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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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Nov 17, 11

Read in November, 2011

I am a little surprised this book ended up being such a disappointment. Walter Isaacson just doesn't know that much about the tech industry and, despite the opportunity and access, didn't learn enough to make it interesting. The one saving grace was the participation of Steve Jobs, his friends, and family, and this alone rescues the book from a lower rating.

Granted, this biography is meant for a mass audience, not someone who is a regular listener of Apple podcasts (yes, like me). The early chapters are fine, though others have pointed out it's largely cribbed from previous books. I was the least familiar with this era, and especially unaware to the extent Jobs was... sorry, it's only way to put this: a fucking whiny little bitch. Every few pages he's crying to get what he wants. Seriously.

It's the second half that was a bigger letdown, at least in regard to the inside story of Apple's business decisions and where products are concerned. Sure, there's plenty here, but it's out of chronological order, difficult to follow, and there are big gaps. Isaacson is better at writing about Jobs the individual than he is about Jobs the businessman, and let's not forget that's why we know or care who Steve Jobs was.

If you're looking for much more detail than the order in which Apple signed music companies to the iTunes Store, you may be similarly disappointed. If you don't know much more than the broad outlines of Steve Jobs' career, this may be a perfectly worthwhile read. That said, there's also plenty Isaacson gets wrong; I defer to John Siracusa on specific errors and omissions by Isaacson, and as of this writing he's only halfway there: http://5by5.tv/hypercritical/42
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Kathy Interesting to read your review. "If you don't know much more than the broad outlines of Steve Jobs' career, this may be a perfectly worthwhile read." - That's me! I'll let you know after I read more how I am impressed or not impressed. You write a great review! It was fun to read it. You are an amazing writer.

message 2: by the review man (new)

the review man Somehow, as soon as I saw the word "disappointment" in the first line, I just knew there was going to be a Siracusa reference. That podcast was bang-on.

William @Kathy Thanks! I do think you would get a lot out of this book. Although not what it could have been, it's certainly an accessible biography, and Isaacson should be praised for not letting his access to Jobs discourage him from describing Jobs at his worst.

@Dan As some say the iPhone was the device Apple put on this Earth to create, perhaps so too was that episode the podcast Siracusa was put on this Earth to record.

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