I have mixed feelings about this book. I really like that Woz tries to explain how he and others built home computers in the 70’s. In an age where many do not understand how to do basic coding, let alone how to build a computer, any attempt to encourage interest in making/understanding things is most welcome. But in this book Woz have taken on the identity of someone who feels that they have played a very important role, but never really received any credit. Still, rather than actually learning much about Woz and what he actually contributed to, at Apple and elsewhere, it is a book that does not go anywhere.
Even when Wos explains why he wrote the book, at page 354, and say that it is to set the record straight, nothing interesting comes out. The list of things he wants to correct are things not even he himself can consider important. He lists:
- ➢ He did not drop out of college
- ➢ He was not thrown out of the University of Colorado
- ➢ He and Steve was not classmates
- ➢ He engineered those first computers himself
- ➢ He left Apple to start a new company
That is not a list for a book, maybe a blog post.
Maybe it is just me who are not obsessed enough with Apple to care about exactly who did what. If someone thought that Apple started the computer revolution, and I do not think Woz think they played a very important part, exactly what they did could be important. But Apple has always been about design and simple user interface. The actual computers have never been very important. Why Apple understood that most users wanted something nice looking and simple, while most other companies thought that everyone was a computer nerd, is an interesting question, but it is the last you will learn from this book.
I guess I hoped for a more social voice/brain/ethics, someone who could talk about why Apple so far has done anything serous about poverty, climate change, engaged in open source development, etc. But the book has nothing to provide in these fields. As a guide to how some people belonging to the first generation of DIY groups that made home computers in the 70’s did it, Woz gives you quite a lot of details.
The fact that neither Steve nor Woz cared enough about the major challenges of our time to let it guide their business lives is sad. Hopefully Tim Cook can move Apple to a company that will make a real difference when it comes to important issues.