Reamde is about as reminiscent to a Snow Crash modern novel as you can get. Set in a more contemporary time than I've grown accustomed to with Stephenson, I found this book to be a great story with engaging characters. At times I felt like I was reading about James Bond who happened to know a Jack Ryan-Steve Jobs-esque billionaire who was related to a young Foxy Brown - all of whom happened to run in to Osama Bin Laden. Loved every minute of it.
As with his other works, the level of detail and richness of character traits makes me think Stephenson must spend most of his free time visiting these locations and writing about people in his family. I went with the audio book this time and was not dissapointed. The narrator did an excellent job switching from character to character - all with pronounced accents - conveying a fantastic degree of "suspension of disbelief" that I rarely get in an audio book.
It's funny. I work in a techno-centric company and over the last few years, we've been deluged with "new" insights on how to approach our business. Come to find out, we've been trying to replicate Jobs' "secret sauce" in the process. What we haven't learned are all the pitfalls that come with such approaches. The author does a brilliant job at showcasing not only the GREAT things about Jobs as leader, but also being very candid about his shortcomings and failings. This honest approach allows the reader to sift through the history of one of the great innovators of our time and see what works and what doesn't. This is as valuable as any "business book approach" as I've ever read.
As I listened, I felt a lot like I was watching an episode of the Sopranos. Here's this flawed, ego-centric, mean-spirited guy... that you can't help but love. Steve Jobs' life is by no stretch of the imagination sugar coated in this treatise. You will find it hard to fit him in to one category of love or hate. His life was literally too dynamic to allow that - which is refreshing.
If all you have ever heard about Jobs were the sound-bites and anectdotal stories about one of the icons of our times, this book will open your eyes to a world that is as tragic as it is triumphant.
I've listened to a lot of audio books - and I'm not quite sure where all the ire comes from regarding the narrator. Perhaps the listeners are applying Jobs' perfectionist reality distortion field. Maybe that's their tribute to him? Not sure, but the narrator was not distracting and does just fine.
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