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The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness Paperback – Bargain Price, September 4, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
-- 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
As someone who has covered the iPod (and, indeed, was at the iPod launch event in Cupertino in 2001), it was great to see Levy's mixture of iPod history with an analysis of how the iPod (and similar products, like the Walkman) have impacted our lives and the world of popular culture. Levy's book is never dry, and combines a historical account of the creation of the 21st century's first iconic product with a real attempt to analyze what makes the iPod both ubiquitous and cool.
Whether you're a fan of Apple's product-creation geniuses, or just of the "perfect storm" of technology that created this particular Perfect Thing, Steven Levy's book is a fun, informative, and thought-provoking analysis of the biggest technological innovation of the past five years.
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!
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.
But Steven Levy is a fine writer with a lot of connections and a personal history to the subject matter of this book. And so, it's a very good book, even though I felt like an outsider as I read it (perhaps ironically, I read it on my Treo). As many have noted, it's a bit too pro-Apple/Jobs, and too often Levy slides through with the easy "yes, others were there first, but iPods are cooler" comments. But the overall result is excellent. Since the chapters are standalones, you'll like some better than you'll like others, depending on your interests. My favorite chapter was on shuffle play, which combines history, science, and philosophy in equal parts. (Just remember, correlation doesn't equal causation.)
1. As you would expect from a book published in 2006, there is no mention of the iPhone or iPod Touch, which were introduced in Summer 2007. Unfortunately for this book, the iPhone and Touch rather masterfully complete the iPod family, combining playback with communication and portable web browsing. I haven't yet seen an industry observer who understood how well Apple has rounded out their iPod product line with the Touch (touch control, big screen, WiFi, browsing, music, App Store) and iPhone (all that plus phone).
2. Although he acknowledges the depth, simplicity and market leadership of iTunes, Levy treats iTunes as an iPod feature. But without iTunes, iPod is just a deluxe, expensive MP3 player, much like the Mac is a deluxe, expensive computer. iTunes is why iPod has 70% market share in MP3 players: iPod + iTunes is a whole product, with enjoyable music shopping and simple downloads. Creative and Microsoft and others have copied and continue to copy iPod, but nobody else has come close to the whole product.
Summary: enjoyable read, but dated and getting less comprehensive by the day.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is NOT a book...it's a full blown COMMERCIAL that tells us NOTHING about secrets of the I-Pod, or ways to use it or inside tricks at all...NOTHING of interest. Read morePublished on February 22, 2014 by dennis
If I have one complaint about the Steve Jobs' biography from Walter Isaacson, it's that certain topics could be not covered in sufficient depth. Read morePublished on March 4, 2012 by Phil Simon
The Perfect Thing covers the story of the Ipod as it was developed and released to the public. It looks not only at the business and the technology but also the sociological... Read morePublished on December 2, 2011 by Lehigh History Student
This book is hardly academic, but it has a lot of fascinating data. It rambles and I love the narration in the audible.com version. The narrator's delivery is awesome. Read morePublished on March 19, 2011 by Charlotte A. Hu
"The Perfect Thing" is a very light, shallow, but entertaining treatment of various aspects of the impact of the iPod product written by a "technology reporter" who does not seem... Read morePublished on June 22, 2010 by D.E. Wray
"The perfect thing" is everything about iPods. The author is Steven Levy, a technology journalist of Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution fame. Read morePublished on May 22, 2010 by Bas Vodde
Apple took off with the success of iPod in 2001. Before iPod, Apple was mainly popular among computer enthusiasts who were viewed by the general public as geeks. Read morePublished on August 12, 2009 by Mariusz Skonieczny
I have read Mr. Levy's book "Hackers" several times. I found the information he supplied regarding the early days of computing very entertaining and of interest to me. Read morePublished on June 23, 2009 by Marvin R. Doering