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Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products Hardcover – November 14, 2013
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I was not turned off by the entire book. The beginning, which talks about Ive’s education and work before Apple is informative, telling a story I doubt many are familiar with. Khaney’s descriptions of Ive’s early work at Apple were also enjoyable, covering the development of the Newton, the Twentieth Anniversay Mac, and the iMac. Part of me wonders, however, if these sections were more enjoyable only because I am less familiar with those product’s stories already. If I knew more about them, would I have found as many faults with Khaney’s writing as I did with the newer products that I am familiar with?
The book is entirely effusive about Jony Ive, to the point of being annoying. The hockey puck mouse that shipped with the original iMac is only gently derided, and Ive’s tendency to supplant form over function is likewise given a pass. This gushing attitude hits its high in the final chapter, where credit for the success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad is seemingly given entirely to Ive:
> The iPod was a product of Jony’s simplification philosophy. It could have been just another complex MP3 player, but instead he turned it into the iconic gadget that set the design cues for later mobile devices.Read more ›
I was also a bit concerned Kahney would fall into traps authors often fall into when they profile tech executives as I wrote recently – speculation without direct access to the subject, and a chronological version of the subject’s life. Kahney does but it does not affect this book as much. He focuses more on the huge product hits – the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and iPad and uses his long term watching of Apple (he publishes the Cult of Mac) to use alumni and other contacts to weave enough of Ive into the descriptions. And unlike Walter Isaacson with Steve Jobs, he does not focus much on Ive’s youth other than to show the influence his dad and his consulting days in the UK had on his aesthetic sense.
There is plenty of detail to savor – like the Daler Rowney sketchbooks preferred by the ID team, Bondi Blue translucence of the first iMac and Ive's minimalist stamp on the new iOS7. Apple fans will particularly relish these details of two decades of products they have enjoyed. Personally, I liked the design culture Kahney describes that Robert Brunner, IDEO, frog and others brought to the Valley in the 90s that have reshaped so many of our devices since. I also liked the fact he invokes anecdotes from auto, furniture and other product design from Italy, Japan and elsewhere.Read more ›
Furthermore, the presumable purpose of the book is to document Ive's life and rise to fame. Unfortunately, the second half of this literary waste of time is almost exclusively devoted to a play by play of Apple's corporate history with a heavy emphasis on Steve Jobs and internal Apple politics.
Finally, Kahney is just a bad writer. On top of basically copying everyone else's existing work, he does so poorly. His prose is legitimately composed at a high school level with no consideration for style or grammatical structure. At numerous points throughout the book, I found myself rereading whole sentences because they just did not make sense or were written in the most awkward way imaginable.
Avoid this. I forced myself to read the whole thing because I was hopeful that it would get better. It did not.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a good companion to Isaacson's Steve Jobs. The book is well written and clearly reveals Apple's superior design culture. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. M. Nye
Lacks depth of the man and what drives him. Having met him and know his bent towards privacy I know he couches his words carefully. The author failed to draw him out.Published 3 months ago by Tomped
A detailed, coherent and insightful bio that captures not only Ive's spirit but also Apple's. By the end of the book is pretty clear that Ive was AS important as Jobs in Apple's... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nachomontero
Reading this book gave gave me a new appreciation for Apple design, everything from the way devices appear when revealed for the first time by the company to the unique, "gift... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steve Gilbert
Jony Ive has to be the most disciplined person on this planet. Jobs was an equal opportunity critic. Read morePublished 6 months ago by wayne
For Apple fans and those in ID, this is a good read to get a behind the scenes look at the creative genius of Jony Ive.Published 7 months ago by Erik Behrendsen
I am a huge Apple fan and was very excited when I heard this book was coming out. I just finished reading Walter Isaacson's "Jobs" and couldn't put that book down! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Nicholas Scala
A page turner. Well written and well researched. Add it to your book watch list. Jony Ive and Apple are a perfect match.Published 9 months ago by J. Scott Ball