iWoz was an interesting read, although at times difficult to get through. In terms of compelling storytelling, there is no comparison to the Steve Job...moreiWoz was an interesting read, although at times difficult to get through. In terms of compelling storytelling, there is no comparison to the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. iWoz is a series of 'I did this, then I did this, followed by this and then this happened' stories told from the perspective of Steve Wozniak. As a result, the first part of the book takes a bit of patience to get through, but once you do there are some interesting tidbits inside.
A few things I learned from this book that I never knew, although I probably should have known as a self-professed geek: 1) Woz invented the first computer (Apple 1) that we would recognize as a modern PC. That is to say, a box filled with electronics which you plug a monitor and keyboard into. All previous computers were boxes with LEDs and switches on the front (see: Altair 8800). I knew he invented the Apple I, I just didn't know it was the first to come with ability to plug in monitor & keyboard for input & display. 2) Woz invented the first programmable universal remote.
Apart from that, there are some interesting stories about his time at Apple and what the culture was like there and at HP where he worked. All said, it's an interesting read if you are at all curious about computer history and are willing to work your way through the first portion of the book.(less)
Walter Isaacson has produced a tome that feels worthy of the man that it chronicles. Whatever your preconceived notions are of the man or the products...moreWalter Isaacson has produced a tome that feels worthy of the man that it chronicles. Whatever your preconceived notions are of the man or the products and businesses he represented, after reading the book there is no doubt that Steve Jobs' work had substantial impact upon several industries (computer/personal electronics: Apple, music: iTunes, animated movies: Pixar).
The story of Steve Jobs proves to be interesting as both a study of the man and the businesses/products which he represented. Detailed accounts provide the reader with a sense of being an insider, seeing how Steve's personality drove his work and affected those around him. The narration of Steve's life also feels very honest; both good and bad facets his life are explored from the perspectives of many different people.
If there was one critique it is that I wish there was more. Until then I will be patiently waiting and hoping for Steve Jobs volume II.
The Black Banners is a great book that lets you peek behind the curtain to see what life was like for FBI agent Ali Soufan. Through the authors eyes,...moreThe Black Banners is a great book that lets you peek behind the curtain to see what life was like for FBI agent Ali Soufan. Through the authors eyes, we are able to see the unfortunate consequences of political infighting between various government agencies which hamstrung investigations and ultimately changed the course of history.
The author describes in detail what it was like to interrogate captured al-Queda operatives and how valuable intelligence was gained from many of these interrogations. The book also highlights many opportunities that were squandered by red tape, politics and inexperienced investigators from other agencies.
The story is told chronologically from the author's first days at The Bureau up through his post 9/11 retirement. In the process, you get a flavor for what it was like to be on the ground in Yemen during the Cole investigation, in Guantanamo Bay post 9/11 and [redacted]. Just kidding about the last bit, although there is a portion of the book which has been redacted at the request of the C.I.A. Fortunately, these redactions do not detract from the overall story being told. (less)
As much as I search for books that make me laugh, it is fairly uncommon for a book to make me actually laugh out loud. This was one of those books. I...moreAs much as I search for books that make me laugh, it is fairly uncommon for a book to make me actually laugh out loud. This was one of those books. I picked it up before getting on a plane, read the whole thing in one shot and laughed more than I had reading any book that I can recall. I gave the book to a colleague on another recent trip and he had the same reaction. It's definitely not for kids due to the amount of profanity, but will absolutely make you hoot when you read it. (less)
Inside the Plex gives the reader a behind the scenes look into the inner workings of Google. Levy covers the Google story from the early days in Susan...moreInside the Plex gives the reader a behind the scenes look into the inner workings of Google. Levy covers the Google story from the early days in Susan Wojcicki's garage to becoming a profitable start-up and into the current social media tug of war with Facebook. Levy's insider access leads to a number of interesting anecdotes (did you know Google wanted to accept goats as payments for ads in Uzbekistan?) and gives the reader truly interesting firsthand insight to the story of the Google and its employees.