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Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything

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The creation of the Mac in 1984 catapulted America into the digital millennium, captured a fanatic cult audience, and transformed the computer industry into an unprecedented mix of technology, economics, and show business. Now veteran technology writer and Newsweek senior editor Steven Levy zooms in on the great machine and the fortunes of the unique company responsible fo The creation of the Mac in 1984 catapulted America into the digital millennium, captured a fanatic cult audience, and transformed the computer industry into an unprecedented mix of technology, economics, and show business. Now veteran technology writer and Newsweek senior editor Steven Levy zooms in on the great machine and the fortunes of the unique company responsible for its evolution. Loaded with anecdote and insight, and peppered with sharp commentary, Insanely Great is the definitive book on the most important computer ever made. It is a must-have for anyone curious about how we got to the interactive age.


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The creation of the Mac in 1984 catapulted America into the digital millennium, captured a fanatic cult audience, and transformed the computer industry into an unprecedented mix of technology, economics, and show business. Now veteran technology writer and Newsweek senior editor Steven Levy zooms in on the great machine and the fortunes of the unique company responsible fo The creation of the Mac in 1984 catapulted America into the digital millennium, captured a fanatic cult audience, and transformed the computer industry into an unprecedented mix of technology, economics, and show business. Now veteran technology writer and Newsweek senior editor Steven Levy zooms in on the great machine and the fortunes of the unique company responsible for its evolution. Loaded with anecdote and insight, and peppered with sharp commentary, Insanely Great is the definitive book on the most important computer ever made. It is a must-have for anyone curious about how we got to the interactive age.

30 review for Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    I fell under the spell of Steve Jobs after finishing Walter Isaacson's biography of him, and fortunately I'm slowly stepping out of the glow of the "reality distortion field." What hasn't changed since my reading of Isaacson's biography however, is an admiration and fascination with the personal computer movement and the way it crafted a rhetoric of computers as a means of changing the world. As such I've been looking for books which explore the Apple Phenomena and Steven Levys book does just th I fell under the spell of Steve Jobs after finishing Walter Isaacson's biography of him, and fortunately I'm slowly stepping out of the glow of the "reality distortion field." What hasn't changed since my reading of Isaacson's biography however, is an admiration and fascination with the personal computer movement and the way it crafted a rhetoric of computers as a means of changing the world. As such I've been looking for books which explore the Apple Phenomena and Steven Levys book does just that. Now obviously the reader of this book will walk away with the realization that Levy is a bit biased. It doesn't help that he was a writer for MacWorld magazine. Despite his connection, Insanely Great is a wonderfully written book that manages in each chapter to instill the reader with a sense of how dramatic a change the Mackintosh computer actually was. Even if the reader is computer-illiterate, Levy writes in a way so that so that terms like bit-mapping, point-click-interface, PARC, or even Graphical-User-Interface(sometimes referred to as GUI or "Gooey") no longer seem like unreadable jargon. The reader is able to appreciate the developments of the engineering feats which allowed the Mackintosh to become the computer that changed the world. Levy's book isn't without faults, because honestly the last two chapters didn't keep the same pace that the early sections did. Nevertheless Levy is able to follow the development of the computer and the people who made it to try and understand exactly how the computer altered the cultural landscape. Computers have changed virtually every level of our society, and their future impact is changing everyday. Some might disagree with the thesis that the Mackintosh changed the computer industry, but by the end of the book they will hopefully agree or respect Levy's claim that the Mackintosh left a dent in the universe that we're still feeling today.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aku

    A good overview of how the Macintosh came to be and of the people who made it happen. Steven Levy is a writer who seems to divide opinions. I liked his earlier book Hackers a *lot*, and this book continues with the same style, although this time solely focused on Apple and Macintosh. This time a couple of his stylistic devices rubbed me the wrong way, though — he seems to have a real penchant for obscure words with perfectly good common alternatives. This style of writing can come acr A good overview of how the Macintosh came to be and of the people who made it happen. Steven Levy is a writer who seems to divide opinions. I liked his earlier book Hackers a *lot*, and this book continues with the same style, although this time solely focused on Apple and Macintosh. This time a couple of his stylistic devices rubbed me the wrong way, though — he seems to have a real penchant for obscure words with perfectly good common alternatives. This style of writing can come across as pretentious, especially when combined with the fact that Levy is definitely a user and not a hacker himself. The Kindle edition of this book is a terrible OCR job filled with all kinds of errors from encoding issues to persistent stray punctuation marks and weird substitutions. All that aside, the book is definitely primary source material when it comes to how the Macintosh was born. Well worth the read for everyone interested in the most important personal computer of the 80's, and arguably, of all time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Apple Computers had already made its mark before 1984, by pioneering personal computers long before IBM entered the consumer market. In January 1984, it hoped to make a larger one -- to make a dent in history. So it did...just not quite the way its creators intended. Insanely Great chronicles the history and influence of the Macintosh computer, which became the company's chief product before its wildfire consumer products of the 2000s. Originally written in Apple's lost years when it hemorrhaged Apple Computers had already made its mark before 1984, by pioneering personal computers long before IBM entered the consumer market. In January 1984, it hoped to make a larger one -- to make a dent in history. So it did...just not quite the way its creators intended. Insanely Great chronicles the history and influence of the Macintosh computer, which became the company's chief product before its wildfire consumer products of the 2000s. Originally written in Apple's lost years when it hemorrhaged talent and could not find a stable hand at the rudder, it includes an afterward on the recent turn of Jobs. It's a history that doubles as a labor of love, because it has a biographical thread concerning Levy himself -- a man grudgingly seduced by computers. who was so enamored with the promise of the Macintosh that he bought on on release. Although Jobs would later shanghai the project, the Macintosh originated in the person of Jef Raskin, who wanted to create an extremely cheap but versatile computer, an electronic Swiss Army Knife, that would be easy for first time users to pick up, with an intuitive interface. While it wouldn't boast any specs worth mentioning, it would have simple tools that ordinary people would find useful, like a word processor. Raskin wanted to push this computer into the familiar realm of home appliances: when computers became like phones and calculators, he thought, then they would have arrived. After working with the Lisa project, Apple's first attempt at creating a machine with a GUI which proved to be an extremely expensive dud, Steve Jobs drifted into the Macintosh room and was seized by its potential. Jobs would take over the team and make the Mac far beefier than Raskin ever intended, eventually, and his obsession with perfecting every detail meant that for all its expanded capacity, the Mac was under-powered for much of its basic operations. Maintaining a glowing screen full of images, and drawing each bit of text effectively as an image, was asking a lot of 128K memory. And it wasn't going to be like an Apple II, either; users couldn't just open up the hood and add to the Mac's hardware. (The Mac team snuck around on the side and allowed for the ability to do a little memory expansion, since they knew -- Jobs not withstanding -- the Mac was going to need more as soon as consumers started playing with it.) Perhaps the Mac was a little too user-friendly. Although those who tried it loved the operating system, many looked past it. It wasn't a serious machine; it looked like a toy. Apple II and IBM machines which still ran the DOS system may have required getting used to typing in computer commands, but they had a well-established library of software, including the business applications people were mostly relying on computers for. Mac was still developing its own, with the help of Microsoft. Microsoft would use its experience with Macintosh's graphical user interface to develop Windows, though this was not a simple care of Microsoft taking Apple's idea: the pioneers there were Xerox, and several GUI systems were in development in the mid 1980s. Although the little Macintosh would take over the company -- via Jobs, who diverted more resources into it away from the Apple II line, which also had the GUI by now -- and still lives in Apple in name (its current computers are much more like the Macintosh than the moddable Apple II, and have the same working-out-of-the-box approach), Levy admits that its greatest success was achieved by leading to Windows, which took a commanding lead over OSes to the point that prior to Chromebooks, it had an effective monopoly. Although Insanely Great is sometimes more of a tribute than a serious history, I enjoyed the look at history it offers, both into the Lisa and Macintosh project, and the bit of biography: given that Levy is definitely a tech enthusaist, I was astonished to learn that he had once been anti-computers, and only when he was asked to do Hackers was he won over. He shared Job's hatred and distrust of IBM, and for him seduction by the Macintosh was his entry into the world of computers. Therein lies his affection, for the little machine. which literally changed his life. For a more balanced perspective, I would recommend this video in which an Apple fan argues that the Macintosh was a mistake, and that Jobs hobbled the performance of Apple II's GUI model (GS) to promote the technically inferior yet more expensive Macintosh instead. It's 8 minutes. For a look at the "other side", there's also a video on YouTube of someone unboxing a new 1984 IBM-AT. That one is much longer, but I was surprised at the amount of software setup required just to get it started, and it helped me appreciate the "turn on.....ready" approach of the Mac.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This book is still an entertaining and informative listen (or read) even with the passage of a quarter century, which in tech years is a very, very long time. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, as much of what's covered here marks a sort of personal timeline and I assume many others who are now in their own fifth decade will have the same reaction. The Mac appeared when I was in college, and it was the first computer I worked on. Appreciated the updated chapters at the end of the Audio book, i This book is still an entertaining and informative listen (or read) even with the passage of a quarter century, which in tech years is a very, very long time. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, as much of what's covered here marks a sort of personal timeline and I assume many others who are now in their own fifth decade will have the same reaction. The Mac appeared when I was in college, and it was the first computer I worked on. Appreciated the updated chapters at the end of the Audio book, including one written after Steve Jobs' death.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Antonia

    The ebook is a reissue of an older book, originally published in 1994. The author has added a couple of appendices, one of which is his essay, "In Memory of Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011," and the other a lengthy interview with Steve Jobs that took place shortly before the Macintosh launch (1984). I enjoyed this review of the Mac's development, the fervor and frenzy and commitment. I've been a Mac user since 1991, but had forgotten a lot of the details — e.g., names of display features, software, etc. The ebook is a reissue of an older book, originally published in 1994. The author has added a couple of appendices, one of which is his essay, "In Memory of Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011," and the other a lengthy interview with Steve Jobs that took place shortly before the Macintosh launch (1984). I enjoyed this review of the Mac's development, the fervor and frenzy and commitment. I've been a Mac user since 1991, but had forgotten a lot of the details — e.g., names of display features, software, etc., and how slow everything was — copying a disk! — by today's standards. I also really enjoyed the portrait of Steve Jobs that emerges, his "chutzpah and hubris" as Levy puts it. What a force! Insanely great, himself. I also like Levy's writing quite a lot, though I spotted quite a few typos or words left out or just mistakes in word choice and, once or twice, factual information. I'm planning to read his book about Google. I read this on the Kindle Paperwhite. Some punctuation and words with accent marks did not display correctly — e.g., GassA©e. (Can't even tell what it's supposed to be.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tammam Aloudat

    Reading a new (old) book I picked from Phoenix used bookstore in Amsterdam near my apartment. The book is called “Insanely Grea: the life and times of Macintosh, the computer that changed everything”. I am reading now about the incredibly intelligent visionaries of the sixties and seventies who visualized what a computer could be and do. Things that are today part of our everyday vocabulary like desktop, windows, mouse, informations ape and others were leaps of imagination beyond belief.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter O'Kelly

    The Kindle edition of the latest edition of the book, which adds a lengthly 1983 Steve Jobs interview transcript, is available, as I type this, for $4.99. I read the original hardcover edition in 1994, but rereading it and the Jobs interview (and an afterword from the 2000 edition) was a fascinating experience. I'd give the latest Kindle edition 5 stars if it weren't for some glaring typos and an obvious factual error that went uncorrected from the 2000 revision: Levy asserted, in reference to 1 The Kindle edition of the latest edition of the book, which adds a lengthly 1983 Steve Jobs interview transcript, is available, as I type this, for $4.99. I read the original hardcover edition in 1994, but rereading it and the Jobs interview (and an afterword from the 2000 edition) was a fascinating experience. I'd give the latest Kindle edition 5 stars if it weren't for some glaring typos and an obvious factual error that went uncorrected from the 2000 revision: Levy asserted, in reference to 1997 MacWorld event, "Not one of the 8,000 in attendance could probably regurgitate any of his points today— they turned out to be bogus, as Apple eventually ditched the idea of using Next as the basis for its OS." The full Mac OS lineage story can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nextstep. Still a great read, in any case, and highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Phil Simon

    An excellent look at the rise and challenges of the Macintosh. To me, this book was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I remember some of the very applications that Levy describes. I remember the frustrations of first using a personal computer, but didn't know the backstory behind the development of the Mac. Rife with interesting parables from key players like Atkinson and Woz, this is a really interesting book that ages surprisingly well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    This was decent, although 20 years old. I like Steven Levy and this was read by him, which made it better. The afterword and other updates to the audiobook after Jobs death as well as a very recent roundtable discussion among some of the key players were nice additions to this edition. It was fun to go back in time to remember how many things we take for granted were really innovative back then.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Even though I've heard this story at least 100 times now, the author was still able to make it interesting and added a couple little tidbits that I hadn't heard before. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the creation of the Macintosh without all of the technical jargon.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben Galbraith

    I generally love Steven Levy's work and this is no exception.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Excellent book. Enjoyed it. (This review was created in July 2011, long after I read the book.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Øystein Nygård

    The history of THE most important computer of all time, by a person very close to the action but also with the distance from it to tell the story with all its aspects. Great book for those looking to get to know the innovations that defines almost all user interfaces that we see today; from windows and mac-computers, to the android and iphone smartphones. The only thing that I would have wanted was an updated version also including the lines drawn all the way to the UIs of today - that woul The history of THE most important computer of all time, by a person very close to the action but also with the distance from it to tell the story with all it´s aspects. Great book for those looking to get to know the innovations that defines almost all user interfaces that we see today; from windows and mac-computers, to the android and iphone smartphones. The only thing that I would have wanted was an updated version also including the lines drawn all the way to the UI´s of today - that would have made it perfect. I hope Steven Levy gets around to write that part of the story as well. Very much recommend reading this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This book is still an entertaining and informative listen (or read) even with the passage of a quarter century, which in tech years is a very, very long time. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, as much of what's covered here marks a sort of personal timeline and I assume many others who are now in their own fifth decade will have the same reaction. The Mac appeared when I was in college, and it was the first computer I worked on. Appreciated the updated chapters at the end of the Audio book, i This book is still an entertaining and informative listen (or read) even with the passage of a quarter century, which in tech years is a very, very long time. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, as much of what's covered here marks a sort of personal timeline and I assume many others who are now in their own fifth decade will have the same reaction. The Mac appeared when I was in college, and it was the first computer I worked on. Appreciated the updated chapters at the end of the Audio book, including one written after Steve Jobs' death.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    “Like almost every operation performed on the Mac, it was much harder to describe than perform.” Levy posits that the Mac’s success was owed to desktop publishing thanks to a 3rd party developed app called PageMaker that empowered writers to do what they could otherwise never afford to. “It would become clear that the toy was a tool.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Glen Engel-Cox

    I bought my first computer, a Macintosh, in 1984. I had wanted a computer for years, watching friends with envy at their Commodore 64s, Radio Shack Color Computers, and wonderful Apple IIs. When the Macintosh was introduced in 1984, I had to have it. It was the computer built “for the rest of us.” Never mind that I could have had everything I needed in a computer–word processing program, a few games–for $1,400 less, as soon as I sat down in front of the Macintosh, my life changed. The Macintosh, I bought my first computer, a Macintosh, in 1984. I had wanted a computer for years, watching friends with envy at their Commodore 64s, Radio Shack Color Computers, and wonderful Apple IIs. When the Macintosh was introduced in 1984, I had to have it. It was the computer built “for the rest of us.” Never mind that I could have had everything I needed in a computer–word processing program, a few games–for $1,400 less, as soon as I sat down in front of the Macintosh, my life changed. The Macintosh, and the entire graphical user interface concept, was truly “insanely great,” as Steven Levy quotes Steve Jobs, former chairman of Apple Computers. In his new book, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything, Levy reveals how and why the Macintosh had such an impact on the world. Although the Macintosh debuted in 1984, the seeds of its design had been planted as early as 1945. In a post-war statement, Vannevar Bush, then the director of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development, wrote an essay in which he contended that the next step of technology should be the way we collect and process information. Having seen the early use of computers in the war, Bush realized the awesome potential of high-speed information management, but also knew that progress would have to be made in the interface if ever information management could be useful. Levy follows the chain that links Bush to Alan Kay, who proposed the Dynabook, a forerunner of today’s PDA technology, to the developers at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center who developed the first graphical user interface (GUI). Nearby, a small team of dedicated programmers were working on the low-cost hardware that became teamed with the new GUI concept that became the Macintosh. Much has been written about the originality of the GUI concept, and more than one lawsuit has been fought over it. Levy attempts to go beyond the simple desktop metaphor and explain why it was the particular Macintosh implementation of the concept that changed the way people viewed computers. Xerox’s researchers were quite happy just to discover “how” to do things; it was Jef Raskin, Steve Jobs, Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfield, and the rest of the Macintosh team that were driven to give GUI to the people. The concept alone didn’t change the world of computing–it was the concept, in a reasonably priced computer, with a “killer application” that showed just how intuitive the concept could be that made things happen. Early Macintosh adoptees like myself thought it was the “What You See is What You Get” word processing and graphic programs that would make everyone see the light. It took Aldus’ PageMaker to break the publishing barrier for the “rest of us” to wake up to the possibilities. The Macintosh implementation had (and has) its problems, which Levy does not gloss over. The initial Macintosh, that computer that I bought in 1984, was released underpowered (128k RAM), without enough storage space (it only had a single floppy drive capable of holding 400k), and crippled in expandability (it was a “closed” system without expansion slots). Apple knew this upon its release, but “real programmers ship,” as Jobs is quoted saying, and the Macintosh had to be out the door in 1984. Apple quickly followed the 128k Macintosh with an upgrade to 512k and a 800k disk drive, then with new models including a Macintosh with slots. The author, Steven Levy, is perhaps best known in the field for his first book, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Levy’s position as an industry journalist kept him in the midst of the impact of the Macintosh, with access to Jobs, John Sculley, Jean Louis Gasse, Bill Gates, Aldus’ president Paul Brainerd, and almost every member of the Macintosh development team. This chronicle of the development of the Macintosh is part history, part evaluation of the hits and misses, the politics and relationships, of all these people. Every implementation of the GUI interface as seen in the Macintosh was deeply argued, as was its cost, hardware, and “look.” Levy shows you that a product such as Macintosh, which is usually attributed to a few people, is actually the culmination of the development team, and also their forerunners, including the Xerox team, and their competitors, most notably Microsoft and IBM. Today, the GUI concept is ever present. My original Macintosh (which I fondly call the MacAntique), after being upgraded once, has been passed to my niece and nephew (who, to be entirely truthful, play more with their father’s Mac II than with the antique), and I replaced it four years ago with an IBM-PC clone that runs today’s most popular GUI, Microsoft Windows (the defection was a result of economics–I couldn’t afford a new Macintosh). The last command-line holdout, UNIX, is battering down the hatches in defense against the migration of the GUI in the form of the WWW, Java, and its ilk. The Macintosh revolution is twelve, and shows no signs of dying anytime soon. For those who want to understand the early shots–computerdom’s equivalent’s of the Boston Tea Party and the shot that was heard round the world–Levy’s book is a good primer.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Not a particularly impressive one of these technological Silicon Valley deep dive profiles, and they're all usually pretty fawning and low information-content. It wasn't unpleasant to read, but I wouldn't really recommend it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    Dated now, but still a definitive historical record of the early days of Apple. Well written, as Levy’s work usually is, and eminently readable. Worth reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arik

    Nowhere near as comprehensive as I expected, and filled with minor errors and inconsistencies. Still, there were a couple of anecdotes that I hadn't heard previously, and it was a pleasant read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Hart

    A computer history for a fantastical world where Microsoft and Bill Gates didn't exist.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura-Leigh

    A quick read and thought I had read it but probably only read about it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erick Petersen

    Interesting story behind the creation of the Macintosh computer and the general history of Apple. What was fascinating was learning about the people who designed these computers. Many of them were musicians, poets, artists who happen to be computer engineers as well. I was particularly impressed with the man who initially launched the Mac project for Apple, Jef Raskin, who majored in Philosophy and Engineering, taught computer science classes and conducted the San Francisco Chamber Opera Society Interesting story behind the creation of the Macintosh computer and the general history of Apple. What was fascinating was learning about the people who designed these computers. Many of them were musicians, poets, artists who happen to be computer engineers as well. I was particularly impressed with the man who initially launched the Mac project for Apple, Jef Raskin, who majored in Philosophy and Engineering, taught computer science classes and conducted the San Francisco Chamber Opera Society and played various instruments, including the organ and the recorder. The book is quite a bit dated, which is especially apparent when the author drones on at the end about the new "Powerbook" line of laptops that are revolutionizing the personal computer industry. He cites the Clinton administration as one of the more prominent users of the Powerbooks. FYI they're now called MacBooks which is what I'm using to type this review. Insanely great? I don't know about that, but it's nice to know there are people out there who design technical products that see themselves as artists first with engineering subordinate to that.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tim Jin

    Any Mac aficionado will love this book. I am very aware of Steven Levy's writing. He is one of the best technology chronologist of our time. Even though I am not a Mac User, I really enjoyed listening about how Apple got started. There is a secret hidden gem about Apple and their stories. This company is like a blockbuster movie, lights, action, and drama. There is no other tech company out there like Apple that keep their consumers wanting more. I don't see multiple books about Intel, but there Any Mac aficionado will love this book. I am very aware of Steven Levy's writing. He is one of the best technology chronologist of our time. Even though I am not a Mac User, I really enjoyed listening about how Apple got started. There is a secret hidden gem about Apple and their stories. This company is like a blockbuster movie, lights, action, and drama. There is no other tech company out there like Apple that keep their consumers wanting more. I don't see multiple books about Intel, but there is always an new plot on Apple. I really wish that Audible will record more books from Steven Levy, like "Hackers." Please record this book. We are missing out one of the best tech titles in audio. I would pay 2 credits for Hackers without a doubt!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bart-Jan

    The tale of the original Macintosh is very interesting. This book, as it was written 10 years since the Macintosh entered the marketplace, covers a lot of details that have been skipped in more recent versions of Apple history. Therefore it is an interesting addition to the collection. Levy gives us insight in the struggles and the amazing accomplishments of the team, like overlapping windows. The audiobook version also covers an interview with Bill Atkinson and Joanna Hoffman on being part of t The tale of the original Macintosh is very interesting. This book, as it was written 10 years since the Macintosh entered the marketplace, covers a lot of details that have been skipped in more recent versions of Apple history. Therefore it is an interesting addition to the collection. Levy gives us insight in the struggles and the amazing accomplishments of the team, like overlapping windows. The audiobook version also covers an interview with Bill Atkinson and Joanna Hoffman on being part of the original Mac team and working with Steve Jobs in particular. If you're an avid reader of Apple books, this one should not be skipped. Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joe White

    Written in 94, the book might appear to be dated to some, but serves as an excellent perspective on the history of technological device development and the history of Apple. Even by 94, it assumed that windowed environments had become the standard operating interface for users and in the last chapter presaged devices such as the Iphone and Kinect. (It wasn't until 95, and Windows 95, that the majority of business machines were running a windowed interface. DOS held on for a long-long time i Written in 94, the book might appear to be dated to some, but serves as an excellent perspective on the history of technological device development and the history of Apple. Even by 94, it assumed that windowed environments had become the standard operating interface for users and in the last chapter presaged devices such as the Iphone and Kinect. (It wasn't until 95, and Windows 95, that the majority of business machines were running a windowed interface. DOS held on for a long-long time in the business and peasant pricing world.)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This book is provides a great overview of all the personalities, quirkiness, ideas, difficulties, and ultimately, as the title suggests, genius behind the development of the Macintosh computer. The narrative can be slow a bit at times but it's a fun read and one I would definitely recommend for anyone interested in business and/or computers. The divide between the engineers and those focused on the business side in the computer industry is certainly highlighted throughout the book but is by no m This book is provides a great overview of all the personalities, quirkiness, ideas, difficulties, and ultimately, as the title suggests, genius behind the development of the Macintosh computer. The narrative can be slow a bit at times but it's a fun read and one I would definitely recommend for anyone interested in business and/or computers. The divide between the engineers and those focused on the business side in the computer industry is certainly highlighted throughout the book but is by no means as central to the story as actual development of the products.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Rigolin F Lopes

    Levy goes about reporting his experiences covering the Mac developments sometimes mixing Apple history with his own. Things also get specific while describing key design decisions and killing apps like PageMaker. But the fun here comes from the great pirate within Jobs daring to design something insanely great; a hell of fun of course.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Moryl

    A good history of the initial development of the Mac. Published shortly after Jobs' return to Apple, so don't expect much of the more recent history, but it's a decent chronicle of the original Mac project.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hans Gerwitz

    Not Levy at his best. It's an enjoyable story despite the sloppy writing. Especially at the beginning when he tries to explain things, it's not that he oversimplifies, it's that he misunderstands his own subject. There are even errors that any editor should have caught, regardless of knowledge.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mark James

    Interesting telling of the first days of the Macintosh, lots of great anecdotes from the creators. I would love to read a book like this about NeXT.

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