3Jane Tessier-Ashpool's Reviews > Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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Nov 15, 11

Read in November, 2011

My background is as a post-1979 punk rocker. So naturally I view all dope-gorging smelly long hair Dylan-worshiping hippies with a certain amount of suspicion and disdain.

The author shows, on a page-by-page basis, what an insufferable asshole Steve Jobs was. I'm not exaggerating. But the book left me wondering: why? how did he become this way?

The book is fairly well researched, but except for a precious few anecdotes about his youth, very little is said about his upbringing. I'd really like to know more about his family dynamic. What was his parents' parenting style? The book says NOTHING about the adopted sister he grew up with. Anyone who has grown up with siblings can attest to the influence of siblings on their personality. To me the lack of insight into his teen and pre-teen life leaves a glaring hole in understanding the man.

My opinion of Steve Jobs: The ends don't justify the means. I don't care how creative or driven you are; you're not allowed to be an asshole to your fellow human beings.
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Dries I still need to read this book. Now i am not sure if I am looking forward to it more or don't want to read it at all. Thank you.


Vibin JK My views exactly. The media has gone over the top on praising him. As a human being, he's not worth a book.


Samlouras Read it & decide for yourself...


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Cupples Sometimes being an asshole is outweighed by your contributions in life. Its also very rich that a self proclaimed "punk" is dissing the long hair and smell from a hippie, but, whatever. I'll try to remain on point instead of getting personal. No one worked at Apple at gunpoint while Jobs was there. Actually, it was quite the opposite, with the brightest tech minds trying to get there, and when they did, they made a ton of money. Yes, it is true that "assholes" yell at subordinates, demand perfection, and give people a hard time. They're also the people that push others beyond what they thought they could do, which is a consistent thing that people said in the book about Jobs ("I didn't think I could do it, but he somehow knew I could").
And you're wrong on the parenting for Jobs. It was substantially in the book. I can't waste time on people that get offended so easily, so I'll just say, bye bye punk loser.


Loraine Yes. You do make a good point about there being a definite lack in shading in his childhood years. I was often wondering if he was always that way, as a child, or if something happened in his life to turn him into such a crass and emotionally careless person. I feel like Isaacson does a lot to justify and brush off his mental and verbal abuse as a byproduct of his genius.


message 6: by Mario (last edited Jan 03, 2012 08:38AM) (new)

Mario García As a 1976 metal-head -just joking, that was exactly the kind of insights I was looking for. Thanks for saving me from a useless buy.


StefO Agree with the lack of noted foundation for his prickliness. Genetics?Environment? Aspergers? How was he charismatic? Isaacson left room for a sequel.


Warnie Pritchett You're kidding, right? The book goes into detail about Jobs feeling abandoned and disconnected, and that's why he ended up having next to no internal filter (thus, an asshole). I'm not defending the way he treated others - I agree many instances were appalling, especially his treatment of people he called his "friends". By the way, I'm a fan of occasional brutal honesty. Sometimes people need to hear the truth even if it hurts their feelings to motivate them to get better. You can't always mollycoddle people and expect results. If that makes me an asshole too in your view, so be it.


StefO There are plenty of people who have issues, serious ones, who aren't abusive to people they LIKE. I felt it was inconclusive. He's a genius, which he believed gave him the right to behave however he chose. The people around him gave up certain boundaries (i assume they had) in order to work for him. I admired his drive, his focus, his conceptualization, and his insistence on great design rather than just function, but there has to be more than"he was adopted" to account for him being an awful person. I think you have to read between the lines of Isaacson's bio; he had to be worse than reported. I'm just looking for the hook here. I think there are genius's who maybe odd, or fixated, or self-involved, but like people. This guy didn't like anyone who didn't service him. He dismissed his own daughters and was chided by his wife into being a father to them. What is that?


message 10: by Elyssia (new)

Elyssia Spellsinger I completely support your opinion!


message 11: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Waddell So Gerard, I guess you missed the fact that Steve was adopted, and that Isaacson clearly states this as being a core reason for his Beauvoir. I'm not condoning it, far from it, but the book cleraly explains this. Review th book, not the person!


Laxmikanth Dorai You don't get him. Don't you?


message 13: by Nevermore (new)

Nevermore Being adopted is not that unique! Plenty of people are adopted and don't grow up to be assholes. It sounded like he had a good childhood - I don't know why so much is made of the fact he was adopted, as long as his adoptive parents gave him plenty of love. They seemed to be extremely loving parents.


Nicholas M I view music where you can't easily understand the screaming lyrics with about the same amount of suspicion, like someone who cares more about drawing attention to themselves than actually fighting for their causes. Case in point: punk rockers who hate Bono for doing what they claim they believe in (One, Red, Coexist). Anyhow, Steve Jobs is the same brand of person whose message actually reached a large audience, and the review should rate the book, not the person.


Brett His being an asshole in no way outweighs contributions ... As we all sit here writing these from a PC or Mac with a GUI, use our smartphones everyday, tablets, watch computer animated movies with our kids, listen to digital music on our phones, etc. I'm willing to trade him being an asshole for how much he inspired/pushed others and changed the world.


Cheryl I haven't read the book yet, but from the various reviews and from other things I have read about Steve Jobs it seems that he had some type of mental disability. Assuming that is true, he was able to contribute a lot to society and if not true then maybe he was what many people have been describing him.


message 17: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Juneau I recall his childhood being detailed with the fact his parent weren't all that strict with him - save for one fight with his dad over pot use. They totally supported any of his interests in learning, and working as a youth. This kind of nurturing, where a child/youth isn't told they "can't" or told "no" much, they can grow to believe they can do/achieve what they want, how they want - very Steve Jobs.


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