About 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 Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and of 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.
Date of Birth:May 20, 1952
Place of Birth:New Orleans, LA
Education:Harvard, B.A. in History and Literature, 1974; Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics
Read an Excerpt
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Table of Contents
Introduction: How This Book Came to Be xvii
Chapter 1 Childhood: Abandoned and Chosen 1
Chapter 2 Odd Couple: The Two Steves 21
Chapter 3 The Dropout: Turn On, Tune In 31
Chapter 4 Atari and India: Zen and the Art of Game Design 42
Chapter 5 The Apple I: Turn On, Boot Up, Jack In 56
Chapter 6 The Apple II: Dawn of a New Age 71
Chapter 7 Chrisann and Lisa: He Who Is Abandoned… 86
Chapter 8 Xerox and Lisa: Graphical User Interfaces 92
Chapter 9 Going Public: A Man of Wealth and Fame 102
Chapter 10 The Mac Is Born: You Say You Want a Revolution 108
Chapter 11 The Reality Distortion Field: Playing by His Own Set of Rules 117
Chapter 12 The Design: Real Artists Simplify 125
Chapter 13 Building the Mac: The Journey Is the Reward 135
Chapter 14 Enter Sculley: The Pepsi Challenge 148
Chapter 15 The Launch: A Dent in the Universe 159
Chapter 16 Gates and Jobs: When Orbits Intersect 171
Chapter 17 Icarus: What Goes Up 180
Chapter 18 NeXT: Prometheus Unbound 211
Chapter 19 Pixar: Technology Meets Art 238
Chapter 20 A Regular Guy: Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word 250
Chapter 21 Family Man: At Home with the Jobs Clan 267
Chapter 22 Toy Story: Buzz and Woody to the Rescue 284
Chapter 23 The Second Coming: What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last 293
Chapter 24 The Restoration: The Loser Now Will Be Later to Win 305
Chapter 25 Think Different: Jobs as iCEO 327
Chapter 26 Design Principles: The Studio of Jobs and Ive 340
Chapter 27 The iMac: Hello (Again) 348
Chapter 28 CEO: Still Crazy after All These Years 358
Chapter 29 Apple Stores: Genius Bars and Siena Sandstone 368
Chapter 30 The Digital Hub: From iTunes to the iPod 378
Chapter 31 The iTunes Store: I'm the Pied Piper 394
Chapter 32 Music Man: The Sound Track of His Life 411
Chapter 33 Pixar's Friends:… and Foes 426
Chapter 34 Twenty-first-century Macs: Setting Apple Apart 444
Chapter 35 Round One: Memento Mori 452
Chapter 36 The iPhone: Three Revolutionary Products in One 465
Chapter 37 Round Two: The Cancer Recurs Aid 476
Chapter 38 The iPad: Into the Post-PC Era 490
Chapter 39 New Battles: And Echoes of Old Ones 511
Chapter 40 To Infinity: The Cloud, the Spaceship, and Beyond 525
Chapter 41 Round Three: The Twilight Struggle 538
Chapter 42 Legacy: The Brightest Heaven of Invention 560
Reading Group Guide
In a clear, elegant biographical voice, Walter Isaacson provides an unflinching portrait of the most important technological and innovative personality of the modern era: Apple’s founder and chief thinker, Steve Jobs. Through a series of unprecedented interviews with Jobs—as well as interviews with more than 100 friends, family members, colleagues, adversaries, admirers, and imitators—Isaacson documents the transformation of an ambitious Silicon Valley whiz kid into one of the most feared and respected business leaders of his generation and quite possibly of all time; arriving at some hard truths about a man who defined the intersection of art and technology for the digital age and the future to come.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss Jobs’ harsh binary system of appraisal. Why do you think it worked so well in tangent with his style of leadership? Do you think there is merit in living to such high standards? Is it unrealistic or ultimately impractical?
2. Which do you think is more beneficial for the future of technology: end-to-end hardware and software integration or open and customizable systems? Do you agree with Jobs that good products can only come from closed, centralized environments? Why or why not?
3. Chapter 11 is titled “The Reality Distortion Field: Playing by His Own Set of Rules.” Discuss this term and how it is used to both compliment and criticize Jobs. How did Jobs’ “reality distortion field” influence those around him? Do you think this kind of denial or warping of expectations should be used to motivate employees?
4. Do you view Apple as representative of the alternative counterculture Steve Jobs originated from, or part of a techno-corporate “Big Brother” that he so ardently railed against?
5. Discuss Apple’s revitalization after Jobs’ return, particularly the distillation of Apple’s offerings from a slew of products to only a handful. Is there some inherent risk in limiting your projects and “trimming the fat?” Do you think this is a business model other technology companies should follow? Why or why not? In your opinion, does it afford greater focus or limit a company’s potential?
6. Consider the core tenets of Jobs’ vision: poetry connected to engineering, bold and simple design, the intersection of technology and liberal arts, and ease of use through end-to-end integration. How does Apple and its products exemplify these ideals?
7. Isaacson writes, “The theory, shared by many, is that the tough love made him wiser and more mature. But it’s not that simple. At the company he founded after being ousted from Apple, Jobs was able to indulge all of his instincts, both good and bad. He was unbound. The result was a series of spectacular products that were dazzling market flops. This was the true learning experience. What prepared him for the great success he would have in Act III was not his ouster from Act I at Apple but his brilliant failures in Act II.” Do you share this opinion? Discuss Jobs’ time with NeXT and his involvement with Pixar in your answer. How did these ventures ready him for a powerful return to the company he founded?
8. Jobs’ is quoted as saying, “I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company.” Can a streamlined company spawn innovation more so than a single creative individual? Is Jobs’ greatest legacy his operational approach or Apple as a larger corporate entity?
9. How did Jobs approach industry competitors? Consider the statement he made at the 1997 Macworld conference: “‘Apple lives in an ecosystem…It needs help from other partners. Relationships that are destructive don’t help anybody in this industry.’” Did he always adhere to this principle of partnerships and existing within an ecosystem?
10. Discuss the merits and pitfalls of Jobs’ obsession with design—from Apple products, to paint color in its factories, to retail spaces, and even the look of Lee Clow’s advertisements. Consider the following quote from Jobs in your response: “Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers.”
11. Consider Apple’s approach to brand marketing and advertisement. What is the ultimate goal in Apple’s advertising? Discuss the “Think Different” campaign of 1997. What was the campaign’s message? How did it position Apple’s products and corporate identity? Consider the following quote in your response: “It was designed to celebrate not what the computers could do, but what creative people could do with the computers.” Why is this an important distinction?
12. Jobs held closely to Mike Markkula’s edict that a good company must “impute”—that everything from packaging to marketing must convey a product’s value and concept. How does Apple accomplish this? Can you think of any other products that you consume or interact with that also “impute”?
13. Jobs was convinced that a consumer did not know what they want—that often it was up to innovators to predict what the next great necessity or commodity would be. Do you agree? How can this basic principle be applied to all forms of business? What do you envision the “next big thing” to be?
14. How has your perspective of Apple as a corporate entity and of Steve Jobs as an individual changed after reading this biography? Would you ever want to work for someone like Steve Jobs? Why or why not?
15. Jobs had a penchant for taking his passion to the smallest levels, going so far as to trade barbs with bloggers and interact with consumers. Should a CEO be involved on the ground level of the corporation? How did Jobs’ personal commitment to defending his products and his company’s contribute to his iconology?
Enhance Your Discussion
1. Visit a local Apple store and note the design and layout of the space. Is the store successful in “imputing?” Is each function of the store’s sections intuitive through its design? What kind of emotional, visual, and intellectual response do you have when you enter an Apple store?
2. Reflect on how Apple products have influenced your daily life. What Apple products do you own? How have these devices impacted how you work, how you communicate, or how you ingest media?
3. Use your critical eye to consider the functions of furniture and appliances in your household. Is the product efficient? Isthere a connection between design and functionality? Do you see any room for improvement or innovation? How could Jobs’ principle of simplicity in design improve these everyday products?
4. Watch one of Jobs’ Apple keynote presentations. How would you describe his presentation style? His communication style? How does he build excitement and intrigue? For the full archive of Apple keynote presentations and announcements, visit http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/apple-keynotes/id275834665.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.
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!
Isaacson maintained his objectivity throughout the book, with only rare - and refeshing - comments indicating he actually likes Jobs. The book is better for 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!
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.
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.
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 :)
I thought this book was well writen but I felt Mr. Isaacson was too emotionally connected to his subject. It wasn't outright Steve Jobs/Apple propaganda but it did skirt a fine line at some points. The book spends most of it's time trying to make you like a complete jerk. People like Steve Jobs because of the success of Apple. I do agree that he refocused the company, got rid of the excess projects and provided much of the inspiration for the great products that Apple makes but he was a jerk and you can't explain away the manner that he treated people. Especially the way he treated his daughters. The authored seemed to want to spin his actions so that we would want to rationalize his behaviour and eventually accept it.
I am a first year doctoral nursing student. Suffice to say I am no computer whiz....;) Couldn't put this book down, and as a matter of fact, read it over the course of three days. What a complex, fascinating human being. My hat goes off to you, Mr. Jobs. You changed ALL of our lives......
Steve Jobs was an American genius, someone who changed all our lives, innovating like none other, an inspiration to the business world. This books reveals his human side and more personal aspects as well, maybe not as complimentary as the rest of his accomplishments. A wonderful book of a unique individual
It is impossible to deny the fact that Steve Jobs had a great influence on our current way of life. Though, as one may expect, there are many varying opinions about what kind of a man Steven Paul Jobs really was. Many make up their mind about Jobs based on what they hear online and from the people around them, and I believe it's not fair to judge a person without first getting a solid idea of who they are. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a wonderfully composed biography of Steve Jobs that one absolutely must read before drawing conclusions. Tying in interviews from a great deal of people who were close, and not so close, to him, Isaacson goes into depth about Jobs's life from the beginning to end. The biography gives the great, the not-so-great, and everything else about Jobs while not attempting to sway the readers' mind. Jobs himself ordered Isaacson to write accurately about him and never read any of what was written. In typical Jobs fashion, however, the only part he played was in the look of the cover. This level headedness is clear throughout the biography and makes it a pleasure to read. As a result, I would recommend that anyone who wants to know more about Steve Jobs ,or anyone who thinks they don't want to know more, read this book. I would also recommend it to those interested in the evolution of technology within the last few decades. Not only is it fascinating to learn about Jobs's behavior at work and with his family, it is surprising how much of an impact so few people have had on our everyday life right now. As a whole, Steve Jobs's biography by Walter Isaacson would satisfy Steve's expectations, which is all that really needs to be said.
Very interesting, warts-and-all biography of a very important and complicated character. The author is respectful, but not flattering or fawning - just honest.
This brutally truthful book is written with care and touches every essential detail to create a great picture of Steve Jobs and his era in development of the computer and software business. It takes the reader from the early computer development we (older readers) all remember and had some involvement, as a developer, builder or a (unfortunate) user. While reminiscing, reader understands why one had to struggle through the slow development process of both Macs or Microsoft based (IBM PC) computers. We all paid our share of $2000 from our small budgets to get a somewhat working computer in our homes to realize that it was obsoleted in mere one to two years. While some of us needed to build our own from a kit purchased through the mail. Meanwhile it draws an honest picture of Jobs as a ruthless manager and an effective leader from the original Apple I computer to the LISA to Macintosh to iPod and iPad.. At times it hurts to continue reading about his nonsense behavior which is depicted with honesty and clarity. I highly recommend it to all ages to understand how the computers and the computer industry developed, what was Apple's and Microsoft's roles and contributions, road-blocks. It did not happen overnight!
Terrific & really well done.....history lesson as to how it started & where we are today....amazing....top 10 reads this year....Jobs was & is everything as advertised....
Before reading this book I knew very little about Apple and Steve Jobs. This book has changed that and the way I look at business and the people I have working for me. Plain and simple... Read this bo ok or settle for less in life.
Not only did I learn about Steve Jobs, but I got a wonderful lesson about branding your product. Fantastic book. I could not put it down.
Best biography i've ever read
This book tells you everything about Steve Jobs and his company I recommend this book to any one who likes the iphone, ipod,ipad,imac,ect. This is also a great book for anyone at any age.
Like I said it's quite good bio, when I was reading the book I felt that I am a friend of Steve. Firsty I want to say that Steve an incredible man with his all bad behaviors. Okay maybe you think he is a jerk but he is absolutely a special guy who giving direction to technology. He had different vision in technology and of course art so he founded two great company, Apple and Pixar. Secondly if I return to the book, it is a wide book you can read every moment of his life. I really like style of Walter Isaacson and I'll read his other biographies. Finally I think all technology lovers like me must read this book.
Just a fantastic account of the driving force behind all the neat little gadgets we get to enjoy today.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a must read for those who want to get insight into a man who has transformed the world. Jobs influence has changed the computing, music, and movie industry. Isaacson’s past works on center on individuals who merge creativity and science. This book received Jobs blessings and also is a candid assessment of his short life. Isaacson traces Jobs from his biological parents and growing up in the loving home of his adopted ones. Jobs comes away as much more complex character than his turtle neck public persona. Here was an individual who lived as an Zen Buddhist way to be detached from material things, but create products that individuals coveted as an extension of themselves. Jobs was relentless to push the envelope and force the world to view itself through a different lens. This book is also revealing in his personal relationships and the pain and joy he experienced from them. Even though the book is a bit over 600 pages, you glide over the material and are left with a better appreciation form
Did not expect Jobs to have such a bizarre personality and disrespect for others My image of his greatness has changed His failures are drawn out too long for the average reader. Maybe tech folks will enjoy the details. I found the characters difficult to remember throughout the book. First on Jobs good side, then later not , then back in good graces. Overall, not what i had hoped for.
This was one weird, eccentric and compulsive men i have ever read about. Yet one of the most brilliant and creative minds i have ever read about as well. This was our modern day Henry Ford or Benjamin Franklins. Highly recommend reading this book if you like business, technology or just find peoples lives interesting.