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iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It Hardcover – September 17, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 364 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Every engineer—and certainly every engineering student—should read this book….It is, in a nutshell, the engineer's manifesto. -- Guy Kawasaki, author of The Macintosh Way

Everyone should enjoy Woz's very personal and engaging story….What a wild ride! -- Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of Singularity Is Near

Worth waiting for…adds intriguing new information to the history of the origins of the personal computer revolution. -- Alan Deutschman, author of The Second Coming of Steve Jobs

About the Author

Steve Wozniak has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Technology and the Heinz Award. He lives in California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (September 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061437
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (364 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Yesterday, I took a long look at the new book by Steve Wozniak, iWoz. Personally, I'm intrigued by the science-based creativity that led to early Apple products, and also the psychologically-savvy thinking that went into making computers user-friendly.

The book will be interesting to a specialized audience. You need to be interested in the early history of personal computers (e.g., the legendary Homebrew Computer Club). You need to get a kick out of the amusing but sometimes unflattering lore that defined Apple's history and culture. You need to want to know about Wozniak's remarkably innovative engineering as well as Apple's entrepreneurship. You have to dig the views and personality of a successful but unusual and reclusive countercultural person. It probably helps if you resonate with Wozniak's personal style, and dream about making innovative contributions somewhere, somehow.

Some observations:

1) When he claims to have "invented" the personal computer, he's not being too grandiose. He created some really beautiful early computers. The lore is that these contraptions were the first to have typewriter based keyboards; the first to be useable right out of the box; the first low-cost computers to have color, sound, hi-res graphics, and floppy disks. He developed software that changed industry standards. And to believe Wozniak is to believe that he was the origin of these ideas, surrounded by other creative geniuses like Jobs, Osborn, Marsh and others. Perhaps others shared in these innovations. But there's no doubt that Wozniak was one of the great "out of the box" thinkers of the Silicon Valley "revolution." In the book, Wozniak describes developing all of these things.
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Format: Hardcover
Steve Wozniak (with the obvious and very able assistance of Gina Smith) has written a gem of a book in iWoz. This book is literally for everyone, techies and non techies alike, as the Revolution created by Mr. Wozniak and Steve Jobs truly changed our world. I have often thought of the two as highly different individuals brought together in a common cause with radically different skill sets. Cast The Woz as John Lennon and Steve Jobs as Paul McCartney. Lennon wanted to CREATE something special, something beautiful and something new. Wozniak clearly did this at Apple. McCartney wanted to become huge, well known and wealthy. Jobs did this for all at Apple, very much including the author as Wozniak had other motivations that occupied his very busy mind. Mr. Wozniak does write, very interestingly, about the engineer as an artist. He really thinks of it that way. Any who have heard him speak or met him, as I have been fortunate enough to do on a few occasions, know that what he wrote was, and is, the real Steve Wozniak. Ms. Smith did a marvelous job at making the book almost entirely understandable to those of us whose minds are not wired as an engineer. Yet it is the voice of Mr. Wozniak that comes through. Truly a remarkable accomplishment as Wozniak can ramble yet, in this wonderful autobiography, his thoughts are cogent and clear. Even concise.

This book is a great read for all. It shows what passion can create. Buy it, read it and give it to all your family and friends to read.
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Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book. Woz is a geek icon, after all, and the early stories of his life and inventions are the stuff of legend. They had to be better coming straight from the horse's mouth, right?

The stories themselves are interesting: redesigning commercial devices on paper to reduce the number of chips, why colour was so important to him, knocking together Breakout in a few sleepless days, making the Apple I. And there's all of Woz's pranks over the years.

But the problem is, Woz just doesn't have the gift of storytelling. All through the book, I felt like I was simply reading a transcription of stories that he's been telling in person every time he speaks for the past 20 years. (Reading the afterword, I'm pretty sure that I'm right on this regard.) Okay, so they were scrubbed for um and ah, but that's about it. It gives the book a conversational tone that makes me feel like he's skipping over all the really interesting stuff.

With the loving touch of a good editor, this could have been a much better book. It was immensely repetitive, with Woz re-telling stories multiple times. There wasn't nearly enough about the early days of Apple, nor about Woz's departure from the company. The tone of the book was entirely too self-congratulatory, with hardly a page going by where Woz didn't say how clever he is. It trails off post-Apple.

If you're interested in the history of computing, and specifically Woz's contribution to it, there are many other places to start that will give you a much better picture. Read this book only after you've read those.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful story, extremely well told. The history of how Apple became Apple is a fairly familiar one by now but this book chronicles Steve Wozniak's personal journey from childhood up to the creation of the first PC, the founding of Apple, and beyond. In the first few chapters, you get a glimpse into Steve Wozniak's childhood fascination with technology and the people who taught him early on. Unlike many other biographies that list the dad as a primary influence, this book chronicles many humorous (and charming) stories of how Steve's father encouraged him in technology and more broadly, to think creatively and develop his own opinions. Later, you get a clear sense of how his thinking evolved as he continually pushed the edges of the technological envelope to see what was possible, all juxtaposed against the technology that was available at the time, until he and Mr. Jobs quit their day jobs to found Apple.

I worried that this book would be too tech-y for me but it absolutely wasn't. I definitely learned some things about technology along the way - there are clever sidebars throughout the book which explain the technology that is being discussed. More than a technology book, this is a personal story - it is a warm and engaging narrative about one of the great geniuses of our time who invented something that we have trouble imagining life without! What's really great about the way the book is written is that you get a clear sense of what Steve was thinking throughout his childhood - what struck him as interesting and fun and strange and beautiful - and that's what makes this book such a pleasure to read.
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