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The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness Kindle Edition
Besides being one of the most successful consumer products in decades, the iPod has changed our behavior and even our society. It has transformed Apple from a computer company into a consumer electronics giant. It has remolded the music business, altering not only the means of distribution but even the ways in which people enjoy and think about music. Its ubiquity and its universally acknowledged coolness have made it a symbol for the digital age itself, with commentators remarking on "the iPod generation." Now the iPod is beginning to transform the broadcast industry, too, as podcasting becomes a way to access radio and television programming. Meanwhile millions of Podheads obsess about their gizmo, reveling in the personal soundtrack it offers them, basking in the social cachet it lends them, even wondering whether the device itself has its own musical preferences.
Steven Levy, the chief technology correspondent for Newsweek magazine and a longtime Apple watcher, is the ideal writer to tell the iPod's tale. He has had access to all the key players in the iPod story, including Steve Jobs, Apple's charismatic cofounder and CEO, whom Levy has known for over twenty years. Detailing for the first time the complete story of the creation of the iPod, Levy explains why Apple succeeded brilliantly with its version of the MP3 player when other companies didn't get it right, and how Jobs was able to convince the bosses at the big record labels to license their music for Apple's groundbreaking iTunes Store. (We even learn why the iPod is white.) Besides his inside view of Apple, Levy draws on his experiences covering Napster and attending Supreme Court arguments on copyright (as well as his own travels on the iPod's click wheel) to address all of the fascinating issues -- technical, legal, social, and musical -- that the iPod raises.
Borrowing one of the definitive qualities of the iPod itself, The Perfect Thing shuffles the book format. Each chapter of this book was written to stand on its own, a deeply researched, wittily observed take on a different aspect of the iPod. The sequence of the chapters in the book has been shuffled in different copies, with only the opening and concluding sections excepted. "Shuffle" is a hallmark of the digital age -- and The Perfect Thing, via sharp, insightful reporting, is the perfect guide to the deceptively diminutive gadget embodying our era.
-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"More than a tale about the birth of the iPod, this entertaining book is a twelve-horn hallelujah chorus celebrating how this 'perfect thing' is propelling music from the past into this century and beyond. Add it to your Readlist."
-- Kevin Kelly, former executive editor, Wired
"Wonderful....The Perfect Thing is a thoroughgoing treatment of the iPod from many different perspectives -- social, economic, technical, psychological -- packed with insights from one of the tech world's most astute observers."
-- Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
"Loads of fun, jammed with entertaining connections, unexpected riffs, and endless stuff you've never heard of before."
-- Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly
About the Author
- ASIN : B000MGATVC
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (October 23, 2006)
- Publication date : October 23, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 780 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 304 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0743285220
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,372,937 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Enter The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness. This is a book about one thing and its cultural impact: the iPod. While the iPhone has arguably made its predecessor obsolete, Levy's book is a compelling trip down memory lane and a fascinating examination of Apple's first blockbuster, non-computer product.
While caught up in the iPod craze, I somehow missed interesting things Levy calls out, like the fact that The Pope actually used one. Levy is an excellent writer and I'll be buying his other books after this posts. The Perfect thing allows us, in retrospect, to appreciate Apple's truly game-changing product and its remarkable run. Buy it.
I chose to read this book not only because of how amazed I am at how people (including my teenaged kids) love their iPods so much, but also because I'm curious about the future of music as we know it, the disappearance of the CD and along with it the album cover and lyric booklet, and the explosion of songs available for purchase through the iTunes store.
The writing in this book is terrific--informative and provocative. I highly recommend it!
For the record, my iPod nano was green, survived a fall, and two hours in a washing machine, was a high point in what was a dark few years in my life, and I can't seem to find it anymore. I love my iPhone 7, and the iPad 2 I'm typing this on, but I do miss that tiny, perfect thing.
I did not expect to laugh out loud every few minutes, but I did. Steven Levy is a great writer - his knowledge of Apple combined with his knowledge of popular music makes the book great fun to read. Levy is simply an excellent writer, writing about an excellent product.
As a bonus, this is a valuable book to read if you design products of any kind, because it provides insights into how exceptional products are created - i.e., fanatical attention to detail, and an inner drive to make not just a good product, but a great one.
If you like music and technology, I guarantee you will enjoy this book. Of course, I own a couple of iPods, so I am biased. If you own a Zune, you may disagree. But even Zune owners might find it interesting to see how great products are designed.
But before I'd even read this book -- and strictly based on its Wall Street Journal review -- I ordered a box of copies and sent 'em to my clients, which are mostly radio stations...because radio stations are in iPod's cross-hairs.
If you read Levy's stuff in Newsweek, you already know that THIS GUY CAN WRITE. And he's done something downright poetic, by offering the chapters "on shuffle." They're in different order in different copies of the book...and can be read in any order.
My two favorite chapters are the one ABOUT shuffle (which, if you own an iPod, WILL deliver you an "oh wow" moment); and the chapter recalling how Walkman was received in its day.
HIGHLY recommended reading.
It is interesting also because it was written before the IPhone or I-touch was even out.
Steve levy obviously had some great connections to put together this story. Run and interesting read.