With 7265 ratings
By: Walter Isaacson, Dylan Baker, et al.
Purchased At: $22.00
Featuring a new epilogue read by the author.
From the author of the best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs.
Based on more than 40 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 21st 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. 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.
What I found out about the early years and the development of the personal computer was fascinating. I do remember a lot of the news articles from those years - I was living in San Francisco at the time and a good friend of mine worked for Apple - but I would not consider myself previously knowledgeable about Apple in any comprehensive way. I learned so much of the nuts and bolts of Apple Computer, Inc., from this book. The chapters about the creation of the iPod, iPhone and iPad were very interesting to someone who has used these products for years and years and feels she has some proficiency using what they offer me.
But the insight I gained from the book on Steve Jobs the man left me very sad. While I consider him to have been a true genius with an almost other-worldly imagination, I can't imagine that I would have liked him very much or respected him outside of his professional arena. As the founder and developer of Apple Computer, he was spectacular. He had an intense imagination, vision, and belief in things that had yet to be discovered. He was fortunate enough to find those people who had the same precise work ethic that he did. To find those people and to hone the abilities of the ones who stayed, he had no reservations about crushing their substandard efforts or their feelings. The ones who lasted were the ones who believed in his vision and their Jobs-given opportunity to indulge and demonstrate their own creativity. The ones who lasted were the best and brightest the tech and artistic world had to offer. The ones who lasted were the ones who took his ideas and made them into our reality. I am profoundly grateful to them and to him for the advances they made in technology and artistry. And I guess the one cannot exist without the other. Without his exact personality would the tech world have been turned on its ear and eventually controlled by Apple? I don't know. Actually I doubt it.
In terms of his family, it seemed as if his attention to them was given only when it was not required or demanded elsewhere. His children were discussed very little; the same is true about Laurene Powell, his wife. But it is clear that in his wife he found the one person who was his equal in intelligence and commitment. Their marriage is portrayed as strong but him as absent.
The sections on his cancer and eventual death were moving but not enough to make me feel for him as a person. I am sorry he died but my sorrow has to do with the loss of him professionally and what he might have accomplished and achieved had he lived but not with the loss of him as a man. And yet I can recognize his genius and I'm glad I read the book.
What I learned: Out of all the books I have so far, this one has the biggest impact on my current work. That impact being an obsession on getting the product right. There are many lessons and experts that convince you to be lean and test the smallest hypothesis which is a great strategy but sometimes, you need to follow your gut. When I started reading this book, I had just finished designing out a feature that would encourage much more interaction with our product but was meant to be in a later version. I kept having a feeling that it needed to be put in as soon as possible and reading about Jobs’ gut feelings and obsession for getting it right, pushed me to follow my own feeling and I believe it was a huge decision. Another thing I learned from this book is exactly how I don’t want to treat people. Maybe I am too much of an optimist but I believe that being nice is one of the greatest attributes you can have. I don’t mean you should be a doormat but genuinely wanting to find the best outcome for all parties involved is just right. The way that Jobs treated everyone around him is unacceptable and it is the one thing that will constantly cause an asterisk to be by his name. I learned a lot from this book and I believe it will continue to have a huge effect on my life moving forward.
I remember the 1984 unveiling of the Mac and was one of the first in line when it came out. I recognized the revolutionary nature of it and had to have one. I've been in and out of the Mac culture over the years but followed Apple from afar. The Sculley years were less than inspiring after Jobs left and it was very interesting to have a behind the scenes view of the Apple history. Well done!
I recommend to read this, to those who love apple and Jobs but I insist to those who hate him. You will love him by the time you reach the end and wish there was more to read.
Believed first and foremost in making great things before making money. Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are. The goal of starting a company is to make something you believe in and that will last, not to get rich. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - "less but better". To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. Design must reflect a product's essence. Good execution is as important as a great idea. A-players like to work together, not tolerate B-players. You can't afford to tolerate the B-players. Even the aspects that remain hidden should be done beautifully - a great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet just because it isn't seen (how many CEO's behave like that as opposed to finding cost-cuts?). Don't accept "no" for an answer, even if it means adopting a "reality distortion field". Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint. If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say "we'll fix it later" - that's what other companies do! Motivations really matter - if you don't love music, don't create a music product. The best way to begin a speech is to say "let me tell you a story", because nobody wants a lecture. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose: memento mori. "Here's to the crazy ones".
Steve Jobs was one crazy guy. He was into spirituality, but he didn't seem to be spiritual at all really. In a weird way he spiritualised products while denigrating fellow human beings. He served humanity by making elegant technology, not by maintaining healthy relationships with those around him.
From a business perspective, it was inspiring to read about his commitment to the vision: the passion for simplicity. The founding of the Apple store, the drive and courage to produce the iPod, iPad and iPhone, the stories are powerful and uplifting . Indeed the story is a big part of his business success - Ross Perot paraphrased it and got a lot of it wrong, but people wanted to retell it because it inspired people.
His genius for selling manifested at his product launches. He was at ease making multi-million dollar deals. He didn't try and play God - there were loads of people who felt cheated by him, but he wasn't bothered. The Pixar subplot was astonishing. To have played such a role in animation, on top of everything else, was just incredible.
But as a human being, he was an untreated compulsive. He was insanely fussy in his demands of Apple technologists, but he showed the same attitude to the people who cooked for him, or treated him for his illness.
I loved the book and read it in a week. I feel I need to have a bigger vision for my life and business for the next 10 years - so I'm grateful for that.
After reading this book, I am full of admiration for the genius of this man and the incredible legacy he has left behind for us all. I was fortunate, in that we chose it for our Self Development bookclub, and were therefore able to stretch it over 5 sessions. It allowed us to do justice to the book.
A surprising man for a surprising time.
First of all, I think Walter Isaacson did a great job putting this together. I covers all the major aspects of Steve's life and as much as I can tell, it's a fairly objective presentation of the man as he really was. I am a big fan of Apple and have been since the mid nineties. That said, one of my great frustrations is when people in business talk about the need to be "more like Apple", as if it's a tangible choice. It's like saying to win the 100 metres at the Olympics, you just need to run like Usain Bolt - it's not untrue but it's not especially helpful. In my view the book gave some insight into what made Steve Jobs and Apple successful and it also illustrated some of the behaviors that nearly destroyed Apple, many of them manifested personally by Steve Jobs. I find myself asking if you can reach the highest heights in business without burning bridges as you go. It always takes me back to Bernard Shaw..."The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man." To be the "unreasonable man" (and Steve Jobs could clearly be unreasonable), is an easy enough strategy to take. However, success depends on so much more than choosing to be unreasonable by itself and for many of us perhaps it's a sure fire strategy to achieving less.
So if you have an interest in Apple, Steve Jobs, innovation or building business, this book will definitely have something in it for you!
I like the part which describes Steve’s Distortion Reality Field and simplicity is ultimate sophistication.
I recommend this book to the Apple product users. I am a big fan and used of most Apple product (and now became fan of Steve Jobs) while reading this book I could correlated all the sequence of event happened in Apple and how the great products were made.
Well written Walter.
The story of Steve Jobs and Apple is an mind-boggling spectacular one, and for the extraordinary insight into the man and the company this book is superb. Jobs was, in many ways, a monstrous personality, prone to extreme bullying, abuse and ludicrously unreasonable behaviour. And yet clearly he possessed a magic and a charisma that not only drew people, despite those traits, to him, but inspired profound loyalty and indeed affection.
On those terms, I really enjoyed the book, and I'd definitely recommend to anybody business or entrepreneurially minded, and more generally if you're interested in technology, or just flawed humanity.
All that being said, as a general read I found it plodding and dull, with extremely pedestrian and flat prose. Jobs was a mysterious, almost mystical, figure in many ways, and the absence of even the tiniest element of poetry from the writing loses something, I think. This happened, that happened, he said this, they said that, they met here, he went there. Dull dull dull.
Still, the writing wasn't by any means enough to put me off, and it certainly doesn't get in the way, it just doesn't add anything beyond the factual representations.
All told, definitely recommended for an insight into one of the worlds most extraordinary businessmen.
Jobs' somewhat strange personal behaviour was something I did not know about until I read this book and overall I felt the Author has produced an excellent, comprehensive and well rounded portrait of a man whose influence on our lives still reverberates years after his death and in all probability will continue to do so for many years to come.
I've spent almost 40 years in manufacturing industry, small and large, private and public, including running my own business and nothing I've experienced would have prepared me for dealing with boss like Mr Jobs. But then no company I've worked for has shown such growth or moved the market in the way his companies did - other than possibly the last few years of my own business, before we sold it.
Did I learn anything? Yes, I did. Could I employ what I learnt? No, not in my present employment: the corporate giant would not appreciate the Jobs style of risk taking and communication.
The book is fascinating, an easy read and should be read by everyone working in a management position within manufacturing industry. But it should be considered a text book for the budding entrepreneur. The message, believe in your vision, remain focussed on targets you can manage and don't get involved in unimportant detail are fundamental.