iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business

Overview

An unauthorized and unflinching portrait of the phenomenon behind Apple

"My books are about the secret lives of hackers. This book is about the secret life of maybe the most influential person in technology. Who else can you think of that has put his stamp on three industries–computers, music, and movie animation? Once you start reading, you won't want to put it down."
—Kevin Mitnick, security consultant, www.mitnicksecurity.com author of The Art of Deception and The Art of ...

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Overview

An unauthorized and unflinching portrait of the phenomenon behind Apple

"My books are about the secret lives of hackers. This book is about the secret life of maybe the most influential person in technology. Who else can you think of that has put his stamp on three industries–computers, music, and movie animation? Once you start reading, you won't want to put it down."
—Kevin Mitnick, security consultant, www.mitnicksecurity.com author of The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion

"Assembling the artifacts and stories to showcase the achievements of man is the work of museums like ours. But history also relies on authors like Young and Simon, who have done a memorable job compiling the biography of Steven Jobs from conversations with the people who have been players with this extraordinary technology pioneer. And this book is a fascinating read as well."
—John Toole, Executive Director and CEO Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California

"During the high-tech boom years when Steve Jobs gained global recognition, I was on the Silicon Valley scene to witness his rise to fame. We all admired his genius and became aware of his flaws, as well. You won't want to miss this absorbing behind-the-scenes story."
—Steve Westly, California State Controller former senior vice president, eBay

"If technology was a competitive sport, Steve Jobs would be a combination of an NBA misbehaving superstar and an NHL player who high-sticks opponents whenever he thinks they've treated him badly. But he'd also be MVP. Fascinating and unforgettable."
—Carol Mitch, Best Damned Sports Show Period

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…getAbstract.com…recommends it highly to all business readers…” (Financial Times, 16th January 2006)

"...the writing is savvy and lively...even readers with a scant interest in computers, technology or animated movies will find the tale entertaining..." (www.getabstract.com, 29 Aug. 2005)

"...a story of the personalities behind the facts and figures...includes some interesting personal touches..." (Liverpool Daily Post, 22nd June 2005)

“…rich in anecdotes and retellings of turning points in the lives of Jobs, Apple and Pixar…” (Information Age, 1st August 2005)

"...the authors paint a vivid picture of Jobs as an occasional genius and a regular jerk. All of which makes for gripping reading for any Mac fan..." (icreate, July-December 2005)

“…Young and Simon are particularly good at telling the inside story…” (Belfast Sunday Life, 3 July 2005)

“…new perspectives on the creation of Apple…details Jobs’s meteoric rise, fall and rise again…” (Moneywise, June 2005)

“…a well-balanced look at an incredible life. The achievements are all catalogued in full, as are the personal idiosyncrasies and shortcomings…” (Glasgow Sunday Herald, June 19 2005)

"Provides insight into inner businer business strategies and power plays between larger-than-life personalities such as Disney boss Michael Eisner." (USA Today)

Apparently, this book hit a nerve. Or several.
According to media reports, Apple Computer removed all of the titles published by John Wiley & Sons from its retail stores to protest this book. Included were the successful Dummies series, as well as computer-related volumes from popular authors Andy Ihnatko and Bob LeVitus.
So what's the fuss?
This biography of Apple's co-founder is fairly well balanced. The authors keenly admire Jobs despite the many personal shortcomings they catalog, gleefully referring to sundry over-the-top idiosyncrasies as examples of Jobs' ''Stevian'' hubris.
But there's much to admire about Jobs. An adopted child of a northern California working class couple, he parlayed rabid curiosity about electronics, preternatural entrepreneurial zeal and a fierce sense of self into a partnership with the brilliant Steve Wozniak and created the revolutionary Apple II, the first popular personal computer.
The pair became multimillionaires, though Wozniak eventually left the company to pursue other interests -- including flying small airplanes -- after nearly dying in a plane crash.
Jobs subsequently latched onto and took over a wayward project at Apple to develop the next generation machine, and the resulting Macintosh became the computer of choice for artists and other creative folks.
Jobs' prickly personality and immense ambition may have helped drive his success but also fueled clashes with executives, board members and others, and led to his forced departure from the company he co-founded.
That was Jobs' wild first act.
But authors Jeffrey Young and William Simon also chronicle what came next.
After leaving Apple, Jobs' new computer company, NeXT, was a near-disaster. Though technologically advanced, the box was expensive and ill suited for its intended market, universities. Still, the operating system held great promise and the possibility for Jobs' return to the spotlight.
When divorce forced Star Wars auteur George Lucas to sell off his nascent computer animation company, Pixar, Jobs scooped it up at a fraction of the asking price. Soon, the production company allied with Disney and became a creative powerhouse in its own right, with smash films, Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
When Pixar went public, Jobs became a billionaire. At the same time, Apple was having a rough time with its latest CEO, Gil Amelio, who slashed costs, consolidated product lines and seemed to be on the verge of turning the company around despite a lack of ''Stevian'' political prowess.
His search for an appropriate operating system for a new, more powerful Macintosh attracted Jobs' attention. His NeXT software was the ticket back to Apple. After some deft machinations, Amelio was sent packing and Jobs became ''interim'' CEO.
Soon, some new, very cool computers were introduced by Apple and the company was again deemed successful and sexy, though Young and Simon suggest that Jobs was the beneficiary of the departed Amelio's cost-cutting and new product development initiatives.
Regardless, Jobs struck gold again with the introduction of the iPod music player, and the ''interim'' was removed from his title.
The biography includes many personal details that surely embarrass Jobs, such as his early abandonment of a daughter born to an unmarried girlfriend (both of whom he later reconciled with and supported), along with endless examples of pride, egotism, venality, ruthlessness and conceit.
But it's still an interesting and engaging tale. Warts and all, for better or worse, Steve Jobs is undisputedly an American business icon. (Miami Herald, June 6, 2005)

"One of the most captivating business biographies of recent years. Young and Simon have done a masterful job." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

"A fascinating tale of an imaginative genius." (BookPage)

Library Journal
With Simon (coauthor, The Art of Intrusion), journalist Young here updates Steve Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward, his biography of the Apple Computer CEO. The authors, who call Jobs the "rock star of high tech," chronicle the remarkable comeback of the technology wunderkind who had been forced out of Apple in 1985. Jobs subsequently started Pixar, which compiled an impressive track record in developing animated films such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo. He eventually returned to Apple in 1997, where he was instrumental in developing the iMac and the iPod. Many biographies of Jobs suffer from his refusal to cooperate, and this one also betrays a hurried incompleteness, as if the authors were fearful that Jobs might achieve something new that they would be unable to include in time for publication. The book occasionally has a gossipy tone, especially in its overuse of unnamed sources, questionable when the reporting is not terribly flattering. In the final analysis, it's left to the reader to decide whether Jobs is a genius, a megalomaniac, or maybe both. Although the authors make a valiant effort to dissect Jobs's enigmatic life, without his cooperation this book is just another "unofficial" biography. It's uncertain whether we will ever get to know the real Steve Jobs any better. Suitable for public libraries.-Richard Drezen, Washington Post/NYC Bureau Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471720836
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/23/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

JEFFREY S. YOUNG, one of the founding editors of MacWorld magazine, first met Steve Jobs in 1983. He is the author of the classic unauthorized biography Steve Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward. Young began his career as a reporter with the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, and, after MacWorld, wrote for The Hollywood Reporter and worked for Forbes in the 1990s as its contributing editor from Silicon Valley, writing profiles and business pieces, including a very influential profile of Microsoft's Steve Balmer. In 1997, he cofounded Forbes.com. Young is?also the author of?Forbes Greatest Technology Stories (Wiley). He lives in northern California.

WILLIAM L. SIMON is coauthor of Kevin Mitnick's The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion, both published by Wiley, as well as the award-winning author of more than twenty other books.?He lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

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Table of Contents

Prologue.

PART ONE: Flowering and Withering.

1 Roots.

2 A Company Is Born.

3 Let’s Be Pirates!

4 Learning to Fail.

PART TWO: New Beginnings.

5 The NeXT Step.

6 Show Business.

7 Master of Ceremonies.

8 Icon.

PART THREE: Defining the Future.

9 Mogul.

10 Breaking New Ground.

11 iPod, iTunes, Therefore I Am.

12 Clash of the Titans.

13 Showtime.

Epilogue.

Acknowledgments.

Notes.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Don't bother

    An outdated interpretation of an iconic figure. I felt like I was reading more of a critic's opinion and didn't bother to finish. *After some research on the author, Jeffrey S. Young, I found out that he had spent a decade bashing and criticizing Steve Jobs relationship with Apple in Forbes articles and had suggested Jobs should have killed off the Apple brand completely.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating look at one of the greatest living business icons

    Recently Steve Jobs has been named the CEO of the decade by Fortune magazine. The announcement was hardly surprising to anyone who has been following the business world over the last ten years. Apple Computer, the company that he cofounded and the one that his name will always be associated with the most, has gone from the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s to one of the most spectacularly successful companies in the World today and the top brand name. The announcement cemented his already stellar and legendary reputation.

    Steve Jobs is a rare bird these days: an incredibly successful businessman whose personal life and adventures are almost as intriguing as his business dealings. This is especially true of young Steve, before he matured in a very sober and calculating professional. Stories of Steve's early life are masterfully narrated in "iCon," a very well written and intriguing book. The early chapters of the book are particularly fascinating, and anyone who is not familiar with the early days of Apple Computer and what led to its formation should absolutely read this story. It is filled with anecdotes and first-hand accounts that have since become an integral part of Silicon Valley lore. The creation of Apple Macintosh probably deserves a book of its own, and a very readable one can be found in "Revolution in the Valley." This part of the book is a page-turner for any real Mac fan and was hard to put down.

    The latter part of the book was rather disappointing. It was largely written from the outside perspective, and many of the stories presented there could have easily been gleaned from the newspaper accounts. Many of the major development events at Apple Computer that have taken place since Steve jobs returned to the company are completely omitted. The worst part, however, are the overly detailed descriptions of the internal struggles of a company that Steve jobs never worked in - Disney. This material was completely irrelevant and one can skip it without losing any relevant information for the rest of the book.

    The book concludes before Apple brought out iPhone, and reading it now it feels a bit dated. However, it is still a very insightful and immensely interesting book to read despite its many flaws.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good biography

    A good, entertaining read - but I got the impression that the author had a bone to pick with Steve Jobs. Either way, very interesting and entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    I got it for my husband and he husband loved it!

    I got this book for my husband and he couldn't put it down. Great history into Apple!

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Dated, but still Interesting

    Although the book is now 3 years old and obviously leaves a gap the story of Steve Jobs and his fight to stay on top is still very interesting. Now I need to get a book on Bill Gates to compare their styles!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    A True iCon

    Steve Jobs is the Holy Trinity. Most people can only imagine what's like to cause a paradigm shift and Steve's actually done it three times. Take the time to read this book as it will inspire you down your own road towards design and creation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    Packed with Knowledge!

    Though unabashedly adulatory, this unauthorized biography of Steven Jobs - co-founder of Apple Computers and head of Pixar Studios - shows how he nearly squandered his career and fortune on ill-conceived and badly managed ventures. The writing is savvy and lively - if not always chronologically linear. The pace is quick and even readers with scant interest in computers, technology or animated movies will find the tale entertaining. Authors Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon wisely focus on how Jobs learned from his failures and became a success again by recognizing his own limitations. In that respect, we believe Jobs¿ journey holds important business and life lessons, and recommend it highly to all business readers.

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    Posted December 8, 2008

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