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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Posted by Caitie F on December 24, 2011

Title: Steve Jobs
Author: Walter Isaacson
Hardcover: 630 pages
Pub Date:  10/24/11
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

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.


I am a Mac. I have been one since I got my first iPod in 2006 (though I didn’t get my first Mac computer until 2009). I love Apple products. I really want an iPad. People keep suggesting that I get another tablet because “it is just as good”. Well one thing this book shows you is that nothing is “just as good” as an Apple product. Things go into them that don’t go into any other technological product because Steve Jobs knew that everything had to be beautiful, even if people didn’t see it.

He made us need what we didn’t know that we even wanted. I can’t imagine going back to CDs…or even my Zune which barely worked most of the time!

The greatest thing about this biography though was that it didn’t just show this brilliant side of Steve Jobs, it showed that he could be a real asshole.  He treated people around him like shit. Those people, for the most part, talk about him in this book and forgive him because they knew him and what he did. I don’t think I could forgive him that much.

He was kind of the epitome of what is bad with corporate America. All his products are made in China because it is “too hard to build a plant in the US with the regulations”. So…he would build here if it meant he could pollute the country even more and pay workers next to nothing. Nice. He wasn’t philanthropic at all…so much so that he never even attended the events that his wife ran to help disadvantaged kids go to college. He thought he knew how to change schools without ever dealing with students. He parked in handicap spaces even when he was just fine. He constantly told people around him that they were shit and hurt hundreds of people in the process. He took credit for ideas that weren’t his and was just a bad guy.

Yet he was also a genius who changed our world. He gave us the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. He made a better mouse, a better OS, and a better computer. He first saved Pixar, then helped them build a relationship with Iger and Disney. He was a visionary and the Edison of his time.

This biography shows all sides of Jobs and does it beautifully. Biographies can be dull and read very slowly, but this did not. I was enraptured the entire time and love every moment. I hope Isaacson writes more biographies on the greats of our time because he perfectly blended facts, anecdotes, and insights on this great and troubled man.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interesting in the innovators and geniuses, if they are a Mac or a PC.


2 Responses to “Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson”

  1. I bought this when it first came out and can’t wait to read it.

  2. […] Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson […]

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