Book Review
Macintosh… The Naked Truth

Macintosh… The Naked Truth
Scott Kelby

New Rider Press
ISBN 0735712840
US $19.99
240 pages

I have never written a book review before, and I enter the project with some trepidation. Will I make a mortal enemy of the author? Will this hurt my career as an engineer? And most importantly: Will I have to force myself to read the book? My last worry was unfounded; I liked Scott Kelby’s Macintosh…The Naked Truth.

Macintosh…The Naked Truth runs a bit high at 19.99 for 219 pages but it’s a fairly enlightening and quick read. By easy reading I don’t mean the tome is some monosyllabic Dr. Suess rip-off, Scott Kelby uses fine prose and a vocabulary that is not “dumbed down” Yet, as one reads the book, one has the feeling that it was written at a frenetic pace. This is overtly noted in the book and carries through to the final product. The reader is left with the impression that the author believes that any thought the flashes through his noggin as he writes is pretty much worth our time, as Mac aficionados, to read. Surprisingly, the majority of the thoughts that Scott Kelby has are pretty darn interesting. In short, the book isn’t so much about computers, though there is plenty of computer info, it’s about being a Mac owner, a Mac enthusiast and the daily travails and pleasantries of Mac life.

I should also note that the book has a few jokes. By a few jokes I mean two or three jokes per paragraph. I have just read five randomly chosen paragraphs and four of them opened with jokes, that’s a lot of jokes for a book ostensibly about computers. The jokes fly around like gags in a Naked Gun movie. Gags are everywhere hoping to overwhelm your sense of humor by sheer volume if necessary. Some hit and some miss, I’d say they ratio is roughly fifty-fifty. Normally I wouldn’t enjoy comedy styling with so many misses but when Scott Kelby misses it is usually not by much and when he hits the results are laugh out loud funny. Only one other author makes me laugh out loud, the widely enjoyed Bill Bryson, so Mr. Kelby is in pretty good company.

The highlights of the book are the pages about CompUSA’s store within a store strategy. I won’t spoil the surprise, it is hilarious, deftly done and it makes the entire book worthwhile. The low point was the letters from PC user section. I know that reading hate mail and the requisite clever responses can be entertaining (it is everyone’s favorite part of my site) but it doesn’t quite work in the book. It’s hard to get excited about hate mail coming to a magazine when you’re not looking at said magazine and hence that chapter feels a bit distant. Plus the pseudonymous Mr. Kelby assigns are fairly inane (Major Dumass, Archibald Stuffybut? Come on Scott you can do better).

Overall I feel certain that any dyed in the wool Mac user will thoroughly enjoy the book. Besides possibly being the first book about being a Mac guy there is enough info for the book to also be a nice reference. The indifferent Mac user and the indifferent Windows will be entertained enough to feel that their money and time was well spent. The rabid Windows promoter (and I believe these people actually exist) will read the book and send Scott some hate mail.

MacMice Rating for Mac Lovers: 4 out of 5

MacMice Rating for General Public (people who use Windows so they can steal software from work): 3 out of 5

MacMice Rating for Bill Gates (the President of Compaq, PC only Software companies): 1 out of 5

Chris Seibold

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