I, Woz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: Getting to the Core of Apple's Inventor

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Headline, May 9, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 241 pages
I, WOZ offers readers a unique glimpse into the offbeat and brilliant but ethical mind that conceived the Macintosh. After 25 years avoiding the public eye, Steve Wozniak reveals the full story of the Apple computer, from its conception to his views on the iconic cult status it has achieved today. In June 1975 Steve's curiosity and determination inspired him to build a computer, the first Apple. Six months later, he sold the machine, and for the self-professed 'engineer's engineer', success was imminent. But this story is full of life lessons, critical decisions, huge triumphs and big mistakes. Steve speaks also of his childhood, phone hacking pranks, working at Hewlett-Packard, the life-changing plane crash and teaching.

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Today marks the end of the second book I've ever read in my life. Well, don’t count school textbooks – I didn’t read them much either! I’m not a frequent reader - I might’ve never read any of those hyped fictional stories. But these books about visionaries who ‘put a ding in the universe’ and changed the world forever were real page-turners. I simply couldn’t keep up my vow of reading-celibacy!
After living a novel with Steve Jobs in his official biography (my debut read), reading iWoz felt no less than a novel either - only these books are big time real-life novels! And then Woz himself speaking of his life, justifying and correcting all those wrongs spread about his life and Apple. “Extreme honesty. Extreme ethics, really. That’s the biggest thing he (my dad) taught me. He used to tell me it was worse to lie about doing something bad under oath than it was to actually do something bad, even like murdering someone. That really sunk in. I never lie, even to this day. Not even a little” he says.
This book is unique in its own way, as Woz speaks for himself throughout the book on his own and not through an author writing a biography about him. I mean what can be more genuine, right?
We can read about Jobs and his life everywhere. There are gazillions of documentaries about him on YouTube, articles around the web, books and whatnot. But what we may have never noticed is the story of this introvert genius behind the first digital bluebox, the revolution of the PC world and the universal remote control. If it weren't for him, Jobs would've never found Apple. He really was the genius behind Apple I and Apple II computers that people now buy for thousands of dollars in auctions and see them at the museums.
In fact, I myself started reading this book the day after I met him in February this year. I thought, “If that one day could have so great an influence on me, how charismatic will his biography be?” And it really was! It made me think broadly about my future and made me reconsider my career plans. Of course, this is not the only reason but Woz happening to me this year has really changed things around.
Sure, the book's got all the engineering material about the things he's worked on and I might’ve not understood half of those things. But the justifying of things like how Apple never started in a garage but only Hewlett-Packard did, how Woz never left Apple and is on the payroll to this day and how he started Cloud 9 because he just loved working with a small team to invent something new and not because of the things he wasn't happy about at Apple, how Jobs was never fired from his own company but he quit because of some "power struggle with the board", how iMac and iPod were already in the design phase when Jobs got back to Apple as an advisor in 1995. The lessons his father taught him about how “engineering is the highest level of importance you could reach in the world, that someone who could make electrical devices that do something good for people takes society to a new level” give you food for thought. The stories about his commitment to things and relationships all tell a lifetime of values and ethics. Solid ethics. And then the outro of the book containing the summary of the things and the lessons that he says he learnt, conveying them to all the people out there who want to change the world for the better with their own little invention. These stories, even to their slightest details, just blew me off. They're educational, motivating, surprising, and I could just continue with a long list of adjectives! It’s a legend’s life in words.
I’d never believed the fact that reading books could change lives so much until now. If such books can have an influence on me, I’m sure they can change your lives too. Inspire you!
To end it with a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Things are facts or things are lies.”
“Humans learn better than rats. Only the rats learn it quicker.”
“It’s funny how when you’re
 

About the author (2013)

Steve Wozniak was the sole designer of the Apple I and Apple II. After being awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1985, he won the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment for 'single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade-school students and their teachers'. He now runs his own company and has his own website www.woz.org.

Gina Smith, who helped Steve write his book, is the former Technology Correspondent for ABC News and an award-winning journalist.

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