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Cult of Mac [Hardcover]

Leander Kahney

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Book Description

Nov. 8 2004 1886411832 978-1886411838 1

There is no product on the planet that enjoys the devotion of a Macintosh computer. Apple's machines have legions of loyal, sometimes demented fans. The Cult of Mac surveys the devoted following that has grown up around Macintosh computers. Like fans of a football team or a rock group, Macintosh fanatics have their own subculture, with clearly defined obsessions, rites, and passages. Famously dedicated to their computers, many Mac fans eat, sleep, and breathe the Macintosh. Fans who get Mac tattoos and haircuts, people who attend Apple Store openings like they are Grateful Dead shows, counterculture icons who love the Mac, people who turn old Macs into aquariums (or bongs), Ellen Fein lookalike contests, erotic fiction featuring Steve Jobs; it's all here. Technology reporter Leander Kahney exposes all sides of Mac fanaticism, from the innocuous to the insane.


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Review

"If you want to know what’s happening in the Apple underground, talk to Leander Kahney." -- Eric Hellweg, CNN Columnist

"Required reading for anyone who loves his or her Macintosh." -- Guy Kawasaki, Former Chief Evangelist, Apple

"This book is about what it is to be a Macintosh person." -- Steve Wozniak, Apple Cofounder

About the Author

Leander Kahney is an editor at Wired News, where his Cult of Mac blog is a reader favorite. Previously, Kahney covered Apple and the Mac community for Wired News. He treats his subjects with insight and humor and his experiences interacting with Mac fanatics and attending Mac events around the world are highly entertaining. Kahney's work introduces an element of warmth not usually associated with technology reporting.


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There are 25 million people around the world who use Macintosh computers, according to Apple. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mac community love letter to itself Nov. 6 2004
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the first tech-themed coffee table book that I have seen, and it's a nice one. The book is laid out like a thick hard-covered version of Wired magazine. Thick with pictures and clever layout, with relatively sparse text.

There is a little something to love for almost any fringe Macintosh group or phenomenon. There is a section on tattoos, Apple wear, the iPod, the Newton. Another small section links the Mac to pot. And a very cool section shows prototype Macintoshs of the future designed by enthusiasts. Another interesting section analyses Macintoshes in movies and tv, where the good guy is always Mac and the bad guy always uses a PC.

This is not a serious history of the development of the Macintosh. Other books have covered that. The book rarely gets deep into issues. It's about a phenomenon. About defining the phenomenon and rallying behind it, as opposed to decomposing it. It's a fun, self-validating read for Mac lovers.

This would make a perfect Christmas gift for your favorite Mac enthusiast. And it may make a good read for any Windows lover who is puzzled by the cult-like Mac owners.
64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MyMac.com Book Review Nov. 28 2004
By Tim E Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Cult of Mac

By Leander Kahney

Publisher: No Starch Press

Price: 39.95 US

ISBN: 1886411832

I review quite a few computer books, most of which are technical how-tos and the like. I read a ton of other books, though, most of which are fiction or historical in nature. But the books reviewed here at MyMac.com are Mac focused books, most of which end up on a shelf before I donate them to the local library. So it was a pleasant surprise to find Leander Kahney's hard cover The Cult of Mac in my mailbox last week.

The Cult of Mac is a beautiful hard cover book with a slipcover. It has color pages throughout, and the text is clean, crisp, and easy to read. Not all books are presented in such loving detail as The Cult of Mac is. It really is a nice total package.

What is The Cult of Mac about? Writer Kahney explores many subjects that can fall into the "Mac Users Cult" umbrella, including subjects such as the Newton, people who collect old Macs, the Macworld Expos, and any other oddball Mac user story that Kahney found interesting.

The term "Cult" is not used in a derogatory manner here, even though the term does carry negative connotations. The term really comes from Kahney's Wired columns in which many of these stories originated. There were a few times while reading a particular story in this book that I remembered reading the same thing, albeit in an abbreviated form, on the Wired.com website.

Kahney hits upon many subjects, though usually the book is focused on the extreme examples or subjects. While each story presented here is true and honest, and Kahney makes no editorial judgments as to whether the behavior is out of the ordinary, he does seem to neglect some of the core Mac user experience and relationship to the platform.

Because this book was written over quite a few years, I found many instances of outdated information. For instance, in one story, Kahney writes about how Stan Flack is the publisher of MacCentral, even though he has not been for three years now. But later in the book, he writes about how MacCentral is owned by Macworld magazine. This suggests that older material was never rewritten or put into historical perspective to when the book was actually published. This is a little sloppy writing or editing in my opinion, but it works very well as a historical reference.

The dated material aside, this is a wonderful book to look at and read. Many of the stories are captivating, and made me want to look up more information online of the people he writes about in the book. Pictures abound in the book, including old Macs, the different paintings of Peter Cohen's head at Macworld Expos, and the fashions people wear at Macworld Tokyo. All good stuff!

This is one book I will set on my bookshelf and pull down from time to time to reread. This isn't a book you have to read in sequential order, as each chapter is an island unto itself. Written with detail in mind, The Cult of Mac is a large and ambitious project that was put together with loving care by the author.

MyMac.com rating: 5 out of 5

[...]
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Visuals, Great Info, GREAT BOOK April 22 2005
By Go Green DM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reading the Cult of Mac was the most fun and interesting material I have read in a long time. Ever since buying my own 15" PowerBook G4 last July, I have joined what is nothing short of a cult-like group of people. Parts of the book use images to describe what it is like to be obsessed with the world's best computer company and do so, for the most part, completely void of text. (Please no comments on how Mac users think they're superior because that is ridiculous. P.S.: Where are the `XP fan books?) When I purchased the book, I was under the impression that not only would it portray how some people communicate feelings of their Mac ownership, but also give a fairly detailed description of the history of the legendary computer company. I was wrong. Don't be mistaken, the book does go fairly into depth regarding the computers manufactured by Apple in the company's beginning. It uses its coffee-table-book-like appearance for visual aid, examples and reinforcement of statements and creates a sort of "where are they now" type format; talking about what people are doing to keep first generation Apples alive, etc. However, there is no in depth analysis of the up and coming of the infamous two Steves - Jobs and Wozniak - the father figures of Apple. With the recent buzz over the release of Apple's fourth major installment to their OS X operating system, Tiger (following the line of big cat names), it is easy to see why so many people go to extreme lengths to show off their dedication to Macs. I would recommend this book to Mac users, new and old alike, as well as Windows users. The way I think of it, this book is the perfect way for XP-ers to really see what they're missing, and maybe make them a bit jealous while we're at it!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By MacPeople, about Mac's and for MacLovers Jan. 18 2005
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I simply cannot imagine anyone getting the Microsoft logo tatooed on their butt, but MacFreaks, yeah it figures. See page 57.

And what about the marketing study recently conducted by Chicago's DePaul University who researched the people who still use (and love) their Apple Newton's. (You can find Newton's on E-Bay for $150-200 if you want to join the group.)

This book is an unabashed love afair with the Mac. It's really a coffee table picture book about the Mac. From user group meetings to Jay Leno's Macquarium where the tube doesn't show pictures of fish but real ones, or paper models that you can use as Christmas tree ornaments; but why go on. By now you know the contents of this book. It's by MacPeople, about Mac's and for MacLovers.

It's a delight to see this book, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and has a lot of fun.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Cult Nov. 18 2004
By J. Tabor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have a confession to make. I am a cult member. My wife is a cult member. My kids will probably grow up to be cult members. How did I go about joining such a select group of cultist? I simply purchased a Macintosh. (My wife owns a Macintosh as well.) It is nice to be reminded why one joins a cult, intentionally or not, and that is what Leander Kahney does with his book the Cult of Mac.

Kahney does an excellent job detailing the quirky, unique, and even dark underside of the Macintosh computer users. His account is exhaustive, chronicling the tribute Mac users pay to the company and the platform. Kahney includes a look at the psycho-sexual attachment, the soft porn product tributes, box collectors, tattooist, Mac bongs, and other oddball and off beat ways Macintosh users honor their favorite computer platform. He describes the sub cult of Steve (Jobs) and Steve (Wozniak) and their influence on the company and Mac acolytes.

The book is fist and foremost a testament to the loyalty of the Macintosh community, it is a book of homage. It is well designed, to the point of being almost over designed. For those looking for a serious, academic look at the cult side of Macintosh users should look elsewhere. For those interested in a glossy overview of the quirks of Macintosh users will find this an interesting and quirky exploration of the world of the Mac cult.

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