Related link: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/revolution/index.html
I’ve had Andy Hertzfeld’s Revolution in the Valley sitting around the house for a couple of weeks. One of the O’Reilly people slipped it in with some other review copies, and I was excited to get it even though I didn’t have time to look at it right away.
The book is beautiful. It could be in sanskrit and still be beautiful: it’s a dense hardcover, that sort that you could really use to hurt someone, and its first and last several pages are copies from design notebooks from very, very early Mac prototypes: the time before even the Finder existed. The middle is chock-a-block full of photos: Wozniak’s prototyped circuit boards, office pics, goofy photos of ultra-geek Bill Gates. Everything looks nice, and just the right amount of nice: not too designy like Wired.
The book puts me to sleep though, which might be my fault for reading it before I go to sleep. I’m not a big enough Mac nut to care about the personalities behind it (just like I don’t read movie reviews or actor gossip). For me, it’s like watching other people’s vacation movies or office stories. I’m not in on the joke, or I don’t value the same things.
Andy’s stories, which you can also find on Folklore.org (the proto-version of the book), are short and targeted, and although they are in chronological order, they don’t really seem to connect with each other. To me they seem like little islands in an unmapped sea. If you know the stories already, and how everything fits in, you probably will like the stories more than I do, but Andy didn’t give me much reason to care about these people more than I did already.
I’m not telling you not to buy this book, but you can decide how full of crap you think I am and go from there. It’s a great book if you like the subject matter: I’m just not that into it.