Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Struggling to read the Jobs biography

19th January, 2012

I was given the Jobs biography for Christmas, and while I made a start a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t really progressed beyond the first couple of chapters.

This is for a number of reasons, which are mostly not anybody’s fault.

It’s not actually the content that’s doing it. Overall it’s written pretty well and stories are told well. There have been a few bits I haven’t liked so far, but that’s not really something to complain about.

By far the biggest issue with the book is that it is a book. As in, made out of dead trees. I have the hardback and it weighs an absolute TON. It is almost impossible to read in bed it is so large. There are no highlighting capabilities (discounting vandalism) and I can’t read it in the office as well as at home without having to carry it around (which is, incidentally, entirely impractical). I can’t search it (other than page by page) and there’s no built in dictionary functionality.

This all may sound like a joke but I assure you, I have come across each of these issues in the short amount of time I have been reading the book. Quite spoilt by the Kindle, no doubt.

Thinking of books, I was sat in a lecture today and was recommended a hefty tome on Cybernetics for subject background. Now, at the end of my degree, having bought a grand total of 3 books for the entire 4.5 years so far (one of which I would be quite happy to burn, those of you in the department may know it as Software Engineering) I somehow feel compelled to start collecting these books to form some kind of small library to help me remember bits of my degree when I inevitably start work in a completely unrelated field and build robots for fun in the evenings (Robotics has always been a hobby more than a career for me). Perhaps I will buy one with my first pay packet.