history of Apple design. I enjoyed it, and very much wanted to "5-star" it, but there were a couple of areas that could have been improved.
- The photography is interesting and revealing, but I'm not sure I'd say it was compelling or exciting. There is a mix of very well thought out and inspired close-ups of key industrial design elements, mixed with a number of rote "place and shoot" captures.
- Such a comprehensive collection begged more narrative commentary on the design itself. Instead the captioning is descriptive more than thoughtful.
- There are a couple of unusual minor gaps, after all the attention to other product lines, the evolution of the iPhone is hurried over
A pleasant surprise was a chapter devoted to the history of Apple packaging (and thus implicitly branding/marketing). I would have loved to have seen this more developed.
I'd say ICONIC is well worth the purchase for the faithful....more
Hmmm, challenging review. I'm up against the difference between rating an idea, and rating a book. The conceptual underpinning of Owens' work (a surveHmmm, challenging review. I'm up against the difference between rating an idea, and rating a book. The conceptual underpinning of Owens' work (a survey of many years' innovation management literature, and using that to build a model of six fundamental constraints to be overcome in innovative projects) is extremely valuable, useful, and thoughtful. As a framework and model I'd rate it as a "no brainer 5" and include it in my "must-understand" short list of management tools.
As a book around this basic idea, "Creative People..." is a little less remarkable and rewarding. The fundamental concept can be communicated fairly quickly. The deep dives into each class of constraint are a little too chewed-and-digested for my liking, leaving some of them to be trite and the overall collection of thoughts to be somewhat loosely organized and difficult to retain or translate to use. My personal taste would have been more of an actual "survey review" of the management literature in each of these categories (especially since Owens has done this in formulating his core model), leaving it up to the reader to connect the themes; the simplification for mass consumption takes a lot of the "oomph" out and makes for tepid reading.
If I could do half stars, I'd say 3.5, while still recommending that interested folks buy the book if only for the first couple of chapters....more
By Goodreads' count, it's taken me 14 months to take this book off my half-read shelf and finish reading it, so don't expect a stellar review...
On theBy Goodreads' count, it's taken me 14 months to take this book off my half-read shelf and finish reading it, so don't expect a stellar review...
On the upside, those portions of the book which focus primarily on disease (less than you might think) and its corollary impacts on human history are fairly well done and thought-provoking; this is the case for the second half of the book (the Mongols, plague and forward). McNeill claims his intent is to earn disease a place alongside other factors in shaping events, not dominant but co-equal, and does a good job at explaining why contemporary academics had been reluctant to deal with the messy prospect of poorly-understood disease complicating their neatly packaged renderings of history and its causalities. While formally his language stops short of asserting dominance of disease as a factor, it's always there lurking under the surface as subtext. Oh wait, this was supposed to be the upside paragraph ...
On the downside, the language is often unnecessarily tortured, and key concepts are often repeated, and repeated, and repeated, usually within the space of the same chapter. Needed a better editor. More annoyingly, the first half of the book is heavily focused on drawing analogies between the systems of "microparasitism" (disease) and "macroparasitism" (social ruling classes). This continuously smacks of wooly thinking, at best, and while the structural similarities of the systems are intriguing, it's a stretch to draw any further connections, and the whole detour smells faintly of social thinking in vogue at the time of writing (1977). As above McNeill adds ample disclaimers while pulling on these threads, which only thinly mask his obvious belief in "something deeper" linking the two. I had neither the patience or inclination to think too hard about the logical fallacies that might be lurking, since I expected a book on epidemics, not epidemics and classism. The good news is the distraction of "macroparasitism" is mostly abandoned by the second half of the book....more
Oy! Not quite sure what to say about this, other than that I persevered. Decided to read Seven Pillars after a vacation to Jordan recently followed byOy! Not quite sure what to say about this, other than that I persevered. Decided to read Seven Pillars after a vacation to Jordan recently followed by a re-watch of Lawrence of Arabia. The narrative is nothing if not complete; much more a personal diary (albeit with quite elaborate ... sometimes almost contorted) writing style, than an edited book. A small handful of chapters comprised LOA. The book was somewhat frustrating ... many nuggets of wit, reflection or insight hidden amongst a much longer and larger collection of documentary chapters of the Arab revolt's specific movements and actions. ...more
Meh. Spends an agonizingly long time on the golf game, the Fort Knox finale is over in no time, and the Pussy Galore conversion even less comprehensibMeh. Spends an agonizingly long time on the golf game, the Fort Knox finale is over in no time, and the Pussy Galore conversion even less comprehensible than in the movie. A disappointment, albeit peppered with Fleming's often excellent turns of phrase....more
I struggled between 2 and 3 stars for this one, so here's my math:
Start with 5 stars and:
(A) subtract two stars at once for the not even remotely veilI struggled between 2 and 3 stars for this one, so here's my math:
Start with 5 stars and:
(A) subtract two stars at once for the not even remotely veiled contempt Fleming has for all things that aren't white, male, British, straight, and fit. I used up my "1950s product of the times" patience with him when reviewing Live and Let Die (which was truly appalling in its racism), now I just feel like a masochist. Something of a minor tragedy too ... This may have played well with a certain target demographic in 1956, but poisoned some of the books for posterity.
(B) subtract another two stars for a fairly boring - nearly nonexistent - plot which isn't even carried all the way to conclusion. Other reviews have commented on the more-travelogue-than-story aspect of DAF, I'd have to agree. In this case add in the occasional jabs and sneers at 1950s America (locale of the travelogue) and it just gets tiresome. A pity, as some of the Bond novels have outstanding plots. This isn't one of them.
(C) add one star back for Fleming's incredible writing style which focuses on bringing out detail in every setting without becoming overwhelming or boring. Bond novel chapters are written like movie scenes. Their richness keeps the story going even when the story is MIA.
Surprisingly good and refreshing as one of the few bond tales not to be carved up and turned into movie fodder. Definitely in my top 3 Bond books so fSurprisingly good and refreshing as one of the few bond tales not to be carved up and turned into movie fodder. Definitely in my top 3 Bond books so far....more
Wow, surprisingly good out of a genre I thought I had left behind; beholden to my Goodreads friends for the recommend. I'd agree with some other revieWow, surprisingly good out of a genre I thought I had left behind; beholden to my Goodreads friends for the recommend. I'd agree with some other reviewers that this book evoked the same reaction in me as early King, before I got bored with King's progression ... Almost tempted to say the son may have surpassed the father as this book is in many ways cleverer, more engaging, and more artful than most King I've read....more
Excellent story, great writing. At times (especially in the middle) the "epic" nature causes it to drag and become a little redundant. ... But overallExcellent story, great writing. At times (especially in the middle) the "epic" nature causes it to drag and become a little redundant. ... But overall very satisfying....more
This book was a pleasant surprise; military history isn't typically my cup of tea but I gave it a crack. While a bit dense it was very enjoyable.
For rThis book was a pleasant surprise; military history isn't typically my cup of tea but I gave it a crack. While a bit dense it was very enjoyable.
For readers who aren't already familiar with the four admirals the book will likely start slow; treating their family histories, Naval Academy years and early careers, there is little to differentiate between the four 'young admirals' as their stories are told simultaneously, and their individual character profiles take time to build up. The payoff for this buildup is that once the narrative switches over to World War II, telling the story of the war in the Pacific through the eyes/careers of the admirals ends up being a very effective way of communicating the history to distant (and in my case, previously disengaged) audiences. While not a page-turner, the book definitely builds in momentum in a very satisfying way.
As a treatise on leadership, the book is interesting but not completely compelling. Clearly (and the book asserts) these are four leaders with completely different leadership styles, but there isn't necessarily a complete connection between having these attributes (as many do) and attaining the leadership role (as many don't). Indeed, the first half of the book makes clear that their ascension to positions from which to conduct leadership was as much about careful, artful, and sometimes lucky choices of next-career-steps (especially within the Navy politics and bureaucracy), as it was about their personal characteristics. Perhaps that is the take-home, but the conclusion seems to imply it was all about their personal character. Another review here makes the case that the book relies as much on emotion as on demonstration; I wouldn't go quite so far, and the emotional content is quite compelling, but the critique that the leadership case isn't fully closed I think still lies.
Regardless, if the subject and content sound intriguing, and readers are willing to embrace a book midway between history, biography, and exposition, I think they are likely not to be disappointed....more
I started Skunk Works expecting to like it, but not expecting to love it as much as I did. Other reviews here recap its content well - it covers the I started Skunk Works expecting to like it, but not expecting to love it as much as I did. Other reviews here recap its content well - it covers the period of SW history in which the U-2, Blackbird, and F-117A stealth bomber were developed (along with some less well known ventures such as high altitude spy drones and a stealth ship), and does good justice both to the incredible engineering and the cold war context and political climate of the day.
Rich's personal story is enhanced with 2-3 page "other voices" sections contributed by program managers, administration officials, test and operational pilots, DoD brass, etc. These add alot of depth and help keep the narrative moving and interesting. You don't need to be an engineer to enjoy this book, but it is a fine and actually exciting capture of the incredible engineering that went into developing these aircraft....more