What could any book, a mere vessel of subjective interpretation, tell us about time, an invisible system of measuring change? I suspected that by the end I’d either feel tricked or confounded.
It turns out that I felt neither deceived nor confused — or, rather, I did feel those things, but about the subject and not the book.
The story that Mr. Levy tells in “To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey With Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) tackles a long list of complex subjects that have been covered in depth elsewhere: for example, movie accounting, Mr. Jobs, initial public stock offerings, commercial contract negotiations (and renegotiations) and corporate culture.
What makes Mr. Levy’s contribution so insightful is not that he plows old ground in greater depth but that he uses his personal story as vehicle to add a new dimension to each of these topics.
Though not quite a feminist manifesto, Witt’s search is very much driven by her desire as a 21st-century single American woman to understand love and sexual fulfillment in the Internet age — or, as she puts it, “to pursue emotional experiences that could not be immediately transposed to a party of young people in a cell phone ad, even if it meant delving into ugliness, contracting an STD, or lifting my shirt to entice someone jerking off over the Internet.”
That passage is a tip-off: Witt is both daring and serious. Her writing would not be described as bubbly, sassy or any other patronizing adjective usually associated with books of this kind. Witt treats her subjects (even her bad Internet dates) with respect instead of the judgment or mockery you might expect. It’s like reading something by David McCullough if he wrote about dating apps.