The creation of the Mac in 1984 catapulted America into the digital millennium, captured a fanatic cult audience, and transformed the computer industry into an unprecedented mix of technology, economics, and show business. Now veteran technology writer and Newsweek senior editor Steven Levy zooms in on the great machine and the fortunes of the unique company responsible for its evolution. Loaded with anecdote and insight, and peppered with sharp commentary, Insanely Great is the definitive book on the most important computer ever made. It is a must-have for anyone curious about how we got to the interactive age.
This sensible and entertaining book outlines ``how technology, serendipity, passion, and magic combined to create . . . the most important consumer product in the last half of the twentieth century: the Macintosh computer.'' Levy ( Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution ) describes the travails that beset Apple, the company run by Steven Jobs that created the Mac--``dippy new-age culture,'' a ``mission from God'' mentality and a Silicon Valley image. ``What's the difference between Apple and Boy Scouts?'' he queries, reviving a long-running joke. Answer: ``The Boy Scouts have adult supervision.'' And Levy's view of Jobs himself seems reasonable: ``a con man,'' and ``a slick marketer'' whose impulsive management style and overbearing ego ``drove people crazy.'' As the author recounts, in 1985 Apple's directors forced Jobs out; he left Apple while creating a new comuter company, Next. ``It made no dent in the universe,'' Levy reports. John Sculley replaced Jobs, but he too was relieved of his position as CEO in 1993, when Apple's directors judged him ``too much a visionary.'' This solid work adroitly covers the information age.