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Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I invented the personal computer, co-founded Apple, and had fun doing it

W.W. Norton,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How Steve Wozniak started Apple, invented the personal computer and played a few pranks along the way.

Editorial Rating



This honest memoir of Apple innovator Steve Wozniak's life runs from a childhood spent discovering how things work to his breakthrough: building the first affordable computer with a keyboard and monitor. Written in an unconventional, first-person style, this autobiography is chatty, and sounds almost childlike. "Woz" tells stories of pranks he played, people who influenced him and the inventions he created. The first half of the book covers his life before Apple, and the second half tells of Apple’s birth as a company, and his life during and after Apple. getAbstract recommends this personal visit with Woz to those with an interest in the history of technology and, in particular, the Apple-seed that gave birth to the Mac.


Born to Be an Engineer

Steve Wozniak credits his father, Jerry, an engineer who held a secretive job at Lockheed's missile program, with teaching him about electronics when he was as young as four. One of Steve's earliest memories is a weekend visit to his father's office where Jerry let him play with electronic parts. He loved watching his father build things and make them work. Because of his father's work, Wozniak frequently came across components at home. He asked many questions about these resistors, transistors and the like, eager to know how they worked. His father took the time to teach him about atoms, protons, neutrons and electrons. He guided Steve as the boy built a crystal radio at age six, but he didn't do the work for him. Wozniak learned about the importance of honesty and ethics from his dad, while concluding that being a genuine engineer was the most important thing a person could do. It meant helping others by developing electronic devices that improved their lives. From his mother, Margaret, he inherited a sense of humor and the desire to have fun.

Wozniak grew up in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the area that came to be known as Silicon Valley. At age ...

About the Authors

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, designed the Apple I and II, and was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000. Gina Smith, an award-winning journalist, wrote The Genomics Age: How DNA Technology Is Transforming the Way We Live and Who We Are.

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    R. A. 6 years ago
    I'e seen on TV interviews to Steve Wozniack. He's funny and easygoing. He seems radically the opposite Mr Jobs' personality. <br> <br>Wozniack's enthusiasm is contagious and cheerful. <br> <br>After Jobs early pass away I've read too much Apple and its founders. Especially about Steve. <br> <br>This book's my first one on iWoz. <br>This summary's is a wisdom in a nutshell. <br> <br>I must do memoir from and simple but extraordinary man.