You Can’t Con all of the Icons All of the Time

Bravo to Alan Deutschman of Fast Company on his Icon book review. According to Alan, since Jobs won’t cooperate with any biographer after Michael Moritz’s successful book “The Little Kingdom” in the 1980’s, “Jobs’ freeze-out gives two options to would-be biographers: Either they can succeed at a bit of investigative reporting, or they can plunder the work of those who have. Unfortunately, the authors of “iCon” are guilty mostly of the latter.” He then proceeds to rip the book apart, finding rehashes of his and Moritz’s work. “I felt disturbed reading the brief prologue of “iCon,” with its play-by- play of the crazed reaction of the crowd at the January 2000 Macworld convention when Jobs announced he was taking the title of CEO — the same scene I used in my similarly brief prologue to “Second Coming.” Then I relaxed while the next 135 pages were basically a condensed version of Young’s earlier bio (which drew much of its best material from Moritz’s “Little Kingdom”). Then, on Page 138, it began to seem as if Young had reached the end of his previous book — and had begun to condense my book.”

There is nothing more annoying than doing the hard work in original reporting / research, only to find someone rips it out of your book without even giving credit, or worse yet, distorts what you wrote so that it is completely wrong. I know – I had the same thing happen to me. I co-wrote a kernel design book, Operating System Source Code Secrets Volume 1: The Basic Kernel (see Jolix for more information) describing the design, implementation and internals of and incorporating original work. No one else had ever done this work before in any operating system – we had done the long series of technical articles in Dr. Dobbs Journal on which some of it was based, plus years out of Berkeley with the majority of work. The book was released in 1996 to good reviews, but it was about BSD of course, and focussed entirely on evolving that architecture.

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