Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Book Review: The Perfect Thing

The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness by Steve Levy is a witty look at how the iPod has infiltrated our culture. In full disclosure, I have to admit that I have never owned an iPod and readily make fun of the people who do.

In his book, Levy looks at the development, the various generations, and all of the other peripherals (iTunes, iPhone etc) of the iPod phenomenon. Due to his journalistic status, he was able to gain some relatively difficult interviews that increased the authenticity of his book. He interviewed Steve Jobs as well as a number of other developers and marketing executives to gain their take on the explosion of the iPod and the digital music ‘revolution’.

Most interestingly, Levy explored the way that the iPod has enjoyed an almost cult-like following – even more so than other apple products. He explained how the iPod, iTunes, Podcast, and other terms specific to Apple’s product have become ubiquitous in our vocabulary.
The thing that I loved most about his book was how funny it was. As an example of some of the humor that Levy interjects into his book, to explanation to the failure of Microsoft’s Zune, Levy says that Microsoft was able to “develop a product that was more difficult to use and had less features – two years later than the first iPod”. Love it!

Overall, I give this book 4 (out of 5) Shakespeare heads. It is definitely a good addition to your “to read” list – even for us iPod cynics out there.