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May 30, 2006

Book Preview: iWoz


Gina Smith, the co-author of the upcoming autobiography called iWoz, provided me with a copy so that I could read it and provide a blurb. The book is slated for shipping in November, 2006, but there’s nothing wrong with a little pre-release publicity. After all, it will probably be out BV (Before Vista), and everyone has heard of Vista already.

First, here’s the blurb that I provided Gina:

Every engineer—and certainly every engineering student—should read this book. It is about the thrill of invention, the process of making the world a better place, and the purity of entrepreneurship. I, Woz is the personal computer generation’s version of The Soul of a New Machine. It is, in a nutshell, the engineer’s manifesto. I hope that the so-called “innovation experts” and MBAs choke when they read it.

I didn’t work directly with Woz in my tours of duty at Apple, so much of the material was new—and fascinating—to me. I loved the book because it isn’t the typical theoretical tome written by an expert or consultant (i.e., someone who can’t do but can write).

Instead, the book takes you inside the mind of someone who was truly instrumental in one of the great revolutions of our time. After reading it, I was even more proud of having worked for Apple. Also, I swear that Woz doesn’t use the word “strategic” once in the book—how many business books can you say that about?

In particular, if you’re an entrepreneur, the first time some expert tells you that you need to conduct market research, run your design past focus groups, and set up offshore development to India or Russia, you should give him this book. For your enjoyment, here’s a list of the top ten things that I learned by reading I, Woz.

  1. Woz is now, and always has been, an Apple employee.
  2. In the sixth grade Woz scammed gubernatorial candidate Richard Nixon with a certificate from the school’s ham radio club. The certificate was made with crayons just before the ceremony, and Woz was the only “member” of the club.
  3. The Apple IPO made the most millionaires in one single day in history up to that point in time.
  4. Woz and Jobs worked as Alice in Wonderland characters at shopping mall in San Jose.
  5. Woz didn’t return to the University of Colorado after his first year because he ran up too much computer timesharing costs.
  6. Woz tried to call the Pope by impersonating Dr. Henry Kissinger. He almost got through except that the Vatican called the real Dr. Kissinger to verify the call.
  7. Woz and Jobs got robbed of a blue box at gunpoint in Sunnyvale.
  8. The statement that convinced Woz to leave HP to start Apple (uttered by Allen Baum) was, “You can be an engineer and become a manager and get rich, or you can be an engineer and stay an engineer and get rich.”
  9. Woz lost approximately $12 million in each of the two US Festivals that he put on.
  10. Woz taught computer technology to elementary school students for ten years.

The book ends with Woz’s thoughts on being a great engineer:

  1. Don’t waver.
  2. See things in gray-scale.
  3. Work alone.
  4. Trust your instincts.

When is the last time your manager told you to work like this?

Anyone interested in engineering, Apple, personal computers, technology, and entrepreneurship should read this book.You’ll find it compelling because it is so unlike most books about innovation and entrepreneurship. As I said, it’s the engineer’s manifesto.

You can pre-order one by clicking here.


Plonk. Onto my wishlist. One for the g/f to buy me I reckon ;P

Mr. K, do you purposely write blogs at 12am so that I get derailed from my studies? =)
thanks for the book review!



What can I say? It was 8 am or so here in Norway!


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