Ron’s #44: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

December 11, 2011 // 1 Comment

Mark’s excellent review is here. I finished the last few pages of this biography in the following environment: My Apple TV played Cars streamed from my Mac that I controlled with my iPhone. All that was missing was an afternoon trip to an Apple Store somewhere. This illustrates not my dependence on technology (a topic that was addressed several other times in my reviews), but on the influence Steve Jobs has in my life. In many ways, Apple’s history is my history. Since I’m only a little older than Apple, I can connect aspects of my life with its. I bought my first Mac in 1998 and lived in an Apple-exclusive home every since. The history of Apple and the computer industry has been a favorite topic of study over the years, and I’ve read and watched many books and movies. I have been an Apple enthusiast/evangelist for over a decade. I, like many, fell into Steve’s charismatic spell. Because of this, reading the new biography about Steve Jobs was not an option; it was an edict from within. The author, Walter Isaacson, chronicled the lives of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and now, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was a many […]

Ron’s #17: The Next Story by Tim Challies

June 2, 2011 // 1 Comment

I have reviewed a couple of books on the subject of technology recently (Hamlet’s Blackberry and The Shallows), but I’m not growing tired of them (you, readers, may get tired of reading the reviews, though). For those not familiar with the author, Tim Challies is a prolific Christian blogger at His is one of only a handful of must-read sites that I visit. When I saw that he had a book about the effects of technology, I wanted to read it. What would a man who makes his living from technology have to say about technology? The Next Story doesn’t offer much different from the other two books I mentioned, but I don’t mean that as a criticism. Rather, it shows that many people from different walks and faiths come to the same conclusion: our immersion in technology is changing us. Anyone who disagrees with this premise should reconsider and take a longer look at his own life. Challies’s book is part computer history, part social commentary, and part Christian living. All together, this offers a more complete picture of how we ought to live our lives while surrounded by iPhones, Internet, wi-fi, email, Facebook, and digital clouds. I […]

Ron’s #15: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

May 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

When I told people that I was currently reading a book on the start of, the response was always the same: “Why?” I’m not exactly sure what interested me in this book, but I found it in the thrift store, and I was eager to read it. Aside from theology, my favorite topic to read is the history and evolution of the computer industry. Reading a book on how an online shoe store became a powerhouse retailer seemed to be perfect. This book is part autobiography of Tony Hsieh and part how-to-be-a-leader book (a genre that I usually try to avoid). I enjoyed reading the start of young Tony with his entrepreneurial endeavors and accidental encounters that led him to Nick Swinmurn, the owner of a business called, which then transformed into what we now know as Tony’s dedication to Zappos (even when business logic told him it is a losing proposition) was inspiring. It made me want to buy shoes at Zappos. Before you readers get too inspired and leave this review to buy the new Nike Frees, I want to give what annoyed me most about this book: Tony Hsieh himself. He is an arrogant, […]

Ron’s #31: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

July 26, 2010 // 3 Comments

Let me begin with what I think is Nicholas Carr’s main statement in this book: “What can science tell us about the actual effects that Internet use is having on the way our minds work?…Dozens of studies by psychologists, neurobiologists, educators, and Web designers point to the same conclusion: when we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. It’s possible to think deeply while surfing the Net, just as it’s possible to think shallowly while reading a book, but that’s not the type of thinking the technology encourages and rewards” (115-116). Carr has written an engaging book that explores how our Internet habits are changing how we think. He tells how he noticed a shift in his concentration levels after his immersion in the Internet world of links, clicks, and tweets. This English literature major found that he had trouble concentrating on a novel beyond a few pages. After years of training his mind to follow links and read news blasts, he was troubled that he could no longer read deeply. This led him to write an article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” which he expanded into this book. The […]

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