x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Book review: Retelling the story of Apple

Luke Dormehl's book about Apple focuses on how the countercultural revolution of the 1960s imbued the computer firm with a unique identity.

The Apple Revolution

Luke Dormehl

Random House

British writer Luke Dormehl lays out his mission statement in the preface to his new book about computer giant Apple.

This book is most definitely not a biography of Steve Jobs, the author insists, but is instead a thesis on how the countercultural revolution of the 1960s imbued the firm with a unique identity.

So, one would hope then that Dormehl would posit the question, "Why was the hippie idealism espoused by Jobs rapidly ditched in favour of mercenary tendencies?"

In reality, the book is yet another retelling of the creation of Apple, and as such is barely different from the many Jobs biographies that were published after his death last year.

In fact, it seems the only attempt the author makes to maintain his argumentative thread is by shoehorning in seemingly irrelevant quotes from various doyens of the counterculture - such as Timothy Leary and Hunter S Thompson - at the beginning of each chapter. Nevertheless, this is a readable account of the birth of home computers. Yet one turns the last page unconvinced by Dormehl's contention that Apple is intrinsically different from other big corporations.