Apple Computer has made for good copy over the years. From its beginnings in the garage owned by Steve Jobs's parents and the launch of the Macintosh to the regimes of John Scully and Gil Amelio, Apple's story is irresistible and has been captured in books such as The Little Kingdom
by Michael Moritz, The Macintosh Way
by Guy Kawasaki, Insanely Great
by Steven Levy, and Apple
by Jim Carlton. Now in Infinite Loop
, Michael S. Malone offers what may be the best rendition yet of Apple's storied past.
Malone's account begins deep in the heart of Santa Clara Valley and the early lives of Apple's two founders, Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Malone seamlessly interlaces his accounts of the forces that shaped the two Steves--from the nascent electronics industry of the '60s and companies such as Sylvania and Hewlett Packard to Jobs's work at Atari and his repeated, and often deceitful, manipulation of his genius friend, the Woz. From these early beginnings, Malone takes the reader through the life of Apple Computer: its founding and launch of the Apple I, the return of Steve Jobs, the rollout of the iMac. In the end, Malone, a journalist who grew up in Silicon Valley and first covered Apple in 1979, writes that Apple was a company with lots of attitude but one that was bereft of character, and only when that fact was laid bare "did the essential hollowness of the enterprise stand exposed." Infinite Loop is a wonderfully written, even gripping, corporate biography that anyone who has fallen under Apple's spell will enjoy. Recommended. --Harry C. Edwards
From Publishers Weekly
Two years ago, this could have been the definitive book about why one of the world's most well-known brand names almost went out of business. But Apple has since bounced back, rendering someAbut not allAof Malone's analysis moot. (In fact, in his foreword, Malone admits that, having abandoned his Mac for a PC, he is now eyeing an Apple G3Athough he calls the iMac "Steve Jobs's triumph of image over reality.") Still, even given the bad timing, Malone presents a cogent account of how Apple ran into trouble. Malone, editor of the technology magazine, Forbes ASAP, grew up near Apple's founders, worked for the company for a time and has covered the firm since its inception. He unearths new information about the company's founders, Steven P. Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, and he puts them in a far less flattering light than the common hagiography, which presents the two as a pair of garage-bound tinkerers and idealists. The story he tells is how hubris, arrogance and IBM-sized egos prevented Apple's execs from diversifying the company's product line. Determined to write the definitive revisionist history of Apple, Malone takes special aim at the company's famous corporate culture: "Of all the great companies of recent memory, there is only one that seemed to have no character, but only an attitude, a style, a collection of mannerisms. It constructed a brilliant simulacrum of character, in a way a man without empathy or conscience can pretend to have those traits." Such sentences abound in a book thatAat least among Apple execs and the company's famously loyal customersAwill be greeted with something other than a smile.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.