While I didn't feel that I learned a great deal of new information about Apple from this book, I *did* learn quite a lot about the individuals. Having worked in similarly high-pressure environments, this book helped me appreciate why working at Apple must be like taking a drug--you love the high, but you know you can't sustain it forever.
My wife, who is moderately technical, and not nearly as knowledgable about Apple, listened to this along with me and repeatedly said, "Those poor people." Unable to understand the endorphin rush that tech people experience when working on something new and fantastic, all she could see was the long hours, loss of friendships and relationships, and a sense of the oppressive environment that *is* a modern tech company.
Given the differences in our work experiences (I'm an IT consultant and she's a school teacher), I'd say that Lashinsky's book created exactly the kind of reactions he wanted. The only quibble I have with his performance is that it's all-too-easy to spot places where he revised a section for fact correction or to fix a pronunciation issue. Not having a pro perform this takes you out of the story a bit, and reminds you that you're listening to an audio book, and not a conversation with the author.
Though Steve Wozniak isn't a professional reader, I might have preferred for him to have read this. I listened to this right after "Born Standing Up" (by Steve Martin), and there is value to hearing the author's own voice. However, if you've been touched in any way by the computer revolution, and particularly if you're a tech person, you'll be fascinated by this insider's view to Silicon Valley and the genesis of one of the most successful companies in history.
Like most serious gearheads, Woz has a tendency to talk about his own accomplishments in matter-of-fact terms, which sounds arrogant to the general public. As someone who can fully appreciate the magnitude of his contributions to computer technology, I can assure you that none of this is ego-boosting. The things Woz accomplished in the late 70's and early 80's were truly groundbreaking and (to this day) virtually unmatched.
What most people won't expect is to learn of his fantastic sense of humor. The stories of his pranks may sound childish to some, but his sense of right and wrong always comes through. It's very easy to believe that he really is the charming, gracious, and imminently approachable person that you hear about waiting patiently along with "new friends" to buy the latest Apple gadget.
If you're not a techie, you might find some of his explanations tedious or difficult to follow, but it's well worth it if you do.
Warm, Touching, and Hilarious
The author shows the intellect and craft behind comedy.
Parts of the book are so well-written and spoken that his emotion is palpable.
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