Stephanie's Reviews > Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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's review
Jun 17, 2012

really liked it
Read in December, 2011

This book provides a compelling look at Steve Jobs, the man, and Steve Jobs, the visionary and creative director and CEO of Apple & Pixar.

In Walter Isaacson's book, we learn that Steve could be arrogant, terse, childishly short-tempered, overly emotional, single-minded (make that narrow-minded), and outright stubborn. He went through life blurting out things you're only supposed to think. But born from these same traits were his vision, artistic genius, foresight, and tenacity. And he never did it for the money. He just wanted to create the most perfect and useful products out there (and leave a lasting legacy).

Isaacson interviewed Job's friends, coworkers, subordinates, rivals, and industry business leaders, so his book is crammed full of personal anecdotes about Steve from the people who knew him the best - and they were painfully honest. Among my favorites are the ones about the various companies and personal acquaintances who had a chance to buy his technology early on or help get his company off the ground by making a financial investment..for one reason or another, many opted not to. Clearly, this was the stupidest mistake they would ever make. But who'd figure a smelly, bare-foot, long-haired hippy with no social skills would end up being....well, Steve Jobs!

We learn about the development of products we know so well such as the Macintosh, every Pixar movie you've ever seen, Apple stores, the iPod, the iTunes store, the iPhone, the iPad, the App Store, and the they started as the germ of an idea at his R&D lab, then ended up in the homes and offices of about 70% of the world's population. If you are looking for a book that provides any amplification about his childhood or his home life, you won't find it here.

I am - and remain - a big Steve Job's fan. Frankly, there is stuff in here I'd probably be happier not knowing about him. I preferred him when I had him up on a pedestal. He was a complex guy. He would never have won any father-of-the-year awards. He ran roughshod over people. He didn't have a philanthropic bone in his body. And when I got to the part about his illness, his refusal to have potentially life-saving surgery until after it had metastasized, his insistence on seeking questionable alternative treatments instead of chemotherapy, I just want to reach through the pages and throttle him for his stupidity. In the end, we learn he was flawed like the rest of us.

This book made me cry....and cry.....then cry again. Once, it only took a chapter heading called, "To Infinity: The Cloud, The Spaceship and Beyond." I, for one, will miss Mr. Jobs very, very much. And I worry that nobody coming along after Steve Jobs will have the vision to step up the plate and lead us into the future. I hope I'm wrong. Thanks to Mr. Isaacson for making us better acquainted with a great - and very complicated - man.


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