I’ll admit, I’m not typically into biographies and haven’t even finished Steve Jobs. I prefer the history of the early days of Apple instead..and in case you are still picking yourself off the floor that I haven’t finished Isaacson’s book about Steve. The reason is I already know Steve. And while I will probably pick up a couple of interesting factoids, Steve was my inspiration, my hero-like figure, and I have a picture of him developed over 20 years, so I don’t want some erroneous statement to change my view.
Now Jony’s biography, on the other hand, is one I thought I’d eventually read. I didn’t pre-order it when it was first announced, but thought it might be interesting. I’ve always liked Jony and felt he provided Apple the emotion behind the products once Steve returned to Apple. I decided to do the hardcopy instead of the ebook, and thank goodness I did, because it’s a keeper.
I am a fan of Leander and his book The Cult of Mac is one of my all time favorites. He’s been close to Apple for decades and someone who I view as an authority on Apple (as opposed to Isaacson who is a simply a historian-type writer).
Once I got through Jony’s early days and the influences on his life, the book changed into a page turner for me. Apple knows how to make people love their products, feel strong passion, akin to obsession, and view their products as just cool. It is Jony and his design team who causes us to connect with their machines. You’d think they were puppies or kittens, the way we feel about them- like either extensions of ourselves or an object we feel a very strong affection for…some liken this strong affection to almost an erotic attraction (even Jony believes a computer can be sexy). Regardless of how I describe it, Jony and the Industrial Design Group are the ones who create the magic to a piece of machinery making them personal.
The aspect I found fascinating about Leander’s account of the master innovator is he takes us behind the scenes of most of the iconic products Apple has produced. Apple’s we know- the iMacs (starting with Bondi Blue iMac G-3), iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Leander does an excellent job of helping the reader understand how Apple is design driven. The way we interact with the machines, as well as how it looks and functions is what starts the “inventing a new product” process, instead of the engineers and number crunchers determining a new product.
I don’t normally do many book reviews, but the fans of Apple will love Leander’s book about Jony.