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

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Steven Levy

Back in the early 1980s, word spread about an inviting little personal computer that used something called a mouse and smiled at you when you turned it on. Steven Levy relates his first encounter with the pre-released Mac and goes on to chronicle the … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Steven Levy
Publisher: Viking Adult
1 review about Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh,...

A tale of passion properly channeled

  • Feb 22, 2002
To many, Steve Jobs is a hero and to others he is the computer equivalent of Simon Legree. Amazingly, there are many people who view him both ways. Without question, his greatest achievement was the relentless, passionate pursuit of the development of the Macintosh. At a time when command line interaction was the norm, it took a tremendous act of courage and foresight to create a computer with a GUI interface. Many computer users were dubious about the value of running a computer by points and clicks. I was a college professor at the time it came out and one of the members of the combined math and computer science departments questioned the value of a GUI interface, wondering why anyone would want to use it.
Of course, the new paradigm of pointing and clicking opened up the computer to many users that otherwise would not have gotten involved. This is the story of the tyrannical, yet effective manner in which Jobs drove his team to build a revolutionary product. While it is sometimes a bit soapy in the praise for Apple as a darling of a company, the author does stay on target and delivers a fascinating tale. Hopefully, managers will not take his actions as a blueprint for their management style, as there are few people who could pull off what Jobs did without destroying everything else. Furthermore, let us not forget that he was ousted from Apple, an event that was not without justification.
This is more a tale of the relentless pursuit of an ideal than a story of how a computer was created. It is another demonstration of the adage that the difference between genius and insanity is measured more by the end result than it is by the actions in getting there.

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