Celebrity Interview: Meet the Bernal Author Who Wrote the New Book About Apple Design Guru Jony Ive

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If you own an iPhone or iPad, you’re probably familiar with the work of Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design. Likewise, if you’ve recently upgraded your iDevice to iOS7, you’re now intimately familiar with Ive’s approach to design, which, in simplified terms, seeks to make the form of the interface follow its function more closely.

Ive is famously media-shy, but neighbor Leander Kahney of Moultrie Street just completed a much-anticpated a book about him. It’s called “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products,” and it goes on sale Nov. 14.

Neighbor Leander’s wife told Bernalwood that the book represents the culmination of “14 long, painful stressful months of blood, sweat, tears and lots of swearing,” so we decided to do a celebrity interview with Neighbor Leander to find out more about his prose-creation process:

Bernalwood: How much of the writing for your book did you do in Bernal Heights?

Neighbor Leander: I did the majority of the writing in Bernal, mostly at Martha & Bros coffee shop and Progressive Grounds. I’d go to Martha in the morning and fuel up on coffee — it’s the best on the hill. At lunchtime, I’d go over to Progressive for a bite to eat and spend the rest of the afternoon there.

Did you find any places in Bernal Heights that were good for your muse?

It’s non-fiction, so it was less muse, more head-in-hands crying and deadline terror. Writing is torture for me. I have an office in the Mission but found it impossible to concentrate there. I’d spend all day surfing the net or cleaning. I need the buzz of a busy coffesshop to help me focus.

What about the dread writers block? Did you discover any Bernal-based remedies for that?

Walking certainly helps clear the mind. I’d often pace up and down Cortland. Sometimes I’d hike up to the top of Bernal Hill. That would sometimes help, but most of the time I just wanted to fling myself off a cliff.

There are a lot of people in Bernal Heights who write books. It’s kind of like having a dog. Why do you think Bernal is home to so many writer-types? Is there something in water here?

I’d say that’s true for San Francisco generally, although Bernal is definitely a hotspot for creative-types. Up until a few years ago, it was your classic semi-affordable, bohemian neighborhood. We’ve been here for 13 years, and back then it was the only place we could afford. Our house was a half-derelict crack house. There were bars on everyone’s windows. Now people worry about their succulents.

If Jony Ive had to do a midday meeting in Bernal Heights, which coffee shop do you think he’d choose?

I think he’d forego the coffee shop and chose a nice discreet bar, like the Lucky Horseshoe. He does all his deals over a drink, according to people like Bono, although he frequents much fancier places like the bar at the Clift Hotel. However, he could hang out at the Lucky Horeshore and not draw too much attention to himself. He’s a shy guy.

Neighbor Leander’s book is called “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products,” and it is available for pre-order now.

PHOTO: Neighbor Leander, avoiding the temptation to throw himself off a cliff

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4 Responses to Celebrity Interview: Meet the Bernal Author Who Wrote the New Book About Apple Design Guru Jony Ive

  1. Lewis says:

    Another crack-house-to-publishing-house success story for Bernal! I’m pretty sure I saw this guy weeping openly in front of the library earlier this year, but it looks like he finally got the manuscript finished off. Good thing he didn’t jump off the hill — at worst, he would have scuffed himself and/or twisted an ankle. Can’t wait to read the book.

  2. Yeah that was me! Took a long time for the manuscript to dry out.

  3. Olivia Kuser says:

    “There were bars on everyone’s windows. Now people worry about their succulents” That sums up Bernal’s gentrification in two sentences. Now I want to read his book!

  4. Lewi Hussey says:

    Just Pre-Ordered his book! :)
    I have to get it shipped to The Netherlands so it’s gonna take a while! :(

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