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The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness Paperback – September 4, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
For the iPod's fifth anniversary, Newsweek technology writer and longtime Apple Computer enthusiast Levy (Insanely Great) offers a brightly written paean to "the most familiar, and certainly the most desirable, new object of the twenty-first century." Combining upbeat reportage about the device's origins and development with higher-minded ruminations about its place at "the center of just about every controversy in the digital age," he explores how the iPod "set the technology world, the business world, and especially the music industry on its head." Levy discusses its place in the "movement of portable cocooning" begun by the Sony Walkman, exploring how the ubiquitous white buds are affecting social connections. The book's in-no-particular-sequence chapters—intended to evoke the iPod's shuffle function—don't build much momentum, and there's more about Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his leaps over design and technical hurdles than the average user may need to know. But Levy's zeal and insider anecdotes ("I once found myself in a heated discussion with Bill Gates about the nature of cool") carry things along. Apple fans and iPod owners will enjoy Levy's exploration—and will probably forgive his gushing about the iPod's "universally celebrated, endlessly pleasing, devilishly functional, drop-dead gorgeous design." (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Entertaining....[The Perfect Thing] does a handy job of crystallizing and commemorating the dawn of the iPod age."
-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"More than a tale about the birth of the iPod, this entertaining book is a twelve-horn hallelujah chorus celebrating how this 'perfect thing' is propelling music from the past into this century and beyond. Add it to your Readlist."
-- Kevin Kelly, former executive editor, Wired
"Wonderful....The Perfect Thing is a thoroughgoing treatment of the iPod from many different perspectives -- social, economic, technical, psychological -- packed with insights from one of the tech world's most astute observers."
-- Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
"Loads of fun, jammed with entertaining connections, unexpected riffs, and endless stuff you've never heard of before."
-- Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly
Top customer reviews
For the record, my iPod nano was green, survived a fall, and two hours in a washing machine, was a high point in what was a dark few years in my life, and I can't seem to find it anymore. I love my iPhone 7, and the iPad 2 I'm typing this on, but I do miss that tiny, perfect thing.
It is interesting also because it was written before the IPhone or I-touch was even out.
Steve levy obviously had some great connections to put together this story. Run and interesting read.
I chose to read this book not only because of how amazed I am at how people (including my teenaged kids) love their iPods so much, but also because I'm curious about the future of music as we know it, the disappearance of the CD and along with it the album cover and lyric booklet, and the explosion of songs available for purchase through the iTunes store.
The writing in this book is terrific--informative and provocative. I highly recommend it!
I did not expect to laugh out loud every few minutes, but I did. Steven Levy is a great writer - his knowledge of Apple combined with his knowledge of popular music makes the book great fun to read. Levy is simply an excellent writer, writing about an excellent product.
As a bonus, this is a valuable book to read if you design products of any kind, because it provides insights into how exceptional products are created - i.e., fanatical attention to detail, and an inner drive to make not just a good product, but a great one.
If you like music and technology, I guarantee you will enjoy this book. Of course, I own a couple of iPods, so I am biased. If you own a Zune, you may disagree. But even Zune owners might find it interesting to see how great products are designed.
But before I'd even read this book -- and strictly based on its Wall Street Journal review -- I ordered a box of copies and sent 'em to my clients, which are mostly radio stations...because radio stations are in iPod's cross-hairs.
If you read Levy's stuff in Newsweek, you already know that THIS GUY CAN WRITE. And he's done something downright poetic, by offering the chapters "on shuffle." They're in different order in different copies of the book...and can be read in any order.
My two favorite chapters are the one ABOUT shuffle (which, if you own an iPod, WILL deliver you an "oh wow" moment); and the chapter recalling how Walkman was received in its day.
HIGHLY recommended reading.