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Steve Jobs

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Overview

From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive, New York Times bestselling biography of Steve Jobs.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur ...

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Steve Jobs

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Overview

From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive, New York Times bestselling biography of Steve Jobs.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Even the first news that Walter Isaacson was writing an authorized biography of Steve Jobs grabbed headlines, but anticipation was immeasurably heightened by reports that the visionary Apple co-founder was stepping down from his job and then by news of his premature death. With its scores of exclusive interviews with Jobs himself, this book is likely to remain forever the definitive life of the digital wizard.

Edward Ash-Milby

Publishers Weekly
If not the greatest of computer moguls, the late Apple Computer co-founder was certainly the most colorful and charismatic to judge by this compelling biography. Journalist Isaacson (Albert Einstein) had his subject's intimate cooperation but doesn't shy away from Jobs's off-putting traits: the egomania; the shameless theft of ideas; the "reality distortion field" of lies and delusions; the veering between manipulative charm and cold betrayal; the bullying rages, profanity and weeping; the bizarre vegetarian diets that he believed would ward off body odor and cancer (he was tragically wrong on both counts). Isaacson also sees the constructive flip-side of Jobs's flaws, arguing that his crazed perfectionism and sublime sense of design—he wanted even his computers' circuit boards to be visually elegant—begat brilliant innovations, from the Mac to the iPad, that blended "poetry and processors." The author oversells Jobs as the digital artiste pitting well-crafted, vertically integrated personal computing experiences against the promiscuously licensed, bulk-commodity software profferred by his Microsoft rival Bill Gates. (Gates's acerbic commentary on Jobs's romanticism often steals the page.) Still, Isaacson's exhaustively researched but well-paced, candid and gripping narrative gives us a great warts-and-all portrait of an entrepreneurial spirit—and one of the best accounts yet of the human side of the computer biz. Photos. (Oct. 24)
Kirkus Reviews
An unforgettable tale of a one-of-a-kind visionary. With a unique ability to meld arts and technology and an uncanny understanding of consumers' desires, Apple founder Steve Jobs (1955–2011) played a major role in transforming not just computer technology, but a variety of industries. When Jobs died earlier this month, the outpouring of emotion from the general public was surprisingly intense. His creations, which he knew we wanted before we did, were more than mere tools; everything from the iPod to the MacBook Pro touched us on a gut level and became an integral part of our lives. This was why those of us who were hip to Steve Jobs the Inventor were so moved when he passed. However, those who had an in-depth knowledge of Steve Jobs the Businessman might not have taken such a nostalgic view of his life. According to acclaimed biographer and Aspen Institute CEO Isaacson (American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and a Heroes of a Hurricane, 2009, etc.) in this consistently engaging, warts-and-all biography, Jobs was not necessarily the most pleasant boss. We learn about Jobs' predilection for humiliating his co-workers into their best performances; his habit of profanely dismissing an underling's idea, only to claim it as his own later; and his ability to manipulate a situation with an evangelical, fact-mangling technique that friends and foes alike referred to as his "reality distortion field." But we also learn how--through his alternative education, his pilgrimage to India, a heap of acid trips and a fateful meeting with engineering genius Steve Wozniak--Jobs became Jobs and Apple became Apple. Though the narrative could have used a tighter edit in a few places, Isaacson's portrait of this complex, often unlikable genius is, to quote Jobs, insanely great. Jobs was an American original, and Isaacson's impeccably researched, vibrant biography--fully endorsed by his subject--does his legacy proud.
Janet Maslin
[Jobs's] story calls for a book that is clear, elegant and concise enough to qualify as an iBio. Mr. Isaacson's Steve Jobs does its solid best to hit that target…[It] greatly admires its subject. But its most adulatory passages are not about people. Offering a combination of tech criticism and promotional hype, Mr. Isaacson describes the arrival of each new product right down to Mr. Jobs's theatrical introductions and the advertising campaigns. But if the individual bits of hoopla seem excessive, their cumulative effect is staggering. Here is an encyclopedic survey of all that Mr. Jobs accomplished, replete with the passion and excitement that it deserves.
—The New York Times
Michael S. Rosenwald
Isaacson's biography can be read in several ways. It is on the one hand a history of the most exciting time in the age of computers, when the machines first became personal and later, fashionable accessories. It is also a textbook study of the rise and fall and rise of Apple and the brutal clashes that destroyed friendships and careers. And it is a gadget lover's dream, with fabulous, inside accounts of how the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad came into being. But more than anything, Isaacson has crafted a biography of a complicated, peculiar personality—Jobs was charming, loathsome, lovable, obsessive, maddening—and the author shows how Jobs's character was instrumental in shaping some of the greatest technological innovations of our time.
—The Washington Post
The Barnes & Noble Review

Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson's lively authorized biography, is the story of a man who was not changed by wealth. Jobs was scarcely twenty when he started Apple Computer with his friend Steve Wozniak, in the garage of his parents' house. At twenty-five, Apple's IPO left him with $256 million. Before he turned thirty, the management he recruited had relieved him of responsibility, dismissing him as inexperienced, unrealistic, abrasive, and malodorous.

It seems never to have occurred to Jobs that he might relax. He started a new company, NeXT, for revenge, and ran Pixar for fun, and a decade later returned to salvage the tatters of the company that had kicked him out. Wherever he found himself, Jobs was always at work. He was uncompromising, demanding polish and simplicity in everything, insulting and dismissing everything and everyone who bored him. He was a famously sarcastic and meddlesome manager, quick to humiliate subordinates and suppliers. He never wrote a significant program or made a movie or recorded a song, but he built wildly successful companies that made computers and music players, phones and cartoons that people loved.

Isaacson's biography adds little to our understanding of the work, focusing instead on the billionaire who, disdaining to buy things that were not both beautiful and useful, often sat on the floor of scarcely furnished rooms. As he lay in intensive care after his liver transplant, he wanted to improve the design of the medical equipment surrounding him. He never stopped working, he was always smart, he was sometimes right, and he vexed everyone around him. But then, Isaacson reminds us, that's exactly the way people remembered him as a little boy.

With Steve, Apple flourished. Without him, it nearly failed. Once he was back, success bred success. The contrast provides a unique opportunity to move beyond the prosperity-gospel fables that dominate American business journalism, but this would require more attention to what Steve Jobs did rather than to who he was, how he dressed, when he bathed, and what he liked to eat. The landmarks of Jobs's remarkable business career — the repeated transformations of personal computers, the revival of feature animation, Apple's astonishing move into the music industry, the overwhelming success of the iPhone and iPad, and the transformation of the near-derelict Apple of 1996 to attain the largest market capitalization in the world — are recounted but not interpreted. Isaacson's study is the man, not the businesses.

But there was also (as in so many of his famous product introductions) one more thing: he created things that people loved — and loved to buy. Jobs was born in 1955, and in the fifty years before his birth, Americans witnessed astonishing technological and business changes: radio, television, cars, trucks, airplanes, department stores, supermarkets, malls. The transformations of Steve Jobs's lifetime were primarily electronic and chiefly concerned the computer and the Internet. For a generation, progress has been most concretely realized and experienced through products that bore his imprint.

Why were these products beloved? Isaacson, following Microsoft's Bill Gates, attributes the excellence of the products to Jobs's good taste and to his intense personal involvement, which ran from mechanical engineering all the way to packaging. But what saved Apple, after all (as I have argued elsewhere), was not merely great design but the constantly iterated shift from design to execution, from surface to depth, from style to science and back again. The dramatic technical shifts — abandoning floppies, abandoning Pascal and OpenDoc and Java, embracing virtual memory, abandoning the PowerPC, abandoning CDs — masked a steady reengineering of everything. On the other end of the spectrum Jobs grasped the drama of unwrapping, and he took exceptional care that the outside of Apple's boxes look good and that the first things you saw when you open the box look better. Analysts ridiculed Apple's plan to open retail stores, but those stores have turned out to be wildly profitable. Even more impressively, Apple transformed shopping: visiting an Apple store, you never see a cash register and almost never see an employee standing around, waiting, or doing anything besides talking to customers. This performance might perhaps originate in a CEO's vision, but the actual execution surely depends on complex foundations of training, management, and supervision — crucial parts of the story that are here subordinated.

To Jobs, every employee was either a genius or a bozo. Every product and every idea was good or it was shit, and he sought to impose his taste on every facet of each organization. To acquire sound taste in so many fields, from animation to retail store design, from operating systems to contemporary music, was itself a formidable accomplishment, but this volume is largely silent on how Jobs undertook this epic self- education. Nor do we learn how a man who never programmed a computer oversaw the creation of so much legendary software. We might wish for a retrospective of the ideas behind his work. Isaacson usually settles for an account of contemporary press reaction, but much of this, like the dismissal of the Macintosh for its "gee-whiz graphics," now seems almost quaint.

Good taste and long hours were not enough for other smart people who set out to work at the intersection of engineering and art. William Morris also tried to combine great design with mass production across the product spectrum. So did Gropius and Breuer at the Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesen, and Coco Chanel. The others created modest businesses that were best at selling lovely things to a discerning, elite audience, and when they did reach a mass audience, it was chiefly through derivatives and clichés. None built institutions. Jobs not only proved that there can indeed be a second act in an American life, but left behind such a robust engine of creativity that in his case, there may yet be a third.

Mark Bernstein is Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, Inc. and the designer of Tinderbox.

Reviewer: Mark Bernstein

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451648539
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/24/2011
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 52,054
  • Lexile: 1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

Biography

Rhodes Scholar, historian, and bestselling author Walter Isaacson began his distinguished career as a journalist -- first for London's Sunday Times, then for The Times-Picayune/States-Item, published in his hometown of New Orleans. He joined Time magazine in 1978, working his way up from political correspondent to managing editor in a little less than two decades. He served for two years as chairman and CEO of the cable TV news network CNN; then, in 2003, he became president of the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization "dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue." In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he was appointed vice-chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, and he serves on a number of policy-making boards and councils.

In literary circles, Isaacson is best known as the writer of magisterial biographies, scholarly and meticulously researched, yet immensely entertaining. His first book, however, was a collaborative effort. Co-written with award-winning journalist Evan Thomas, and published in 1986, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made explores the lives of six men who shaped government and public policy in the years following WWII. Examining an era too recent to be called history and too distant to qualify as current affairs, the book received mixed reviews but was universally praised for its ambitious scope and elegant style.

Isaacson's subsequent biographies, all solo efforts (and all critically acclaimed), have chronicled the lives of such disparate figures as Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein. He explains what has drawn him to such widely divergent subjects -- men, who on the surface would appear to have very little in common: "I like writing about people with interesting minds. I try to explore the various aspects of intelligence: common sense, wisdom, creativity, imagination, mental processing power, emotional understanding, and moral values. Which of these traits are the most important? How do they make someone an influential or significant or good person?"

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    1. Date of Birth:
      May 20, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Orleans, LA
    1. Education:
      Harvard, B.A. in History and Literature, 1974; Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt 1

His personality was reflected in the products he created. Just as the core of Apple’s philosophy, from the original Macintosh in 1984 to the iPad a generation later, was the end-to-end integration of hardware and software, so too was it the case with Steve Jobs: His passions, perfectionism, demons, desires, artistry, devilry, and obsession for control were integrally connected to his approach to business and the products that resulted.

The unified field theory that ties together Jobs’s personality and products begins with his most salient trait: his intensity. His silences could be as searing as his rants; he had taught himself to stare without blinking. Sometimes this intensity was charming, in a geeky way, such as when he was explaining the profundity of Bob Dylan’s music or why whatever product he was unveiling at that moment was the most amazing thing that Apple had ever made. At other times it could be terrifying, such as when he was fulminating about Google or Microsoft ripping off Apple.

This intensity encouraged a binary view of the world. Colleagues referred to the hero/shithead dichotomy. You were either one or the other, sometimes on the same day. The same was true of products, ideas, even food: Something was either “the best thing ever,” or it was shitty, brain-dead, inedible. As a result, any perceived flaw could set off a rant. The finish on a piece of metal, the curve of the head of a screw, the shade of blue on a box, the intuitiveness of a navigation screen—he would declare them to “completely suck” until that moment when he suddenly pronounced them “absolutely perfect.” He thought of himself as an artist, which he was, and he indulged in the temperament of one.

His quest for perfection led to his compulsion for Apple to have end-to-end control of every product that it made. He got hives, or worse, when contemplating great Apple software running on another company’s crappy hardware, and he likewise was allergic to the thought of unapproved apps or content polluting the perfection of an Apple device. This ability to integrate hardware and software and content into one unified system enabled him to impose simplicity. The astronomer Johannes Kepler declared that “nature loves simplicity and unity.” So did Steve Jobs.

Excerpt 2

For Jobs, belief in an integrated approach was a matter of righteousness. “We do these things not because we are control freaks,” he explained. “We do them because we want to make great products, because we care about the user, and because we like to take responsibility for the entire experience rather than turn out the crap that other people make.” He also believed he was doing people a service: “They’re busy doing whatever they do best, and they want us to do what we do best. Their lives are crowded; they have other things to do than think about how to integrate their computers and devices.”

This approach sometimes went against Apple’s short-term business interests. But in a world filled with junky devices, inscrutable error messages, and annoying interfaces, it led to astonishing products marked by beguiling user experiences. Using an Apple product could be as sublime as walking in one of the Zen gardens of Kyoto that Jobs loved, and neither experience was created by worshipping at the altar of openness or by letting a thousand flowers bloom. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the hands of a control freak.

Jobs’s intensity was also evident in his ability to focus. He would set priorities, aim his laser attention on them, and filter out distractions. If something engaged him—the user interface for the original Macintosh, the design of the iPod and iPhone, getting music companies into the iTunes Store—he was relentless. But if he did not want to deal with something—a legal annoyance, a business issue, his cancer diagnosis, a family tug—he would resolutely ignore it. That focus allowed him to say no. He got Apple back on track by cutting all except a few core products. He made devices simpler by eliminating buttons, software simpler by eliminating features, and interfaces simpler by eliminating options.

He attributed his ability to focus and his love of simplicity to his Zen training. It honed his appreciation for intuition, showed him how to filter out anything that was distracting or unnecessary, and nurtured in him an aesthetic based on minimalism.

Unfortunately his Zen training never quite produced in him a Zen-like calm or inner serenity, and that too is part of his legacy. He was often tightly coiled and impatient, traits he made no effort to hide. Most people have a regulator between their mind and mouth that modulates their brutish sentiments and spikiest impulses. Not Jobs. He made a point of being brutally honest. “My job is to say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it,” he said. This made him charismatic and inspiring, yet also, to use the technical term, an asshole at times.

Andy Hertzfeld once told me, “The one question I’d truly love Steve to answer is, ‘Why are you sometimes so mean?’” Even his family members wondered whether he simply lacked the filter that restrains people from venting their wounding thoughts or willfully bypassed it. Jobs claimed it was the former. “This is who I am, and you can’t expect me to be someone I’m not,” he replied when I asked him the question. But I think he actually could have controlled himself, if he had wanted. When he hurt people, it was not because he was lacking in emotional awareness. Quite the contrary: He could size people up, understand their inner thoughts, and know how to relate to them, cajole them, or hurt them at will.

The nasty edge to his personality was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him. But it did, at times, serve a purpose. Polite and velvety leaders, who take care to avoid bruising others, are generally not as effective at forcing change. Dozens of the colleagues whom Jobs most abused ended their litany of horror stories by saying that he got them to do things they never dreamed possible.

Excerpt 3

The saga of Steve Jobs is the Silicon Valley creation myth writ large: launching a startup in his parents’ garage and building it into the world’s most valuable company. He didn’t invent many things outright, but he was a master at putting together ideas, art, and technology in ways that invented the future. He designed the Mac after appreciating the power of graphical interfaces in a way that Xerox was unable to do, and he created the iPod after grasping the joy of having a thousand songs in your pocket in a way that Sony, which had all the assets and heritage, never could accomplish. Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture. Others do so by mastering details. Jobs did both, relentlessly. As a result he launched a series of products over three decades that transformed whole industries.

Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. He was, indeed, an example of what the mathematician Mark Kac called a magician genius, someone whose insights come out of the blue and require intuition more than mere mental processing power. Like a pathfinder, he could absorb information, sniff the winds, and sense what lay ahead.

Steve Jobs thus became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.

Excerpt 4

The difference that Jony has made, not only at Apple but in the world, is huge. He is a wickedly intelligent person in all ways. He understands business concepts, marketing concepts. He picks stuff up just like that, click. He understands what we do at our core better than anyone. If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony. Jony and I think up most of the products together and then pull others in and say, “Hey, what do you think about this?” He gets the big picture as well as the most infinitesimal details about each product. And he understands that Apple is a product company. He’s not just a designer. That’s why he works directly for me. He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me. There’s no one who can tell him what to do, or to butt out. That’s the way I set it up.

Excerpt 5

When Jobs gathered his top management for a pep talk just after he became iCEO in September 1997, sitting in the audience was a sensitive and passionate thirty-year-old Brit who was head of the company’s design team. Jonathan Ive, known to all as Jony, was planning to quit. He was sick of the company’s focus on profit maximization rather than product design. Jobs’s talk led him to reconsider. “I remember very clearly Steve announcing that our goal is not just to make money but to make great products,” Ive recalled. “The decisions you make based on that philosophy are fundamentally different from the ones we had been making at Apple.” Ive and Jobs would soon forge a bond that would lead to the greatest industrial design collaboration of their era.

Ive grew up in Chingford, a town on the northeast edge of London. His father was a silversmith who taught at the local college. “He’s a fantastic craftsman,” Ive recalled. “His Christmas gift to me would be one day of his time in his college workshop, during the Christmas break when no one else was there, helping me make whatever I dreamed up.” The only condition was that Jony had to draw by hand what they planned to make. “I always understood the beauty of things made by hand. I came to realize that what was really important was the care that was put into it. What I really despise is when I sense some carelessness in a product.”

Ive enrolled in Newcastle Polytechnic and spent his spare time and summers working at a design consultancy. One of his creations was a pen with a little ball on top that was fun to fiddle with. It helped give the owner a playful emotional connection to the pen. For his thesis he designed a microphone and earpiece—in purest white plastic—to communicate with hearing-impaired kids. His flat was filled with foam models he had made to help him perfect the design. He also designed an ATM machine and a curved phone, both of which won awards from the Royal Society of Arts. Unlike some designers, he didn’t just make beautiful sketches; he also focused on how the engineering and inner components would work. He had an epiphany in college when he was able to design on a Macintosh. “I discovered the Mac and felt I had a connection with the people who were making this product,” he recalled. “I suddenly understood what a company was, or was supposed to be.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1669 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1684 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Great read about a very unconventional, non-vanilla guy

    I bought this book after seeing a promotional interview with Walter Isaacson and this book. I didn't know much about Steve Jobs or Apple. I have not been an avid Apple products devotee. This is a wonderful book! I found it to be a compelling read and had a hard time putting it down. Mr. Isaacson is a really good writer and I now plan on reading his biography of Benjamin Franklin. I now know that Steve Jobs was a very interesting individual following his own head and heart. Isaacson writing is SMOOTH. It is succinct, but not boringly so, treating Job's sometimes not so great personality characteristics as honestly as he treated his very good traits and his genius. And apparently both Jobs and his wife wanted it that way which was very wise on their part. To do otherwise would have been a mockery of his life. If Isaacson had an agenda while writing this book or about Jobs it doesn't come out in the book. I felt no tug pulling me toward or against Jobs. This is one of those books that stays with you. Fascinating man! It made me feel that I/we may be missing out because of the mediocrity that is so prevalent in this country. There just are not a lot of Jobs's around, we discourage them. One thing I wish Isaacson had given us. Some sense of what it was like for Jobs to grow up in his rather conventional family without having his unconventional genius squashed. From what little was said they sound like they were suppportive, but I would like to hear some details. Can you imagine if some little boy like Jobs was in your child's elementary school? How many of these creative geniuses are molded into conformity? Excellent read - buy it!

    95 out of 101 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    The only Steve Jobs biography which exposes Steve Jobs completely in terms of his work and personal philosophy. We finally know Steve as a mortal through this book.

    79 out of 115 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

    Shockingly revealing

    I was really anticipating reading this biography. We all know about Steve Jobs' claim to fame and he has been idolized by so many young, hip and technologically aware people. As a visionary, he deserves the hype. What a surprise when you read the book and see the real person behind "the stare". As I depressingly read each chapter, the only words that seem to come to mind are kook, somewhat insane, nastier than hell, manipulative, misanthrope, and disloyal to friends. He is a one-man study in what an ambitious but mentally disturbed, amoral person is capable of. He is NOT a model person but a great example of self-absorbed egotism run amok. However, he was in the right time and place and has earned billions for his technological designs and ideas including some he stole or finessed from other companies and his employees; so he was well rewarded. But that is all he was. As a human being, he was a FAILURE!

    36 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

    The Discussion Of Steve Jobs Formative Years Needs To Be Expanded

    This is a very comprehensive book that details all aspects of Steve Jobs life and work bar one. Details about his formative years are sketchy. Walter Isaacson did not interview the one living person, adopted sister Patty Jobs, who could enlighten him more about interactions in the Jobs household that helped form Steve Jobs. Living relatives of Paul or Clara Jobs, his adoptive parents, were also not interviewed. Isaacson places more emphasis upon his biological parents. It seems that the literary works of Mona Simpson, Jobs biological sister, over influenced Isaacson. Even when there is a strong father figure in a home, mothers do help to form their children's personality. Clara Jobs gets no more than a few lines in a 600+ page book. Patty Jobs is mentioned only once or twice in passing. Research shows that she is still living and works at De Anza College in the payroll department, a position similar to that of her late mother. Hopefully a later biography will delve more thoroughly into Steve Jobs formative years.

    35 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    This Generation's John Lennon

    What John Lennon was to music Steve Jobs is to technology. They both revolutionize their respected fields and both were taken from the world too soon.

    22 out of 73 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I'm sure this will be a good read

    Walter Isaacson is a great biographer (as evidenced in his book about Benjamin Franklin), I'm sure this one won't be a disappointment.

    21 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    INTERESTING< NOT GREAT

    I have read business books on and off for many years, and only in the past few years have I given up on most of them. This book is another example of why I did so. Not Isaacson's best writing by any means, the book seems like a last minute attempt by a savvy, intelligent Steve Jobs to leave his message behind, and "hire" a writer to do it. It fails to do so, and only gives us a picture of the man that may make him cetainly more human, but also highly unlikeable. I am afraid that beyond the fans, this one will end up in the discount area of B&N quickly, like so many of it's ilk. Steve, you may have deserved better, or maybe you should have left well enough alone... time will tell. Still, I would wait for the price to go down, or skip altogether

    20 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2011

    So Sad

    I wish we would let those that we admire how much we appreciate them while they're still alive.

    15 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Thorough and Fair

    Isaacson maintained his objectivity throughout the book, with only rare - and refeshing - comments indicating he actually likes Jobs. The book is better for it.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Have some respect

    I can't believe some of the things I'm reading from people here. Show some respect. I for one am really looking forward to reading the book and think Steve Jobs was a pioneer and one of the most influential people of all time in moving us forward. Thanks to the author and the publisher for putting this out.

    14 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

    Buy it!

    I have never been much into autobiographies. I had to read them when I was younger, and never enjoyed them. Walter Isaacson however, has written an autobiography that I am still thoroughly enjoying. I just can't put it down! Mr Isaacson has written a very interesting, deep, well written book, about one of America's modern iconic entrepreneurs!

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    Fascinating, well-written if a bit selective... I had the pleas

    Fascinating, well-written if a bit selective...

    I had the pleasure of reading the biography on the day it was out. I've read it a few times since then. I'm one of those who's had the good fortune (curse?) of sharing the space inside Steve's RDF many times. During my years at Apple I had many discussions with Steve, and I'm proud to say that for a time once he used to stop by my desk to personally inquire into some of the stuff I was doing. I can't explain the feeling when this happened - a mixture of fear and flattery'd sum it up best, from someone who I remember to have both praised and trashed my work, unpredictably I'd add.

    Once I'd developed a rather cool algorithm for audio enhancement which my colleagues spent a lot of sleepless nights to put together into a demo. I still remember the day when Steve stopped by, listened to less than 5 seconds of our demo and instantly trashed it with words that dare not repeat here, and berated me for having wasted my time. It was one of my bitterest experiences, but in some years, strange as it is, I got to relish it - call me a masochist. I think I took pride in the fact that Steve took the trouble to actually check out what I was doing, even though he was totally [ reworded the previous word :-) to keep the review PG13 ] insensitive in his reaction.

    I know many colleagues who had similar experiences and I would have thought that incidents like these would make excellent anecdotal reading material for the book. I looked for them and couldn't find a single one in the book, even though I found many other anecdotes that were discussed in unwarranted depth which do less justice to the picture of Steve the complex man. There are also folks at Apple who I hold in very high regard and by who Steve was also influenced highly. But I don't find them in the book. And then there's Tribble (coiner of RDF) who's been at Apple since god knows when, and Steve trusted enough to assign to one of the most important early projects. He figures in the book in a few short sections, but is not mentioned in the cast of characters.

    I guess you have to be selective when it comes to writing a voluminous work like this. Its definitely interesting. Still I think it'd have been better if it was more inclusive and described all the juicy experiences that more of us can remember. I mean, if you're gonna write a big fat book, what's the problem with adding a few more pages?

    I recommend this book highly to everyone, whether Apple employee or not. It's worth many reads and for those of us like me, it brings back many memories, fond ones and not-so-fond-ones. But eventually the fond ones win over.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Awesome book

    Awesome book so far.

    8 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2011

    Insightful, inspiring and emotionally moving

    This was a much better book than I expected it to be. It was interesting where the author chose to delve into extraordinary detail and where he flew over what seemed like big pieces of the Jobs puzzle but all-in-all the book was a pragmatic retelling of a great man who was deeply in pain for his entire life.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Great read

    I did not know much about Steve Jobs before reading this book and in fact the only apple products I have ever owned are ipods. It is a great read and perhaps a great marketing tool as I now want am interested in more apple products :)

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Best book ever

    Im reading this book and im only10 years old.

    6 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Just read the book!!!

    To offset those who complain about the cost of eBooks.....anyone who can spend the money for a Nook/Kindle can surely afford the cost of this book. Go back to the paper version and stop using this place to air your gripes.

    All that I've seen about this book intriques me and I will surely read it whether as a hard cover or eBook. Steve Jobs is one of the most brilliant Americans of our generation and his story will definitely be discussed and reviewed for years to come.

    6 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Great book!

    This is very well written and is very interesing.

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    STEVE JOBS

    Hopefully, he is on his iCloud, playing Angry Birds on his iPad, texting his buddies on his iPhone, while listening to iTunes. If any one should, it is him. He started everything our world has become. RIP

    5 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Book was well written, but Jobs isn't so great.

    Steve Jobs may have been an innovator, but that doesn't mean that he contributed to society.

    There are people who deserve respect and I do believe Jobs is not one of them. He has a lot of money and yes, he died of cancer. No, I will not treat him any differently because of that like many of you do. He could've spent some many to help fund cancer research, but as far as my knowledge goes, he didn't. I find that awfully selfish and because of that I refuse to think of him any differently than another greedy, one-sided, dirty man.

    4 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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