The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness

The Perfect Thing How the iPod Shuffles Commerce Culture and Coolness On October Apple Computer a company known for its chic cutting edge technology if not necessarily for its dominant market share launched a product with an enticing promise You can carry an

  • Title: The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness
  • Author: Steven Levy Anthony Rapp
  • ISBN: 9780743561259
  • Page: 121
  • Format: Audiobook
  • On October 23, 2001, Apple Computer, a company known for its chic, cutting edge technology if not necessarily for its dominant market share launched a product with an enticing promise You can carry an entire music collection in your pocket It was called the iPod What happened next exceeded the company s wildest dreams Over 50 million people have inserted the deviOn October 23, 2001, Apple Computer, a company known for its chic, cutting edge technology if not necessarily for its dominant market share launched a product with an enticing promise You can carry an entire music collection in your pocket It was called the iPod What happened next exceeded the company s wildest dreams Over 50 million people have inserted the device s distinctive white buds into their ears, and the iPod has become a global obsession The Perfect Thing is the definitive account, from design and marketing to startling impact, of Apple s iPod, the signature device of our young century 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.

    One thought on “The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness”

    1. Somewhat dated but may still be worth reading if you care about the design process behind the iPod. Interesting discussion about the randomness of "shuffle".

    2. If I have one complaint about the Steve Jobs' biography from Walter Isaacson, it's that certain topics could be not covered in sufficient depth. I understand why; the book was about the life and times of one of the most influential people in the last fifty years. Yet, while reading it, I couldn't help but want to know more about many things, not the least of which was the iPod.Enter The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness by Steven Levy. This is a book about one [...]

    3. TITLE: The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: Part of my reading challenge covering the category, Read a book about technology. HOW READ: Ebook purchased on amazonREVIEW: I have never been a huge Apple fan. Not a hater, but not a fanatic. The other of this book is a fanatic, so the book is not particularly impartial. While I could have done without the level of rhapsody, he did go on and on at times, overall I liked this book. I learned a [...]

    4. This hunk of plastic changed industriesI've been obsessed about the iPod. It's just an MP3 player, so why am I so smitten by it by my own 3rd Gen iPod nano. This book was made to satisfy that question, going into the history of how it's made, plus its impact on the world. Plus it's nice to see the occasional small snippet of that man Steve Jobs. Great read if you're interested in this particular bit of Apple history, written shortly before the iPhone changed everything, again.For the record, my [...]

    5. It’s a fanboy’s paen to a favorite gadget.This book gives a good history of the iPod and a description of its cultural significance. What really annoyed me about the book is that it seems to take the perspective that Apple and more specifically Steve Jobs can do no wrong. Any mistakes that must be admitted are at most minor, charming quirks. The fanboy tone really got on my nerves.As always, Steven Levy does a wonderful job of describing what it was like to actually be one of those who devel [...]

    6. Levy describes what he sees as the huge success and impact of the iPod not only as a personal entertainment device but as a force that has changed how we not only consume media but even create it. He describes the creation of the iPod as a saving angel for a struggling Apple when it began to design the product in the late 90s. He marks Apple's success as a combination of hard work nailing exactly the right mix of features and craftsmanship, artistic design, the no-compromise leadership of Steve [...]

    7. This is supposedly a book about the iPod and the how and why of Apple's success with it, but really it's just a book about how much Steven Levy loves his iPod, Apple Computer and Steve Jobs. (He loves them all a whole lot.) He spends most of his time on the iPod and Apple and the genius of Steve Jobs, but he also goes into the history of the mp3 player and the Walkman and some of the culture surrounding the iPod (assessing your co-workers personality via their iTunes library!) Best of all, worri [...]

    8. This book was very hit and miss for me. Two things became clear very quickly: Steven Levy was smitten at the first click of his iPod, and he's very thorough in his reporting. Both of those work against him at times. I found the chapters about identity and shuffling the most insightful, but elsewhere, there was so much history and so many names packed into chapters that it was difficult to keep everything straight.Also, for what it's worth, I don't think that "shuffling" the chapters (books were [...]

    9. - from the jacket: "October 23, 2001, Apple Computer, a company known for its chic, cutting-edge technology (if not for its dominant market share) launched a new product with an enticing promise: You can carry an entire music collection in your pocket. It was called the iPod. What happened next exceeded the company's wildest dreams. Over 50 million iPods have been sold in 5 short years. In fact, it is the fastest selling product in history. An excellent overview of the history of the iPod, how i [...]

    10. The Perfect Thing covers the story of the Ipod as it was developed and released to the public. It looks not only at the business and the technology but also the sociological effects of the Ipod and what it did to shape culture in the United States. It is a very well written book that the reader can move through easily. I agree with the other reviews that this is a light and fun read with not a ton of substance but just enough to learn something new if you are not familiar with how the Ipod was d [...]

    11. Now that iPod's popularity has been surpassed by the next big thing (again an Apple product), it is interesting to read this book written at its heyday. Levy chronicles the development of the iPod- showing how many existing technologies came together at the right time to create a beloved product. Levy wrote this book with "stand-alone" chapters, which do not need to be read in order. While this would be great for a professor who wants to pick and choose sections for a class curriculum, the requi [...]

    12. I loved this book. I don't own an iPod, but I do own 5 other MP3 players and am nuts about digital music. But I've always thought and still do think the iPod is the most creative, beautiful digital music player invented. The author traces the origins of the iPod, but more interestingly, writes about the impact of the iPod on the way we listen to music, on the way music is consumed as well as the "hipness" of this little revolutionary device.

    13. I picked up this book ahead of Jobs biography as I had just finished Steven Levy's "In the Plex" which is an exceptional effort by the writer. However, this book was bit of a let down and perhaps could ve been finished by wasting just half the rain forests by saving the paper. Nonetheless its a good account of the phenomenal rise of iPods. If you could read with skipping pages, it's a good read. If you intend to read it from cover to cover, it ll be hard to finish.

    14. When Alison loaned my this book, she said, "You shouldn't read this because it's [work VP's] new favorite book; you should read it because you love your iPod." And she was right.I started using the shuffle function on my iPod more after reading this book, because of the author's fascination with it and the concept of randomization in general. I think it's made me enjoy my iPod even more, which is an unusual outcome from reading a book.

    15. Steven Levy starts The Perfect Thing with iPod history, probably the first take on iPod's story which gives credit to actual group of people responsible for iPod instead of giving an over-credit to Jobs as many literatures do. Then he continues on to how iPod goes through its business saga, came to define owners personality, and lastly shape a new culture. The Perfect shines on the last two account.

    16. This book covers the iPod from just about every angle. How it was made, how people responded to it, where it fits in the history of portable music players, why it’s “cool”.The most surprising thing to me is how long ago the pre-smartphone world feels. The book was published in 2006 (1 year before the iPhone), but it feels like the stone age when Levy gushes about how small and light the iPod is!An Interesting read :)

    17. Who would have thought it possible to write a "page-turner" about the iPod? Picked it up to read on a break and had to check it out to finish it. Makes technology understandable to someone who has a very passing acquaintance with it. Very much a sociological study as well, it explains how the "coolness factor" comes into play when Jobs runs Apple and why this little piece of tech has become such a cultural icon.

    18. Despite the subtitle, this book doesn't so much study "how the iPod shuffles commerce, et al", but rather reiterate the claim over and overd over. Pure Macfan brain candy that won't really convince the unconverted or tell adherents anything they don't already believe, a few interesting glimpses into the iPod's design notwithstanding.

    19. Recently I got really curious about the business decisions behind the creation of the iPod, so I picked up "The Perfect Thing." Only about a chapter or two discussed the decisions that went into making the iPod the rest is really an analysis and description of the cultural impact of the iPod.

    20. anybody who builds something for a living should read this. It's a must-read for my team. No-one seems to say that Steve Jobs is easy to work for, but if you measure the man by the caliber of his products then he's not at the bottom of the list (this, from my exalted position!)

    21. "Steven brings his skills to the story and impact of the iPod. He gives credit to Jeff Robins, Tony Fadell, Paul Mercer and others who deserve it, so I especially like it. But his observations on coolness, design and usage are equally insightful."

    22. This book reveals all the mystery behind the phenomenal iPod. Quite an eye opener. However, the fun of reading this book is spoilt by the all too obvious Steven Levy's admiration to the Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs. Not smooth.

    23. I am really enjoying this book, which tells the story of the iPod, from its creation to its widespread impact on our lives. In particular, I'm fascinated by the creation process, about the ideas and technologies and personalities that brought this cool device into the world.

    24. Incredibly fascinating history of the genesis, development, and marketing of the iPod. You might not agree with all of Levy's assertions about the importance of the ubiquitous MP3 player, but you have to give him credit to making its story cool.

    25. Interesting cultural commentary on the birth of the iPod. Easy to forget that the iPhone started with a little white box with a turn wheel! Not too heavy on the technical mumbo jumbo, it is a cultural snapshot from 2006.

    26. An interesting read about the origins of the iPod. There are several different versions of this book with the chapters in different orders, an homage to the shuffle feature of the iPod.

    27. The book gives fascinating insights, not only into Apple, but also the music industry & tech companies in general!

    28. From what I recall, this was a pretty detailed and informative/entertaining history of the development of the iPod.

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