I’ve been meaning to do a quick review on iWoz for a while now, having read the book back in December last year.

iWoz is the autobiography of Steve “Woz” Wozniak. For those who don’t know who this is, Woz created the Apple I computer, and founded Apple Computer (along with Steve Jobs).

Now, I’m a big fan of Apple as you know. And everyone loves Woz. So I really wanted to like this book. But the truth be told, the book was a painful read.

First, Woz may be a genius when it comes to electronics. But he is no genius when it comes to writing. Apparently the book was co-authored by a writer named Gina Smith, who you would assume cleaned it up to make it more readable. So I shudder to think at how bad it was originally. At least it makes you realise that we really all can’t be good at everything.

If you can get past the bad writing style, the next hurdle is Woz himself. My mum would put it this way: “Woz is a genius… Just ask him”. Woz seems to be void of humility – and though he does admit to mistakes where he loses money, it is still a difficult read with all the constant pats on the back. You get the feeling that Woz is taking credit for everything that has ever been created at times, and it is really a turn-off.

Further, it is clear that Woz was socially awkward as a boy (and may still be so). His sense of humour is, well, just not funny. Yes, it is mildly funny to make a TV jammer that messes up the TV of a group of students while they are watching it. The first time. Maybe even the second time. But if you continue to do it every night for weeks on end until all the students stop watching TV, it isn’t funny.

Now, part of this may be a cultural thing. I mean, in Australia, we tend to expect a certain amount of humility from geniuses. I suspect the English do too. If you compare the reviews of this book at amazon.co.uk with amazon.com, you’ll see the American’s don’t seem phased by Woz being such a fan of himself, while the English do. So maybe that is part of the problem.

Anyway, end result: not a bad book, but don’t expect a real page turner.

“iWoz” Book Review

2 thoughts on ““iWoz” Book Review

  • June 21, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    I’m relieved to have found this review (and others like it).

    I’m pretty interested in this style of book – I ripped through ‘iCON’, “The rise and fall of Commodore” plus other business biographies not so closely related such as Game Over, The First Quarter and even Golden Arches. I love reading a history I can relate to…

    ..except this one. I suffered through one and a half chapters, then started flicking ahead to see if I could find a page where Woz didn’t explain some mundane circumstance and then remind you that he is an awesome genius. Where he makes it clear that even if you also consider yourself fairly smart, and if you were also doing things a few years ahead of your peers, that he was ‘more smarter’ and ‘more chead’ than you were and you probably can’t grasp the awesome-ness of his work so he’ll explain it again 3 pages later. (gasp for air..)

    I don’t know if I’ll read on. I respect Woz for who he is and what he has done but this book is an embarrasment. I’m just glad to know he didn’t really write it.

  • July 14, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Thank you for writing this review. I felt almost sacreligious for hating the book so much. I got it from the library yesterday and it’s just awful! He is cocky and a terrible writer. Some people posted good reviews!

    I love Apple, but I think it’s so ironic that the Steves that created it both have terrible people skills.

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