Firstly, I don't really understand the complaints about the reader. I thought he was fine.
This is a great book, very timely and obviously one of Steve Jobs last works with him commissioning it so that his story would be told, warts and all. I couldn't put it down.
It so sad to think that we hoped Steve Jobs would show up for the announcement of the iPhone 4S when he was in fact so close to death. The book details the back story behind the releases of the iPhone and iPad and you get the impression that Jobs put all of his strength into them once he knew that his time was limited. The impending tragedy of his early death in some way contributed to some of his greatest achievements.
Only being a recent Mac convert, much of the early history was new to me. I probably disliked Steve Jobs and Bill Gates equally throughout the 90s but my impressions of them changed throughout the book. I really have a much greater respect for Bill Gates as a result of the character that is revealed in the book. I feel I have understood what Steve Jobs was about and what he was trying to achieve. Steve Wozniak comes across as the wonderful Tom Bombadill character that we know and love.
It' s hard to summarize what I feel about Steve Jobs. So much to admire, but such a flawed character. Very thought provoking story.
The cold war tensions are now dissolved. With the collapse of the Soviet Union it is unlikely that there are any spies motivated by socialist ideological ideals anymore. The book give an interesting peak into the motivations of communists within the Establishment from before the war to the 1960s.
Kim Philby's father. He seems like a wild character, I'd like to read about him too.
The Great Betrayal or how the Establishment behave behind closed doors.
I didn't really appreciate the accents. It's a factual story and I don't need to here Russians speaking in comedy Russian accents. I wasn't sure if the narrator was imitating William Hague or whether that was his natural accent as he seemed to go out of character at times.
Kevin Mitnick's story told in full for the first time. An almost unbelievable story of high tech deception.
However, I wish they had had Kevin Mitnick read the book himself.
The initial part of the book is detailed and slow going but the story picks up when it gets to the hunt for the Polonium around London and into Europe. While it covers Russian politics and intrigue in great depth we are never really sure, even at the end, who, if anyone, authorized the poisoning but with such a full exposition of the background and facts the listener is well equipped to come to their own conclusion and realize why we may never know the full details of the story.
The chapters regarding Polonium should be required reading for anyone involved in public safety.
I learnt a lot about the recent partnership between America and Russia and how the International Space Station came about. The most memorable part of the story for me was the detailed description of life on the Mir Space Station which was much scarier than I had imagined.
The book also shows the difference between the mentality of the Cosmonauts and Astronauts and between NASA and the Russian space agency. I have greater respect for both sides now.
Even though the prose was a bit long winded at times I'm definitely going to listen again.
Listening to how the ideas developed really gives you an insight into the personalities of the familiar characters in the world of Quantum Physicists and an appreciation that some of today's accepted dogma was highly controversial at the time it was proposed and split the community into believers and non-believers.
I really enjoyed the narration but I'm going to have to re-listen at least one more time as the gentle tones of the reader lulled me into sleep several times on my train commute and bedtime read.
If the commentators of the UK World Cup games had read this, their analysis would be much more grounded as most of the popular soccer fallacies are thoroughly statistically debunked.
However many large tables are read out verbatim. The conclusions are fascinating but reading out rows of figures just doesn't work in an audiobook.
This is a must listen for fans of UK soccer. It is both educational and amusing. I spurted out my coffee on one occasion.
I'll never look at soccer in the same way again.
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