Monday, December 18, 2006

iWoz + Lost in a Good Book

A couple more books that I've just finished reading ...

1. "iWoz" by Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith

This is an autobiography by Steve Wozniak, nicknamed "Woz".  For those
who don't know, he is one of the Two Steves that founded Apple Computer
(the other being Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple in 1997 and has been
CEO ever since).

For someone who has been into computers for over 20 years, and an Apple
fan, I found it a very interesting read.  Wozniak has a relaxed, almost
conversational style (probably aided by the co-author).  Even engineers,
like, say "like" a lot :)

It's a very candid book, with the author's primary motivation being to
set the record straight regarding his life, in particular his time at
Apple.  While it's clear that he is normally very shy and gentle by
nature, he developed incredible self-belief and confidence from his
engineering work.  There's a lot of detail for geeks, but it's not over-
done.  You can skim over it, but make sure you don't miss all the
practical jokes he's pulled.  He started early and some of the pranks
are highly elaborate.

He doesn't just tell you what happened, but he also offers some of his
personal philosophy.  For example, he tells us that "the secret to life
... is to find a way to be happy and satisfied with your life and also
to make other people happy and satisfied with their lives" (Chapter 5).
The book concludes with some "Rules to Live By".  But the style is not
preachy, rather he just tries to give an honest and truthful account of
his life, and how he tries to live it.

2. "Lost in a Good Book" by Jasper Fforde

This is the second book in the "Thursday Next" Series, and the sequel
to "The Eyre Affair".  It continues the style established in the first

In the process of rescuing Jane Eyre our Heroine, Thursday Next,
has unfortunately made a lot of enemies.  In this book, they each try
to exact revenge in their own separate way.  For example, Goliath
Corporation has conspired with a corrupt ChronoGuard agent to go back
into time to "eradicate" Thursday's husband, and is blackmailing her
in return for Goliath's Jack Schitt (no kidding).  In addition to
trying to get her husband back, Thursday becomes apprenticed to Miss
Havisham from "Great Expectations", who teaches her a new way to
transport herself through literature.  And somehow she manages to find
time to help save the world from being turned into pink slime.

Another enjoyable read, just as imaginative as the first book in the
series.  Perhaps a touch of the novelty has worn off for me, so I
didn't think it was quite as good as "The Eyre Affair".  Amazon readers
have given it an average rating of 4.5 (out of 5), while the first book
in the series has an average of 4.  Personally I'd swap the ratings,
but they're both very good books.