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Steve Jobs

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Walter Isaacson's worldwide bestselling biography of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than 100 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. Isaacson's portrait touched millions of readers. At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, 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 the author, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. He himself spoke candidly about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues offer 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. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values. Steve Jobs is the inspiration for the movie of the same name starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels, directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

630 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2011

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About the author

Walter Isaacson

95 books16.7k followers
Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of 'Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu and on Twitter at @WalterIsaacson

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 21,124 reviews
Profile Image for Stephanie *Eff your feelings*.
239 reviews1,233 followers
May 11, 2014
Steve Jobs was a damn dirty hippie.

He didn't much like to shower or wear shoes. He believed his diet kept him from getting stinky, not true apparently. In fact he was quite odd and obsessive about his diets, he would go on kicks where he would eat nothing but carrots for long periods of time until he turned orange. This makes me wonder if these strange eating habits brought on his cancer. Who can say?

Steve Jobs was an asshat.

He was an ass to everyone, even Steve Wozniak, who by everyone's standards is one of the nicest guys there is. Wozniak was Job's only friend at times, and looked up to him always, but Jobs screwed him over time and again. Jobs didn't even claim his first born daughter (until much later) as his own even though there was no doubt she belonged to him. He also was a very emotional man, lots of crying and snot when he wanted something. Impossible to please, even down to the color of things. I seriously don't know how anything got finished, I really don't.

Steve Jobs was a super genius.

Despite of (or because of) all this he created the most amazing things. Because he demanded the impossible, he would get it. I love my Ipod and my Ipad. I'm very attached, I don't want to live without them. I use the Ipod for my audiobook and podcast addiction. I'm even learning how to draw caricatures on the Ipad.....so frik'n cool.

Thank you Steve for being a damn dirty hippie, asshat super genius. Your creations have enhanced, and changed our lives.

Review also appears on Shelfinflicted....Go and visit!
Profile Image for Lisa.
110 reviews381 followers
December 4, 2013
There are three things necessary for a great biography:

1. A compelling subject
2. An engaging narrative
3. Accuracy

Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs has all three.

Steve Jobs was a fascinating person whose powerful personality and extraordinary life make for a very compelling read. He revolutionized many different technological and entertainment industries by successfully blending technology and the liberal arts, giving consumers products they didn't even know they wanted. He was able to defy reality by simply refusing to accept it (a phenomenon referred to as his "reality distortion field"), enabling him to do the impossible. On a personal level, Jobs was a very sensitive and emotional man, yet he was unable to empathize with the feelings of others, which, along with his "reality distortion field," led to him act in unsavory ways towards people in both his personal and professional life. After reading this book it was easy to understand why Jobs is such a polarizing figure. But whether you love or hate him, it's impossible to deny that he had a major impact on the world, or that he was an interesting person.

Isaacson's narrative style is engaging. Rather than listing a bunch of facts and quotes, which would make for a very dull read, he uses them to construct a story about Jobs' life. The book is also structured in a logical fashion. Although largely chronological, the chapters do center around certain themes. Isaacson also avoids getting bogged down by technological details, which can be a temptation in a book that features a computer company. Even when the technological aspects of a product are necessary to illustrate a point, they are explained simply so that even a reader who is not tech savvy can understand.

In terms of accuracy, I can only judge based on what I know from other sources as well as my impression after reading the biography. I do not have the resources or connections to go through every assertion made and verify them. I can, however, assess whether or not Isaacson appeared to be presenting an overly positive or negative picture. I believe that Isaacson presents a realistic picture of Jobs that includes both the positive and negative sides to his personality. Jobs comes across as a real person with a lot of flaws and perhaps a mental illness, but who has also accomplished some amazing things. I did not get the feeling that Isaacson was trying to whitewash or defame him.

This is not to say that Isaacson is unbiased, but I have yet to find a biographer who isn't. A biographer must be passionate about his or her subject in order to devote the time needed to write a thorough biography, and with passion comes bias, whether positive or negative. Isaacson was positively biased towards Jobs, however, this did not prevent him from exposing the darker side of Jobs' personality. He also contradicts Jobs' own statements with both facts and other people's accounts. I appreciated that he included both sides of a story. However, he does tend to justify Jobs' obnoxious behavior and negative personality traits by reminding the reader that these behaviors and traits also led him to do great things, and achieve the impossible. It often seems as though Isaacson is implying that the ends justify the means, although the reader is able to form his or her own opinion. If you can ignore Isaacson's apologetic tone, which is present throughout, the biography does present a balanced picture of Jobs.

Overall, I really enjoyed this biography. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Steve Jobs, Apple, or is interested in particularly influential people. Although Pixar plays a much smaller role, there are also some interesting stories about how Pixar came to be what it is today. I would not recommend this biography to Apple haters or Steve Jobs haters due to Isaacson's apologetic presentation of Jobs' negative traits, nor would I recommend it to fans who would rather remember an idealized version of Jobs. Also, I'd caution readers to remember that this is a biography about Steve Jobs, not about the history of Apple. While Apple is featured in this biography quite a bit since it was a huge part of Jobs' life, more so than his other companies or even his family, there are pieces of Apple's story that are missing or glossed over, presumably because in the grand scheme of Jobs' life, they were not that important. If you are looking for a complete profile of Apple, this is not it, although it will give you some interesting insights into the company, and provide a detailed, though incomplete, history.

Disclaimer: I think it's important to note my personal history with Apple. I have been drinking the Apple koolaid for about twenty years, which is most of my life. In high school, I used to get into debates with people over whether Macs or PCs were better, often being the only Mac defender in a group arguing for PCs. Like any Apple fanatic, I've regarded Steve Jobs with a sort of reverence usually reserved for rock stars and actors. I was, therefore, deeply interested in reading about his life. Take what you will from my review given my feelings towards Apple, and the man who made the company what it is today.
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
October 9, 2015
Update This is a very interesting view of Steve Jobs by the mother of his daughter, Lisa (although he denied he was her father, despite paternity tests) and his childhood sweetheart. She doesn't think the film goes far enough in depicting his character truthfully. I am sure that what she writes in her book The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs is absolutely true. Apple's lawyers would sue her out of all existence if there was even a word that they could latch onto. But still, her feelings and opinions are her own.

This is a fantastically well-written and exhaustive biography of a brilliant, if flawed, man, with no holds barred. Jobs great achievement was to marry an uncompromisingly zen creativity to electronically-advanced products when all around built boxes. The art of form following function taken to its extreme, where even the innards are as beautiful as the case, has an authenticity that appeals to all (even those who won't pay for an Apple product).

They say that when you are dying you regret not what you did but what you didn't do. Jobs scarcely regretted a thing, his ego was so vast he could hardly contemplate that he might actually have been wrong and since a young age, he only ever did what he wanted and could not be swayed or persuaded by anyone else to even do something as small as hold his acerbic tongue.

I was once an electronics designer. I made quite a lot of money and essentially retired at 25. Sir Alan Sugar, the originator of The Apprentice and a friend and business acquaintance asked me to come to work for him as his personal assistant. I didn't, I decided to sail around the world instead. More fool me.

The book made me wish, and not for the first time and not because I am now quite poor (all booksellers are, except the Amazon crew) that I hadn't left electronics, because my head is again full of ideas and that is where they will have to stay. So I have regrets even now.

I took the road less travelled and it turned out to end up in a tropical mangrove swamp where I sit, pleasantly bogged down. Jobs took the highway, the one with a good surface and plenty of signs. He overtook everyone and reached his destination of unqualified success, excellence, money and credibility in a very short time, and the world would be a lot poorer without him. RIP Steve. You were a true artist and visionary.

I haven't got a Mac myself. Because, as the advert said, I'm just not cool enough....

Edit May 2014. I went to dinner on a 93' yacht with a chef, hostess and a couple of crew and the captain gave me an iPad for a present. He said it was only a first gen. one and I was too cool not to have a Mac :-) This is true ;-). I did't see the captain for about three or four months. We were in the same marina bar. He asked me how I liked the ipad and I said great and went to get it out of my bag. It was gone. Someone had stolen it from my bag within the last ten minutes (I'd only been there that long). But who... in a crowd how can you tell? I have a really cheap under $100 Chinese tablet now. It does everything that the ipad did but it isn't thin and cool. But then neither am I.

Finished March 1, 2012
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews30 followers
August 10, 2021
Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson

From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive, New York Times bestselling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

I wish I had written their biography myself, he was a myth, maybe then I could mix my words with the scent of Roses, and mix them with the sound of nightingales, so that they would always be fragrant and audible.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 2016میلادی

عنوان: استیو جابز - زندگینامه استیو جابز موسس و مدیرعامل شرکت اپل؛ نویسنده: والتر ایساکسون؛ مترجم: مهدی پاکنهاد؛ تهران، ستایش، 1390، در 703ص؛ شابک 9786005184419؛ موضوع: سرگذشتنامه استیو جابز از سال 1955میلادی تا سال 2011م - سده 21م

این دل میخواست، کاش سرگذشتنامه ی ایشان را، خود مینوشتم؛ اسطوره بودند، شاید آنگاه واژه هایم را میتوانستم، با عطر گلهای سرخ نیز بیامیزم، و آنها را با آوای بلبل نیز آجین میکردم، تا همیشه خوشبوی و شنیدنی باشند، از نخستین سالهای دهه ی 1980میلادی، با نمونه کارهای سخت افزار، و سیستم عامل ایشان، برای نخستین کامپیوترهای شخصی، یا همان پرسنل کامپیوتر «اپل مکینتاش»، و نرم افزارهای طراحی شده ی ایشان، آشنا بودم؛ از همان روز نخست آشنایی، نیز برایم آسمانی بودند، آسمانی آسمانی؛ همیشه در خیالم بالای ابرهای پنبه عسلی بنشسته اند، و مردمان را از آن بالا مینگرند؛ روانشان همیشه و هماره شادمان و خوشبو

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 18/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lynne Spreen.
Author 13 books197 followers
April 25, 2017
When I was at the halfway point I became struck by what a jerk SJ was. Yes, he was brilliant and all that. But he seemed to view other humans as nothing more than ants in his ant farm, sub-biologicals that he could squish whenever he felt like it. And did.

Some might say that his gifts to tech development, or the fact that he changed and invented whole industries, would compensate. Maybe the two things went together, cruelty and brilliance.

But the lesson to be drawn here, future CEOs, isn't that his cruelty fed his brilliance. He was brilliant, and he was cruel, and they weren't linked. He was aware of the pain he was causing other people, yet like so many other overbearing, thoughtless and petulant overlords, Jobs was thin-skinned. Also, I don't believe that his often-cited sense of abandonment, from having been put up for adoption, justifies his behavior.

He was, as the author put it, "bratty." Jobs would fiddle with design changes to the point of driving his team mad. A thousand different variations of white weren't satisfactory. He wanted a new color to be invented, regardless of the damage done to the rollout of the new object.

As I said, I'm only halfway through the book. Hopefully there'll be some positive info about SJ that will balance out some of the negativity I've spelled out. I'll finish this review when I finish the book.

Nov. 8, 2011: I finished the book. Here are the rest of my thoughts.

Isaacson makes an interesting point when he says Jobs was a genius. He means genius not in terms of a high IQ, but in terms of an ability to see things in surges of intuition, inspiration, and creativity. (BTW here's an interesting rundown of the smartest people on the planet: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-sm...) Because of his genius, I agree that Jobs deserves to be included in the company of Edison, Franklin, et al.

Steve Jobs pushed everybody until they wanted to kill him, but the pushing yielded amazing, brilliant new products. His unique brainpower allowed him to see how things might align, merge, and serve each other, and how utility might be blended with art. That vision led to creations of whole industries.

His obsession with perfection and control led him to flirt with emulating the Big Brother that Apple was created to bring down. One of the fascinating threads of this book was the debate between proponents of closed and open systems. Was it better to manufacture a pristine, inflexible system or the messier free thinking open system? And what were the implications of that belief on Jobs' view of his customers and his worldview?

Yet he defined petulance. His food had to be just so. He would send back a glass of orange juice three times until finally satisfied it was fresh. He was vindictive, cruel and even Machiavellian. He wasn't much of a family man, and he ignored his kids to a painful extent. Isaacson mused that Jobs' meanness wasn't a critical part of his success. He was totally aware of its effect on others, yet he indulged.

In spite of my aversion to the man, I actually felt empowered as I came to the end of the book. Steve Jobs had lived by certain precepts, which in the current economy we could all benefit from:

---Know your value
---Have a skill you can sell. Be really, really good at something.
---Things can turn around if you persevere, but don't be afraid to walk away.

Unbending to the end, even the prospect of death didn't soften him up much, but he brought me up short on the last page of the book, because I am obsessed with the same question:

"I like to think that something survives after you die. It's strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, and that maybe your consciousness endures."

I closed the book with a bit more compassion for this difficult man and went outside to pick cilantro for that night's dinner. Since we'd just had a serious storm, I declined to rinse it. I simply cleaned it, thinking, “Organic and pristine from the garden. Steve would’ve approved.”
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
Shelved as 'oh-dear'
November 11, 2011
so, we are having the event for this book at our store tonight. the number of people calling up to ask if steve jobs will also be present to sign is staggering. in other words, "i care enough about steve jobs to want to read a 600+ page book about him, but i am somehow unaware that he is deceased."

is what i hope. the alternative is ghoulish and i do not want to entertain it.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
783 reviews12.5k followers
July 4, 2022
This. This is how you write a biography.

This is now my gold standard for how those should be done — informative and riveting and yet devoid of hero worship, making the person feel really real while telling a story.
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things.”

— From Apple commercial, and one of my favorite quotes. And it describes Steve Jobs perfectly.

This is a story of a very difficult and yet insanely brilliant man. Steve Jobs was a revolutionary when it came to how we use our technology — but oh dear, was he a nightmare to deal with! A man combining charisma and vision with volatility and pettiness, laser-sharp focus and incredible drive, and yet viewing the world through the stark binary of either amazing or horrible.

He was intensely brilliant and an asshole at the same time.

Jobs changed personal computers, animation (Pixar! How didn’t I know about Jobs and Pixar???), music industry functioning, phones, tablets — hey, I listened to this book on my iPhone and write this review on my iPad. He created products that were intuitive to use and sexy and streamlined because he refused to just accept merely adequate. A master of Reality Distortion Field — crazy determination to get impossible things done by ignoring their sheer impossibility. (“The reality distortion field was a confounding mélange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand.”)
“Some people say, "Give the customers what they want." But that's not my approach. Out job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'" People don't know what they want until you show it to them.”

Jobs sheer personality, brilliance and charismatic pull combined with his eccentricities, strong opinions and volatility make for a very interesting biography protagonist. But Isaacson goes way past what I’d expect of a book of this kind, elevating it way past a biography and turning it into a fascinating story of humans and technology. And no, unlike what I expected it was far from hero worship story; Isaacson does not sugarcoat Jobs’ shortfalls and unpleasant sides to his personality.
“People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

Can we have that as a rule of life? Please?

It’s very well-researched, excellently and engagingly written. It goes beyond recounting Jobs’ life — it constructs a very interesting story about the life of a very interesting man, not shying away from bad or good. Fantastic, and I say that with no reservations.

Oh, and one more thing. Think different.

Easy 5 stars and a new yardstick by which to judge biographies.

Rest In Peace, Steve Jobs. You could have brought even more changes to this world had you been given more time, but I guess we’ll have to make do.
“Then he paused for a second and said, “Yeah, but sometimes, I think it’s just like an On-Off switch. Click. And you’re gone.” And then he paused again and said, “And that’s why I don’t like putting On-Off switches on Apple devices.”

Also posted on my blog.

Recommended by: Dennis
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
656 reviews7,103 followers
August 11, 2016

Never expected to find this much enjoyment reading a biography. Isaacson has truly done a wonderful job with this book.

For those who are too busy to read the entire book, please try to grab a quick read of the last two chapters of the book at a book store or airport or someplace - These chapters are a concise summary of the entire book as well as the thesis Isaacson builds up to throughout the book. Besides, it will probably make you buy and read the whole thing anyway.

To call this man a "Great Marketer" is probably a great disservice to him and Steve would probably have had a fit about that. I used to think of him as an epitome of modern marketing as well, but he would probably classify marketing as 'evil' in his radar. He hated the idea of any company focusing on marketing and emphatically states that is the whole problem with most companies today. This is probably a difficult idea to get to grips with, but is essential too.

I hope every Management Guru and CEO is studying this book and drawing the right lessons. We could truly be in a better world if they do. Just to clarify, I am not a fanboy of all apple products though I am sure the Mac is the best tech device till date but I do I fall on the android side of the fence.

But, Jobs' philosophy on running companies and driving innovation is the best in the modern age and should be copied shamelessly, if not their product features (I am looking at you Samsung).
Profile Image for Peter.
50 reviews159 followers
December 6, 2017
Executive summary of Isaacson's "Steve Jobs":

- Remove everything that is unnecessary.
- Be ruthless about building an A team.
- Make stuff you believe in.
- Collaborate often through vigorous discussion.
- Push yourself and others to do the impossible now.
- Make great experiences by simplifying.
- Own your work and protect it.
- Live at intersection of intellect and intuition.

But these are not spoilers. The drama of this biography is in the decisions Jobs made, the way he followed through on these ideals. Read the book. In the same way that you understand a proverb much more after you've had a life a experience that demonstrates it, these will mean much, much more when you see them in the context of Steve Jobs' life.

Plus, you'll also discover Jobs' equally as compelling character traits: from his idealism to his irascibility.
November 15, 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.
Profile Image for Otis Chandler.
392 reviews114k followers
December 8, 2011
This is an amazing inside view into the life of one of the great businessmen of our era. A must read.

The thing that struck me most about Steve Jobs was that he was an incredible perfectionist. He was a craftsman, and wanted the computers he built to be beautiful and amazing and useful. He believed that computers were "at the intersection of technology and liberal arts" - a phrase he used a lot - because he realized computers weren't just for geeks. They are for everyone, and needed to be able to be used by everyone.

Steve put design at the top of product pyramid at Apple - above engineering. This means they spent a lot of time trying to fit the hardware into the beautifully designed cases the designers came up with, and the designers and engineers had to work together closely. This can backfire (eg Antennagate), but largely it worked really well. It produced amazing computers that were visually distinct from everything else in the market, and that "just work". If I learned anything from this book, it's that Apple believed that design is paramount, and spending extra time and engineering resources to make a beautiful design work is worth it.

Apple's design philosophy is to "make it simple. Really simple". You still see this today - go to Apple.com - you will see ONE product. Now try Amazon. According to the book, Jobs learned this from Markkula, who taught him that "A great company must be able to impute its values from the first impression it makes".

Steve's ethos was basically that if you are going to do something, do it right. The book is full of examples of Steve doing this. When the iMac first came out it looked like no other computer. It was interesting to hear how difficult it was for the engineers to accommodate a handle on the computer - but it ended up being a defining feature of the computer. I also loved the story of how Steve was obsessed with quality glass, and ordered the highest end stuff he could find for his Apple Stores.

Steve's management tactics got a lot of scrutiny in the book - and many other reviewers use words like "jerk" to describe him. It sounds like Steve could definitely be a jerk to work for. His management style was to push people as hard as he could, and to let people know when they didn't perform. When pushed like that, a person can have one of two reactions: they either resent it, and end up quitting or getting fired (B-players) - or they accept the challenge to do better, and come back the next week with something even better. Win-win for Steve - he filters out the b-players and gets his a-players to produce the best work they can.

But, as was pointed out in the book, if Steve was nothing but a jerk, he wouldn't have built a company full of loyal employees - Apple has one of the lowest turnover rates in the valley. Jobs only hired people who "had a passion for the product". I also liked how he motivated by looking at the bigger picture; such as the story of how he convinced his engineer that saving 10 seconds off the boot time was worth it because across 5 million users that would save 100 lifetimes per year.

The book was full of references to Steve's dynamic personality; his "reality distortion field" is a great descriptor. Steve believed he could do anything - and he was so persuasive that he could convince those around him that they could whatever it was too. I think this is one of the most defining qualities of an entrepreneur - believing something can be done against all odds. Not being afraid to tear down walls or think outside the box.

I loved the description of Steve that "whatever he was touting was the best thing he ever produced." You see him do this in his keynote speeches too. He is always using words like "best", "amazing", etc to describe whatever he's launching.

A big theme that the author made was that especially early on, Steve viewed Apple as "counter-culture" rebels. They were hippies who thought they could change the world. And they did - but not only that - I think they embedded their can-do attitude deep in Silicon Valley, which is probably highly correlated with why it is the center of the technology revolution today. This quote is classic:

"The people who invited the twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently. The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mind-set that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence."

One of Steve's great abilities was to focus. When Jobs came back to Apple from his hiatus the biggest innovation he made was to focus the company onto just the few products that were working or had potential.

"What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great."

Steve's belief that computers need to be beautiful and easy to use basically prevented him from ever licensing his software, as then he wouldn't be able to control the user experience. Microsoft didn't have that problem, and that's why Windows dominated. I think it's also the reason that Windows is in trouble today. They have spent a decade making their code work across hundreds of different hardware configurations. Their code is now full of backwards compatibility support that just makes it messy, and bloated. Worse, their focus is on maintaining all that instead of innovating and improving it.

The platform vs integrated approach is being tested again with the iphone vs android. It will be interesting to see if history replays itself, or if Apple's lead and ability to make a superior product because of their full stack control will prevail.

In the end, this was the best quote of the book:

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Profile Image for Katie.
230 reviews116 followers
November 30, 2011
Oops! The publishers forgot to include a subtitle, so I've taken the liberty of helping them come up with one. May I suggest:

Steve Jobs: Unrelenting Narcissist, Suspected Sociopath and Giant Fucking Asshole

Isaacson writes a great biography: He tells a coherent, cohesive story, he interviews all the players and most important he doesn't feel the need to hoist his subject on a pedestal with his pen. When it comes to carrying a story, our author did all the right things.

His subject, however, left much to be desired. It's startling to see how someone can be so immensely successful in one aspect of his life and such a complete, utter failure in virtually every other. To illuminate just a few of the many failings of Steve Jobs, allow me to expound upon my proposed subtitle:

Unrelenting Narcissist: It's true that if you're going to launch a business in a cutthroat industry and be willing to fight to the death to succeed, you gotta believe in yourself. Jobs, however, took a little positive self-esteem to a whole new level and chose to recreate truth to position himself in the best light. He steals the concept of the GUI from Xerox and it's collaborative sharing, but Microsoft does, well, anything and it's because they're thieves, and we have no respect for thieves. Good ideas? He took credit for them, even if he would veto them upon first review. The man truly believed he could do no wrong, and I can't help but think he probably, just before taking his last breath, was thinking, "Well there goes the future of Apple."

Suspected Sociopath: To be clear, I'm using the term "sociopath" like I would if I were Wong's junior psychologist on SVU: that is, to define someone with an anti-social personality disorder. The man - Jobs, not Wong; Wong is amazing - fit the profile to a T: Despite having the ability to charm someone's head off when he needed to, Jobs had an absolute lack of genuine regard for almost everyone around him - his wife, his employees, his poor, cast-aside daughters (his son seemed to escape his scorn, which is a charmingly sexist detail), even his supporters (I can't bring myself to call them friends) who were there for him from the beginning. If a person could not - or could no longer - provide a benefit to Jobs, he would cast them aside...but not before cruelly shitting mounds of aggression and abuse all over their bare heads. See? Sociopath.

Giant Fucking Asshole: There are seriously almost too many examples of this to count, but let me curate a sample for your consideration. 1). He screwed one of the founding members of Apple out of founders stock that would now be practically priceless. 2). He thinks he can explain away the abuse he doled out to employees by saying that was "just who I am." Seriously? Do you not think that the people around you want to rip your head off every single day? They do, I assure you. But you know what? They hold it in, because collaborative, encouraging environments are better for everyone (unless you're a narcissist and/or a sociopath, in which case, see above). 3). There's something atrocious about a multi-multi-multi-billionaire who can envision how personal computers/GUIs/the mouse/touchscreens/computer animation/digital music/tablets/etc. can change the world for rich consumers, but who can't see that a fraction of his wealth could have changed the world for people who don't have water.

It's undeniable that Jobs was fantastically talented and will go down in the books as one of the great visionaries in history. I'm writing my review on my MacBook, and both my iPhone and my iPad (as well as a slew of iPods, Nanos and Shuffles) are nearby, so I guess the guy was doing something right. Still, I don't believe that being an asshole is the answer, and I don't believe it gets better results; it may not get worse results, but if today's Apple is what he created with vinegar, then I'd love to see what he could have done with honey.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
January 8, 2012
I was a little surprised when Steve Jobs died that I actually had an emotional reaction of loss. He was always such a warrior for technological evolution, conceiving products that we didn't know we needed until we held them in our hands. I didn't know I needed an iPod, now I can't travel anywhere without slipping 13,000 songs into my pocket. I now have a playlist for any situation, a wedding, a long drive, robbing a bank, meditation etc. What was so unique about Jobs was that he was a creative person who also had the power to bring a progressive product to life. Good ideas did not die in committee at Apple or Pixar. For some reason conservative leaning people elevate to the highest positions in business in this country. Apple also went through a period of time when Jobs was too radical for a board of directors who wanted to make Apple more like other companies. After reading this biography, I know now that Jobs deserved to be ousted, and what a great occurrence for the world because Pixar would have never been created. He benefited from his time away, learning lessons of consolidating power. When Apple floundered and Jobs was brought back he was much better equipped to lead a company

I have always been mystified by the divisions in the country between Apple and Microsoft. I have owned a lot more Apple products than I have PC based products. So without even realizing I guess at some point I joined team Jobs. I used Apples and PCs without really thinking I was being disloyal to a brand, but I have been on the periphery of many heated arguments discussing the merits of PC versus the merits of Macs. I always felt that Jobs was the guy with the concepts and ideas and Gates was sitting around twiddling his thumbs waiting for Jobs to come up with the next "great thing" so he could clone it. There is more truth in that statement than fervent PC believers would like to admit.

One of Jobs ex-girlfriends happened to read in a psychiatric manual about Narcissistic personality Disorder and decided that Jobs perfectly met the criteria. "It fit so well and explained so much of what we had struggled with, that I realized expecting him to be nicer or less self-centered was like expecting a blind man to see." Jobs was brutal to his employees, to his family, and to his business partners. One of his favorite lines when looking at a new concept was to say "this is shit". He was a ranter, skilled with skewering insults, contemptuously rude, and yet so sensitive to any slight. When faced with a fond memory or a beautiful concept that he loved he would burst into tears. To say the least, being in the Steve Jobs orbit would have been not only stressful, but confusing. The people that did the best with him were the people that pushed through the "distortion field" that Jobs was nestled in his whole life. For all his failings as a human being and as a boss he was also a talented communicator inspiring people way beyond what they thought they were capable of accomplishing. He firmly believed that nothing was worth doing unless it was going to change the world and that belief was infectious to those that worked with him.

When Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer I can remember thinking to myself that no one had ever beaten that form of cancer, but I also thought to myself if anyone can it would be Steve Jobs. His money bought him time. They were able to map the gene of the cancer that was trying to kill him and better target chemo and drugs that would most effectively control the growth of the cancer. "One of his doctors told him that there was hope that his cancer, and others like it, would soon be considered a manageable chronic disease, which could be kept at bay until the patient died of something else." As Jobs said, "I'm either going to be one of the first to be able to outrun a cancer like this, or I'm going to be one of the last to die from it." As we know he lost his battle with cancer, but certainly the money he threw at the disease will end up benefiting all of us.

Walter Isaacson is an excellent biographer, I enjoyed his Benjamin Franklin bio very much and intend to read the Einstein biography as well. Steve approached Isaacson to write his biography and Isaacson asked him if he wanted him to write it because he associated himself with Einstein and Franklin. Jobs didn't deny it. He was well aware of his place in history. I liked Steve Jobs more before reading this biography. I have a deeper understanding of how and why he was so successful. I can not emulate his management style nor would I ever want to. He was a destructive personality that inspired creativity. I feel we are diminished by his absence from the ranks and I can only hope there is a young person in a messy garage, tinkering with the concept that will be the next "thing" that will change our lives.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,718 followers
April 4, 2016
I had to be convinced by a GR friend to read this book, similarly to how Isaacson had to be convinced to write it.

Back in 2004, Steve Jobs approached Isaacson and asked if he was interested in writing Jobs' biography. Isaacson declined several times, thinking that it was too soon to write one and that it would be better to wait a few decades. It wasn't until 2009 when Jobs' wife bluntly told him that Jobs was seriously ill from cancer and that there was little time to lose. Isaacson said he hadn't known Jobs was sick; she said few people knew and that Jobs had been trying to keep it a secret.

Isaacson finally agreed to write the biography, and Jobs agreed that he wouldn't have any control over the book, which was rare, considering how controlling and demanding he had been over all the various projects at Apple.

I had been reluctant to read this book for several reasons. First, because Jobs was a known jackass and I wasn't that interested in reading the various examples of his jackassery. Second, I am not a techie, and while I like and use Apple products every day, I was hesitant to spend my precious reading time on a tech book. Thirdly, this bio is more than 600 pages long! That seemed excessive.

A solution was found in an audiobook (read by Dylan Baker), and I am glad I gave it a chance. I was won over early on in the book, when Isaacson included a quote from Jobs in the introduction:

"'I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics,' he said. 'Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that's what I wanted to do.' It was as if he were suggesting themes for his biography (and in this instance, at least, the theme turned out to be valid). The creativity that can occur when a feel for both the humanities and the sciences combine in one strong personality was the topic that most interested me in my biographies of Franklin and Einstein, and I believe that it will be a key to creating innovative economies in the twenty-first century."

Now THAT is a theme I can get behind. I love the idea of combining artistry and technology, and it's true that Jobs and Apple excelled at creating innovative and beautiful products. Despite my hesitation, I ended up enjoying the stories of how Jobs got his start in computers, and how he met and started collaborating with Steve Wozniak, and the evolution of products at Apple over the decades. Growing up in the 80s, I frequently used those early Apple computers. My friends and I played games on them, and I wrote my school reports on them. Apple computers were just so cool.

I liked learning the details of how Jobs helped design the products, including his emphasis that even the parts that are not seen should be beautiful and well-built. He had learned this at a young age from his father, who was a mechanic and a craftsman, and he taught Steve to make sure that the back of something was crafted just as well as the front, even if no one saw it. Jobs took the spirit of artistry very seriously, and always insisted that the designers at Apple were making art with their products. He even had his design team sign the inside of the computer frames, just as a painter would, even though no one but them knew it was there.

Another part of the book that I found interesting was Jobs' history with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with whom he had a fiercely competitive but (mostly) respectful relationship. The two men had very different ideas about system design, and computer techies will probably enjoy the debate of open vs. closed systems.

A lot has been written about what a jerk Jobs could be, including telling people to their face that they sucked, that their designs sucked, and that they should be fired for their suckitude. It is also true that he was a dirty hippie, and in the early days of Apple, colleagues had to beg him to take a shower. (Jobs thought that because he was a vegetarian, he didn't need to bathe.) At certain points, I was infuriated with Jobs, both over his treatment of others and later, over his refusal to deal with his cancer diagnosis. When he first learned he was ill, he defied his doctor's advice and delayed having surgery to remove the tumors, giving them months to spread. While impossible to prove, it is likely he could have greatly extended his life had he not been so stubborn in avoiding modern medicine.

In the end, I admit I was fascinated by Steve Jobs. He had a remarkable life and career, and while it is a cliche, his products helped change the world. I would highly recommend this biography.

Update April 2016
Last night I watched the "Steve Jobs" movie that is based on this book (starring Michael Fassbender), and I have to give a shout-out to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for creating such a compelling film out of this sprawling biography. I was happy I had read this book before watching the movie, because I understood more of the context of the arguments between Woz and Jobs, and Jobs and his ex-girlfriend, and Jobs and everyone else. I highly recommend the film.
Profile Image for Dennis.
658 reviews276 followers
July 3, 2022
A remarkable story.

This is one of those books, and I believe most of you guys have one of your own, that make it incredibly hard to write a review, because it is so rich in themes and outstanding in so many ways that whatever I'm going to say will just not be enough. After having read this biography for a fourth time now, I have made peace with this fact and will just write whatever comes to my mind at this very moment.

Steve Jobs, even amongst other entrepreneurs and celebrities (because that's what he became), stands out. He had a unique, very intense and often challenging personality. He had the drive, the imagination and the passion to revolutionize at least six industries during his comparatively short but extraordinarily productive career. He had an eye for beauty, even in the smallest details, and an interest in many different fields. He was standing at the intersection of art and technology like perhaps no other person of his time.

Now, this may sound like I'm a fan of Jobs, or possibly Apple - the company he's mainly associated with. But I'm still not sure whether I like him or not. The truth is, he was an asshole. But he was also a genius. This biography, like Jobs himself, is brutally honest and doesn't sugarcoat anything. At its end you feel like you really know the man. With all his quirks, some more likeable than others. With his Reality Distortion Field, that made people try to do things they thought impossible. With his ability to completely focus on one thing and just pretend that everything else doesn't exist. With his binary worldview where everything is either the most brilliant thing ever or total crap.

You know what's also the truth? I had tears in my eyes at the end. Because this book was written when Jobs was already battling cancer and you feel like you've been on a long journey with the man, and then he's about to leave this world behind. And whether you like Jobs or not, he is missed, because I'm sure he had it in him to change the world maybe once or twice more.

It's remarkable to think how many things that we take for granted today, that we use every day and that make our life that little bit more enjoyable are there because Jobs saw their potential before anyone else did. Or he saw the way to make it happen, when others couldn't. Asked about market research, Jobs said something like, people don't know what they want before we show them (paraphrasing). There's a touch of arrogance in this, but many times he was right. He's also quoting Henry Ford: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

This is not only a success story, though. Yes, Jobs basically co-founded what is now the world's most valuable company in his parents' garage. But after initial success with the Apple II and the Macintosh there were several failures too. And he brought in the CEO ("Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?") that ultimately forced him out of his own company. Only after a detour over NeXT (another failure) and Pixar (a huge success) did he return to Apple (at the time a sinking ship) and turned them into this huge success story.

There are personal failures too. Like his first daughter that he abandoned. People he hurt along the way. Mistakes he made when he was diagnosed with cancer. Eating habits that were obsessive and that he thought were a cure for many things, when they weren't. At Atari (yes, Jobs worked there too) he had to work the nightshift, because he thought since he's vegan there's no need to shower or use deodorants. Yeah, the guy was special.

So, am I a fan now? In a way, yes. I admire that he had an interest in so many different things and somehow always managed to think up a way to make them better. I admire his drive and determination. And also his passion for products. And what about Apple? I still never owned a single Apple product. But this book made me understand Jobs' affinity for closed and integrated systems. And things like the 1984 ad or the Macintosh launch seriously give me goosebumps. I also think that the original iMac is a lovely piece of hardware.

I think the main reason this book speaks to me so much is that it were such exciting times. Oh, how I would have loved to be there when Jobs (and his partners and competitors) invented the future. I think with Jobs it would have been the most fun, and the most infuriating.

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.


2019 ramblings:

What a journey.




Still one of my favorite books.
Full review on the weekend some weekend. (God, I'm terrible)

Re-read 2/1/2019

This time it is a Buddy Read with Trish.

Since she's sitting across from me (and can't stop snickering) you could call it Buddy Read 2.0, I guess.
Profile Image for Barbara.
25 reviews13 followers
April 25, 2012
I downloaded the e-book on my iPad (quite fitting) Sun. night and stayed up until the very wee hours reading (on a work night, no less). Isaacson's writing style is very engaging and, at least so far, he seems to be embarking on a no holds barred, honest portrayal of this very admired, feared, respected, despised, controversial titan of industry.
As a college senior in '85, watching the iconic "1984" commercial, reading all about SJ & Woz and how they wanted to "change the world", I made it my mission to work at this amazing company. Apple hired me right after graduation and I spent the next 5+ years working with some of the most creative, bright, talented people ever. I was able to attend a few of SJ's employee meetings & product intros before he was unceremoniously "ousted" in that summer of '85, and It was amazing the power he had when he spoke in front of an audience. He's still the best, most evangelical, amazing speaker/presenter/showman I've ever seen. A master, bar none!
Can't wait to finish the book and learn more about what drove this amazing man to do all that he did.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,820 reviews12.8k followers
April 26, 2019
Isaacson has taken on the incredible task of documenting the life and times of Steve Jobs, a herculean venture if one did exist. Speaking in the introduction about how Jobs sought him out to pen the biography and wished to have no input in its creation (save for the hours of interviews he would give), Isaacson admits that the task was as unconventional as it was enthralling. Isaacson divides Jobs's life into three major themes throughout the book: the man of countless ideas, the innovator, and the emotion-filled genius. Isaacson uses these themes to advance the book, but also details some of the most popular pieces of technology and cinematography attributed to Jobs to entertain and educate the reader alike. Isaacson succeeds at his task of telling this powerful story, which, at times, the unfocussed reader may think is a biography about APPLE. This only goes to show how Jobs had Apple woven into his moral fabric and took the company as seriously as anything he did in his life.

Steve Jobs was a man of countless ideas as early as his teenage years, where he build small gadgets in his father's garage, always wanting to tinker and modify all that he found around him. Jobs, who grew up with a great deal of curiosity, sought to bring these ideas to fruition. From his early years, where he could not stay out of trouble, through to his passion for all things electronic, Isaacson presents Jobs as being a man whose curiosities fuelled his ideas. Some of these ideas proved (pardon the pun) fruitless, especially his fruitetarian lifestyle, while others sought to expand what was happening at the time, such as the introduction of Atari gaming consoles in the early 1970s. Jobs thought up ideas around making computers less of a cumbersome leviathan and more a means of catering to the consumer, both in the workplace and at home. Working with partners to develop some of the early Apple products, clunky and highly obsolete nowadays, Jobs sought to dream up new and imaginative ideas, all to make the consumer's life more simple, even if it meant a larger financial investment at the time. Jobs made strides to bring these ideas to life, no matter the effort required. When at the height of his career at Apple, Jobs was forced out by those who thought profit should supersede ideal development to appease the consumer, he did not despair. Jobs chose to tap into more of his computer-centred ideas in cinematography, creating PIXAR and tried to move animation away from the literal drawing board and into the age of computer-generated drawing. These ideas helped to forge strong relationships with Disney, after some early disagreements, and exemplifying his imaginative success with a string of box-office hits. The coup that brought Jobs back into the Apple fold only fuelled his desire to be innovative and imagine the future one product at a time. From his early 1984 talking Macintosh to his slew of futuristic products, Jobs took the future into his own hands and let his ideas guide him along the path to technological success, while making Apple a household name.

Segueing from ideas to the innovative side of Jobs, applying his ideas brought about technological shifts never seen to that point and which proved to live outside the box. Isaacson makes this innovative side of Jobs a key theme throughout the book, as far back as his circuit board creation in the 1970s, through to his launch of the Mac line of Apple products, many of which are found in households today. Butting heads both with those within the Apple fold and its strongest competitors, Jobs sought to rise above all others and let the industry judge his successes. Throughout, Isaacson shows how the likes of Bill Gates and Michael Eisner flexed their business muscle, but Jobs continued to forge ahead, making the best of what he could, while also striving to outdo himself. Jobs never shied away from calling his competition 'stupid' or their duplicate products items that truly 'suck'. Innovation and technology, which lacked in the dozen years was away from the company, returned in spades and left the competitors in the dust, at least according to market analyses. The innovative side of Jobs, and, in turn, Apple, spurned others to try to keep up in a market where one wrong turn can cost millions while making items obsolete in the blink of an eye. Isaacson throughly examines Jobs as innovator throughout the book and gives not only examples, but wonderfully narrated anecdotes to better understand the man behind the technology. These technological advancements have become so ingrained in the consumer's psyche that they need no definition or explanation in daily parlance.

While stoking the fires of technological advances and doing battle with some of the top CEOs in the business world, Jobs could be known to show an emotional side to him that is sure to alarm the reader. He makes to qualms about showing his emotions, going so far as to justify some of his off the wall behaviours as being precisely what the person on the receiving end needed to strive higher thereafter. Throughout, Isaacson insists that Jobs's passion for his work led him never to settle for second-best. He would not accept a half-ass effort, nor would he allow others to dilute his ideas. In the latter part of the book, when health concerns began to plague Jobs, the emotional roller coaster continued to play a role, sometimes as unpredictably as the ideas he brought to the table at APPLE. Not afraid to buck trends or offend others, Jobs used these emotions to his advantage. While portrayed as spoiled in his inability to let others imbue the conversation with ideas of their own, Jobs was quick to cut, only to take the ideas as his own in an emotional turnaround days later. While emotion surely fuelled his inventive side and the ability to forge ahead, Isaacson does not skirt the issue that Jobs was ice cold when it suited him and impassioned when the need arose.

As I mentioned above, some readers may get lost in the narrative, which recounts the life of Steve Jobs, and get caught up in the detail-heavy sections discussing upcoming product launches and the gizmos he sought to bring to the consumer. This attention to detail and smooth flowing narrative bring these items to life and help the reader to understand precisely what hurdles they overcame, even after product launch. Jobs was so wrapped up in the creation and development that Isaacson cannot pare the story away from iPods and iPhones to tell the Steve Jobs story. They are simply too interconnected.

Taking a step back and looking at Isaacson's work on the whole, it is apparent that he took a great deal of time to bring the best possible take on Steve Jobs. His attention to detail and thorough interviews led to a wonderful biography that is sure to open the eyes to many with an interest in technology and those who want to know more about this mover and shaker. Leaving no stone unturned, Isaacson airs the dirty laundry (Jobs' daughter at age 23) as well as his largest successes (toppling the Microsoft-cornered market), giving the reader a thorough and all-encompassing view of the man and the legend. Perhaps one of the most informative biographies I have read in years, Isaacson hooked me in the early chapters and left me wanting to know more, with his silky narrative style and wonderful anecdotes.

Kudos, Mr. Isaacson for this wonderful view of a man who shaped the future, putting the consumer before profit-margins and ease of use before stardom. I am hooked and will have to look for some of your other work to sate my ever-growing thirst for knowledge.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews683 followers
September 6, 2018
Well, The mighty Steve Jobs that we have so much to learn from.
You can see the Full review here.

The book
Walter Isaacson the author is a well-know writer (Einstein, Franklin are his other biography books) has covered all the aspects of Job's life from his childhood, family, friends, to founding apple with Wozniak, each product design (Macintosh, iphone etc.) and venture (Next, Pixar) he conveyed.

The book has benefited a lot from articulation of Walter Isaacson and the content are precise with rich details as he has interviewed all the people he's named in the book as well as Steve Job.

The best thing about reading biographies and the very reason why I love biographies is the lessons you can learn from the bests. Having a business guru like jobs as a mentor is a blessing not everyone can have and fortunately enough, biographies makes this dream come close to reality. So here are the best things I've learned about Jobs:

Jobs Core Personality Traits and Management Ethics

1. Jobs was an abandoned child, and when he asked his mom and dad if his real parents didn't want him, they repeated slowly: "We specifically picked you out". So, abandoned, chosen, special, became part of what Jobs regarded himself of.

2. From early in childhood, his dad who was a skilled mechanic would take him to show him how repairing is done. He would point out to him the detailing of the designs, lines, vents etc. Jobs also watched his father a lot using his skills in negotiations when bargaining the parts he wanted to purchase. These experience with his father instilled within him persuasion skills and attention to details that came in handy later in his career.

3. Another impacting force on Jobs views was his childhood search of neighborhood exposing him to simple, smart, cheap houses that were build by Joseph Eichler. From these exposures and later his Zen practices, he developed an orientation towards simplicity that influenced later all his ideas and designs.

4. A core personality trait of Jobs which had a significant impact on all his achievements was him being relentless on getting what he needed or what he deemed to be right:
That summer of 1972, after his graduation, he and Brennan moved to a cabin in the hills above Los Altos. “I’m going to go live in a cabin with Chrisann,” he announced to his parents one day. His father was furious. “No you’re not,” he said. “Over my dead body.” They had recently fought about marijuana, and once again the younger Jobs was willful. He just said good-bye and walked out.

One day Jobs walked into the lobby of the video game manufacturer Atari and wanted to be hired there, and told the personnel director, who was startled by his unkempt hair and attire, that he wouldn’t leave until they gave him a job. :D

5. Perhaps the boldest of Jobs traits was his Reality Distortion Field which made him believe what seemed utterly impossible to others and he would always persist that something odd could be done and interestingly enough, he would be often right.

6. He would refuse to accept automatically received truths, and he wanted to examine everything himself.

7. Jobs had came to belief that he could impart his feeling of confidence to others and thus push them to do things they hadn't thought possible

8. A remarkable thing that helped Jobs what he eventually became was his engagement with many great people and mentors and getting into different businesses and careers. For instance:
The Atari experience helped shape Jobs’s approach to business and design. He appreciated the user friendliness of Atari’s insert-quarter-avoid-Klingons games. “That simplicity rubbed off on him and made him a very focused product person,” said Ron Wayne. Jobs also absorbed some of Bushnell’s take-non-prisoners attitude. “Nolan wouldn’t take no for an answer,” according to Alcorn, “and this was Steve’s first impression of how things got done. Nolan was never abusive, like Steve sometimes is. But he had the same driven attitude. It made me cringe, but dammit, it got things done. In that way Nolan was a mentor for Jobs.”

9. Bushnell tought Jobs:
I taught him that if you act like you can do something, then it will work. I told him, ‘Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.

10. Mark Markukula another mentor of Jobs taught him:
You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.

And that is precisely what Job did with apple. He always thought product not profit.
Markulla instilled in Jobs the apple philosophy which revolves around three core principles as follows:

I. Empathy: an intimate connection with the feelings of customers and understanding their needs.
II. Focus: To do what must be done, every other unimportant opportunities must me eliminated.
III. Impute: People from an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it onveys. "People DO judge a book by its cover." If you present your great product in a slipshod manner, it they will be perceived as slipshod.

11. From Alan Kay a Xerox mighty scientist Jobs embraced and applied two Maxims:
I. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
II. People who are serious about software should make their own hardware.

12. A great thing I've noticed being the root of many extraordinary feats has been this:
Because I didn't know how it couldn't be done, I was enabled to do it.

13. Jobs has been an all-time perfectionist and always complaint that young generation has no such quality ingrained in them.

14. Jobs would never compromise quality and perfection in favor of lowering the costs, nor would he care about how much longer the project would be delayed to meet his expectations.

15. Jobs would always argue that "By expecting people to do great things, you can get them to do great things." This actually has proven psychological roots.

16. From Bill Atkinson: "Great art stretches the taste, it doesn't follow the tastes."
17. "No, because customers don't know what they want until we've shown them", this is what Jobs kept replying whoever suggested doing some market research.

18. The journey is the reward. Jobs favorite maxim which too has proven neuropsychological roots. As soon as you reach your goal, the joy vanishes. (Look up dopamine working mechanism and its effects if interested).

19. Another Job's favorite maxim was: "It's better to be a pirate than to join te navy." He wanted to instill a rebel spirit in his team to have them behave like swashbucklers who were proud of their work but willing to commandeer from others.

20. Sculley former PEPSI, the first apple CEO had a weakness to manage a dysfunctional company was his desire to please other people, one of many traits that he did not share with Jobs:
We would go to the Mac building at eleven at night,” Sculley recalled, “and they would bring Jobs code to show. In some cases he wouldn’t even look at it. He would just take it and throw it back at them. I’d say, ‘How can you turn it down?’ And he would say, ‘I know they can do better.’”

21. Microsoft followed a different philosophy, their initial products were often clumsy, but they were extremely persistent, so they kept improving and improving their works.

22. Jobs had a profound emphasis on recruiting only and only A players:
Jobs had latched onto what he believed was a key management lesson from his Macintosh experience: You have to be ruthless if you want to build a team of A players. “It’s too easy, as a team grows, to put up with a few B players, and they then attract a few more B players, and soon you will even have some C players,” he recalled. “The Macintosh experience taught me that A players like to work only with other A players, which means you can’t indulge B players.”

23. As I traversed through the book, I noticed several things contributing to Jobs ability to come up with ideas:
I. He always have been on the edge of the technology and art, aware what's the latest achievements of scientific and artistic communities.
II. He actively would canvass academics to inquire them on their needs and shortcoming to see if he could come up with a solution.
III. Part of his routines what holding occasional retreats with top 100 managers to a resort and keep brainstorming ideas and selecting top 3 out of n+1 proposed ones.

24. What prepared Jobs for great success was getting fired from apple in act I, starting the "Next" venture and indulging and failing in any type of projects he desire. In short, his failures made him the "Steve" we know on act III (which is returning to apple).

25. This one is a bit dark: When he wanted to acquire something that others wouldn't let go of (like his daughter Lisa from his ex-wife) he would spark off a destructive route of ignorance. In case of his daughter, he undermined his ex's effectiveness and her well being to get Lisa to move into his house.

26. A lesson Jobs learned from his Buddhist days was that material possessions often cluttered life than enriched it.

27. One thing the Jobs believed lead to the down fall of apple after he left the company with Sculley was that "Sculley destroyed apple by bringing in corrupt people and corrupt values," "They cared about making money for themselves mainly, and also for apple, rather than making great products.

28. If Jobs new for sure a course of action was right, he was unstoppable. But if he had doubts, he sometimes withdrew, preferring not to thinking about things that did not perfectly suit him.

29. Job's ambition was to build a company that would endure, and he asked Markulla what the formula for that would be. Markulla replied that lasting companies know ho to reinvent themselves.

30. A beautiful phrase I read was Job saying: We at apple have forgotten who we were. One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.

For full the review, you can visit http://livelikepros.com/steve-jobs/
Profile Image for Jane.
32 reviews20 followers
October 30, 2011
I'm still not entirely sure what to think. I keep flipflopping between annoyed/disgusted and inspired.

I applaud Isaacson for putting a masterful bio together without succumbing to the Reality Distortion Field and vomiting out a piece of Jobs-worship like some Apple/Steve-related books out there. I also really appreciate all these little anecdotes, some that I have seen before and others that are new and all the more enjoyable, that people that knew and interacted with Steve shared in one way or another.

On the other hand, I like my personal heroes to have a smidgen of friendly and positive virtues like courtesy and generosity. This book blows away many times over any idea I had that Steve might have been a nice guy at heart with occasional and sometimes very public extremism. The stories related to his daughters and many other women in his personal life nauseated me. I'm frustrated that what I already knew to be his horrifying but effective work attitude also crossed over to his personal life. I appreciate his work and his efforts and he is singlehandedly responsible for me being what I am today, but I despise myself at the moment for having thought this dickless asshole as an awesome role model when I was younger. I wasn't expecting perfection in this regard since we are all human after all, but it was eye opening to see the whole picture in a single book.

But that is what I signed up for when I decided to read a no holds barred official bio of Steve, I suppose. Good and bad and worse, all packaged together in a book that is no less beautiful than the products Apple puts out.

Tomorrow, I will probably feel bad about this review and feel more inspired by the positive aspects of this bio to push myself harder to work better and to do what is right, like Steve would have done. Then the next day I will be frustrated that he didn't have surgery sooner and think about the what ifs. Rinse, repeat.

edit: Tomorrow is today... and Mona's eulogy for her brother is in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/opi...). I think that wonderful eulogy brought more tears to my eyes than this bio or even his death did. Short, simple but beautiful, and more importantly, shows me another side of Steve that is more like the person I thought he was before I read the bio. The side that cared about his family but was hindered by the cancer, spreading and getting worse. Thanks for restoring my faith, Mona.
Profile Image for Mike 🇨🇱 X.
31 reviews21 followers
February 28, 2023
De las mejores biografías que he leído muy completa con muchos detalles, ideal para emprendedores, un capo el autor, quiero leer la biografía de Leonardo da Vinci ahora!
Profile Image for Saadia  B..
184 reviews75 followers
May 20, 2021
Steve Jobs was a genius, who always thought ahead of time. With the help of his passion for perfection and ferocious drive he altogether revolutionized 6 industries: PCs, Animated Movies, Music, Phones, Tablet Computing and Digital Publishing.

Despite being adopted, Steve always regarded himself as ‘Special’ in every way possible. After dropping from Reeds, with Wozniak he co-founded Apple and launched a fully packed computer, one of its first kind from his father’s garage. With Apple II they tapped the personal computer industry.

He was stubborn, arrogant, untrustworthy, rebellion, perfectionist and categorized thoughts differently. Mistreated his adopted parents and never accepted his daughter until later in life. Lied on many occasions and manipulated situations to gain maximum benefit out of them. Was kicked out from Apple for his behavior, hence his role was only limited to being the Chairman. Started another company but failed miserably.

Invested in Pixar and became owner of its 70% shares. Pixar relaunched itself with the Toy Story series which became an instant hit. Pixar was later bought by Walt Disney Animation Studios as they were partners from the very beginning. Jobs joined Apple again and became the iCEO, eventually dropped the ‘i’ which stood for interim and took command as the CEO.

Jobs didn’t believe in research because according to him customers didn’t know what they wanted until it was shown to them. Apple’s advantage from others was its integration of the entire widget from design to hardware to software to content.

It was after Jobs was diagnosed with cancer that he realized the reality of life. But nonetheless treated people as usual - his behavior didn’t change much which was downright arrogant and insulting. However his relation with his daughters was not much cordial, they weren’t as such part of the narrative, apart from the solo-trips he took with them.

Jobs was always skeptical of competition because he believed that his products were the best and didn’t need any competition. That proved to be wrong when Android came into market - competition resulted in better choices and hence better refined products in which Steve didn’t hold much believe.

What I like the most about this book is its honesty about Steve Jobs and his life. Though many times he failed but was never shy of being himself, which made him an icon and a leader.

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Profile Image for Nataliya Yaneva.
165 reviews330 followers
December 11, 2018
Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”, Kierkegaard said. Steve Jobs managed to live even further ahead of his time and pulled a whole world along with him – that of information technology.

No one can accuse Jobs of indiscriminate philanthropy. In any kind of philanthropy in fact. Nor in unmotivated generosity. Thinking about it, I understand from what I read that he didn’t sway towards reasonable generosity either. For Jobs, people were pawns. They helped him achieve his goals when he couldn’t do it on his own, he could flatter them if necessary or crush them with an outburst of angry words. Why am I writing these things when I’m supposed to praise the founder of Apple and Next, the benefactor of Pixar and the catalyst behind the iPhone, iPad, iPod, i-you name it? Because I’ve always been interested in what makes people who they are. What makes them great and what makes them wretches. What are the small steam engines that drive brains like Steve Jobs’? Is he and the others like him crevices in the fabric of time, black holes that swallow inadvertent bodies within their reach or burst supernovae? Or does their appearance simply have something to do with being born in the country of unlimited possibilities where they had actually been able to apply their visionary ideas?

Steve Jobs had no particular skills. He was somewhat of a techie, he had aesthetic sense. He was lucky enough to be born in the world at a time when the flasks of technical innovations were happily simmering and to be insatiably curious. He claimed that one of the most important things he did as a young man was that he had taken LSD. He traveled to India, searched for himself, experimented, and surrendered to all his destructive and creative impulses. In short, he lived and really did manage to take advantage of his experience. In fact, what Jobs did best was to tell people what to do. One of his favorite phrases is “It’s so-and-so in my mind, you have to make it” (loose interpretation). I don’t think he was super intuitive and predicted people’s desires a decade ahead when observing the world around him. I suppose he rather resided in some sort of a Jobsocentric universe, he built his own unshakable notions of what people should want (unless they’re complete morons) and acted on that. Some of his designer (and not only) solutions were rather dubious and haven’t been particularly successful. Ultimately though, the world surrendered and agreed with Jobs that his ideas were pretty cool and Apple became an institution. Well, Apple products remain elitist and not for everyone, but they all follow the creed that a great product goes with bestial advertising and even if not everybody owns one, almost all most certainly have heard of it. Have you ever watched a movie where people use a laptop and it’s not a MacBook (I know you have, but you get what I mean)?

Many of Jobs’ subordinates admit that he was a tyrant, but that he could motivate them to achieve things that they didn’t think they were capable of. A little on the masochistic side indeed, but if it worked... If Steve Jobs told you he wants a color that doesn’t exist, that all components should be ideal, despite the fact that probably no one will ever see them, and that the software will only go with the hardware even if the world collapses, well... you make it. That is Steve’s distorted reality, there’s nowhere to hide from it. Perhaps the most precious quality of Steve Jobs was that he managed to be the link between all the ingenious people he met on his way and that he squeezed every drop of talent from them. That he made the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

What I didn’t understand from Walter Isaacson’s masterfully written biography is whether Jobs was happy. Yes, he was godlessly charismatic, perversely ambitious, he accomplished things that others would need a few lives for, had a big family. Sometimes he looked back with slight melancholy and a dose of bitterness. He was proud of himself, that’s for sure. In any case, he lived a much fuller life than most people.

Steve, wherever you are now, don’t forget – “Park different”.

Животът, казва Киркегор, може да бъде разбран само като се обърнеш назад, но се живее напред. Стив Джобс успява да живее своя дори още по-напред спрямо времето, в което се намира, и придърпва след себе си цял един свят – този на информационните технологии.

Никой не може да вини Джобс в безразборна филантропия. В никаква филантропия всъщност. Нито пък в безпричинна щедрост. Като се замисля, от прочетеното разбирам, че и в основателна щедрост не залита. За Джобс хората са пионки. Те му помагат да постигне целите си, когато не може сам, умее да ги ласкае при нужда или да ги смачква с изблик от гневни думи. Защо пиша тези неща, когато се очаква да възхвалявам основателя на Apple и Next, благодетеля на Pixar и катализатора, който стои зад iPhone, iPad, iPod, i-you name it? Защото винаги ми е било интересно какво прави хората такива, каквито са. Какво ги прави велики и какво ги прави нищожества. Кои са малките парни машинарийки, които задвижват мозъци като този на Стив Джобс? Дали той и останалите като него са зевове в тъканта на времето, черни дупки, които поглъщат невнимателните тела в обхвата си, или избухнали свръхнови? Или пък просто появата им има нещо общо с това, че са били родени в страната на неограничените възможности, та са успели на практика да приложат визионерските си идеи?

Стив Джобс няма особени умения. Малко техничар е, има и естетически усет. Имал е късмета да се появи на света в момент, в който колбите на техническите иновации щастливо къкрят, и да е ненаситно любопитен. Твърди, че едно от най-важните неща, които е правил като млад, е, че е взимал ЛСД. Пътувал е до Индия, търсил е себе си, експериментирал е и се е отдавал на всичките си деструктивни и съзидателни пориви. Накратко, живял е и наистина е успял да се възползва от опита си. Всъщност това, което Джобс умее най-добре, е да казва на хората какво да правят. Една от любимите му реплики е „Представям си го така, вие трябва да го направите“ (свободна интерпретация). Не мисля, че е бил свръхсетивен и наблюдавайки света, е предугаждал какво ще поискат хората след десетилетие. Смятам, че по-скоро е пребивавал в някаква джобсоцентрична вселена, изграждал си е собствени непоклатими представи какво би трябвало да искат хората (освен ако не са пълни дебили) и е действал спрямо тях. Някои от дизайнерските му (и не само) решения са били доста съмнителни и не са пожънали особен успех. В крайна сметка обаче светът се предал и се съгласил с Джобс, че идеите му са доста готини и Apple станали институция. Е, продуктите им си остават елитарни и не за всеки, но пък до един се подчиняват на максимата, че страхотният продукт върви със зверска реклама и ако не всички го имат, то поне са го чували. Вие гледали ли сте филм, в който хората да ползват лаптоп и той да не е MacBook (знам, че сте, но разбирате какво имам предвид)?

Доста от подчинените на Джобс признават, че е тиранин, но и че с това успява да ги мотивира да постигнат неща, които самите те не са знаели, че могат. Малко мазохистично наистина, но пък щом действа… Каже ли ти Стив Джобс, че иска да цвят, който не съществува, че трябва всички компоненти да са идеални, нищо, че никой никога няма да ги види и че софтуерът ще върви само с хардуера и това е, ако ще светът да се сгромоляса, ами… правиш го. Изкривената реалност на Стив, няма къде да мърдаш. Може би най-ценното у Стив Джобс е, че успява да бъде спойката на всички гениални хора, които среща по пътя си, и да изстиска всяка капчица талант от тях. Да направи така, че цялото да стане повече от сбора на частите си.

Това, което не разбрах от майсторски написаната биография на Уолтър Айзъксън, е дали Джобс е бил щастлив. Да, бил е безбожно харизматичен, извратено амбициозен, постигнал е неща, за които на други биха им трябвали няколко живота, имал е и немалко семейство. Понякога е поглеждал назад с лека меланхолия и с доза горчивина. Гордеел се е със себе си, това е сигурно. При всички случаи е живял много по-пълноценно от повечето хора.

Стив, където и да си сега, не трябва да забравяш – ‘Park different’.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,069 reviews31.3k followers
January 18, 2019
It's amazing how much you can learn about life when you look at life through someone else's eyes. Steve Jobs is such a different person from me and he also accomplished so much in his life.

I really didn't know much about Apple before this book. I am writing this on a MacBook Air, but until 2014 when I got my first iphone, I had never owned an Apple product. I am impressed with what I see and for someone not skilled with computers, I have found Apple much easier to use.

What I enjoyed about this book is that Walter interviews everyone in Job's life and he shares negative things people say as well as positive. I feel it is a balanced look into this man's life and we see that Steve Jobs was not perfect.

One of the stories told in the book was at the beginning of the company Jobs was dirty and he would soak his feet in the toilet. What? I mean, really. I nearly threw up. So gross. I guess he did live through that.

I also appreciated reading about the relationship between Steve and Bill Gates. It started out as a heated rivalry and it seems they developed a respect for each other over their 30 years. There were some great insights here.

Steve helped start and get off the ground several companies. Apple of course, and Nexxt and what would become Pixar. He was also the CEO of that company. Being the CEO of 2 companies is crazy.

Something else I didn't know was Apple almost went out of business. Steve was brought back in after being fired and he turned the company into one of the biggest companies on Earth. It really is an amazing story. Steve is a visionary, but he isn't a nice person. He yelled all the time and was basically mean to people. The world is you know what you are doing, or you are a Bozo. That's about it.

He was a Zen Buddhist. He also went to India on a spiritual yoga trip. His simplistic design came from that Zen Buddhist slant.

He admits to not spending much time with family, or not as much as he should have and he admits to wanting to publish this book she his kids might understand why he wasn't there so much. He did things with his kids, but not as much as they wanted maybe.

He is quite a figure and I am impressed with the book and with Steve. I have a whole new perspective on the Apple company. I do notice that Apple hasn't released anything really big lately and I wonder if it's because Steve isn't there pushing. I bet they will soon though.

Steve really did help create the modern technological world we are living in right now. One man can help shape the world it appears. Obviously, he had lots and lots of help and great people working for him. He knew that and admitted that. Still, he had a vision to make things better and there are things he did make better.
Profile Image for فهد الفهد.
Author 1 book4,834 followers
September 28, 2016
ستيف جوبز

شاهدت قبل أيام فيلم (Steve Jobs) لداني بويل، والذي لعب فيه مايكل فاسبندر دور جوبز، يعتمد الفيلم الرائع على السيرة الذاتية التي كتبها والتر ايزاكسون بطلب من جوبز نفسه، ولكن يركز الفيلم شخصية جوبز وصراعاته ويتجاهل بقية التفاصيل، فلذا من الأفضل قراءة الكتاب قبل مشاهدة الفيلم، وهو عكس ما فعلته، فقد شاهدت الفيلم مفترضاً معرفتي بتفاصيل حياة جوبز ومسيرته، وحالما فرغت قررت أنني احتاج بعض التوضيحات لهذا بدأت بقراءة الكتاب الذي كنت أؤجله منذ صدوره.

ايزاكسون كاتب سيرة بارع، يقوم بواجبه التوثيقي بشكل ممتاز، يلتقي بالعشرات ممن عملوا مع جوبز، من محبيه وكارهيه على السواء، ثم يحول كل هذا الركام من المقابلات والوثائق واللقاءات المصورة وعروض أبل التي قدمها جوبز، بل حتى الاعلانات التلفزيونية إلى سيرة مشوقة لأحد ألمع رجال وادي السليكون، سيرة ابن مهاجر سوري تخلى عنه والداه، وعاش مطارداً بهذا الهاجس طيلة حياته، شاب ذكي خاض فترة من التصوف قادته إلى الهند وعقاقير الهلوسة، ثم عاد ليبني إمبراطورية من الحواسب والهواتف وأجهزة تشغيل الموسيقى، نعرف جوبز جيداً من خلال المنتجات التي قدمتها لنا الشركة التي أسسها، ولكن سنعرف كيف وصلت هذه الأجهزة وهذه التطبيقات إلى شكلها الحالي عندما نقرأ سيرة جوبز وأفكاره وشخصيته، سنفهم كيف تحولت أبل إلى عملاق في عالم الهواتف عندما نفهم السعي إلى الكمال والذي جعل جوبز يصر على أن تصنع أبل نفسها وتتحكم بكل دورة من المنتج من التخطيط له وحتى بيعه، هكذا صنعت وتصنع أبل العتاد المادي لأجهزتها، وأنظمة التشغيل والتطبيقات الأساسية ومتاجرها، يظهر هذا كله عقيدة جوبز في التحكم التام وإظهار المنتج بأفضل صورة ممكنة.

ستحب جوبز وستكرهه وأنت تقرأ الكتاب، ستشعر بأنه عظيم وحقير في ذات الوقت، وحدها شخصية معقدة كل هذا التعقيد يمكن لها أن تضع أبل وعلامتها حيث هي اليوم.
Profile Image for Michael Perkins.
Author 6 books375 followers
August 19, 2023
This is the better book, by far. Read it instead of the Isaacson hack job. The author knew Jobs for 35 years. And the book also has the virtue of being shorter than Isaacson and far more pertinent.



What you need to know, there's a huge flaw, a gaping hole in the book. How do I know? Because I covered Silicon Valley tech for 3o years as a journalist and author. This hole in the book would be like leaving the Sun out of a discussion of the solar system.

The big absence is the importance of NEXT, the company that Jobs founded after he was forced out of Apple. Jobs was at NEXT for 14 years, before being invited back to a floundering Apple as a "consultant."

The key is that what Jobs implemented when he returned was all built on NEXT technology. It completely turned Apple around when it was 90 days from bankruptcy.

NEXT not only provided a whole new operating system (OS) for the Macintosh (years overdue), but the OS behind the IPod, iPad, and the iPhone. It became an entirely new company and is one of the top tech companies in the world today.

Isaacson misses the importance of this completely (his index shows only a half dozen scattered references to NEXT). This is a head-scratcher because what he left out is actually common knowledge amongst people who work in tech here.

The book has various anecdotes and such, but with the missing core it is not the true story of Jobs and Apple. See below for a better choice.


Revisiting this review left me ever more puzzled with the author. His book was published in 2011. In 2005, Jobs gave an excellent commencement address at Stanford in which he placed the story of NEXT as central to the Apple turnaround. His speech was widely circulated on the Net, with millions of viewers. How did the author miss that?

Profile Image for Nawal Al-Qussyer.
167 reviews2,186 followers
January 14, 2012
قرأته قبل شهرين، ولعلي أتذكر انطباعي التام عنه وأنا أكتب المراجعة متأخرة

هذا الكتاب هو كما يبدو، سيرة ذاتية للراحل ستيف جوبز الغني عن التعريف، طلب ستيف من والتر أن يكتب سيرته الذاتية، وكان صريحا فيها تماما وكان يقول له أكتب ماتريده وماقلته ولن أقوم بقراءة السيرة أصلا.
ذهلت كثيرا عند قراءتي لسيرته.لأسباب عديدة
كان كتاب طويلاومليء بالمواقف المهمة والأخرى الغير مهمة، والأخرى التي تفضح لك شخصية ستيف بدون أي محسنات

ذهللت كثيرا من الصراحة التامة ، وظهور ستيف جوبز كما هو، بدون تلميع للصورة وبدون أي تبجيل لشخصه، بل على العكس تماما. في بعض المقاطع تجد صراحة كيف يتحدث الاخرون عن رائحته الغير جيدة، وإجبارهم له للاستحمام. وهذه نقطة أكبرتها في الكتاب - طبعا من بيئة مثل بيئتا تبجل الأشخاص ماذا تتوقع مني إلا أن أكبرها؟-
الصراحة في هذه السيرة مذهلة، وهذا شيء يحسب لستيف و والتر و أصدقاء ستيفز

مضيت وقت جيد في قراءة التاب، وكان وقت طويلا لأني أصبت ببعض الملل.
بكيت كثيرا في الكتاب - في طفولته بالطبع - ودهشت من القدر فالدنيا رغم اتساعها الا انها صغيرة حيث كان يأكل في مطعم والده البيولوجي بدون معرفة بعضهما البعض. ضضحكت كثيرا كثيرا، واستمتعت، أحيانا كانت شخصيته وصراحة باعثة للضحك. لكني رغم هذا لم أشعر بقطرة إلهام.
وهذا ماجعل السيرة بالنسبة لي غير استثنائية على الإطلاق.

والتر كاتب رائع، الجمل سلسلة وقابلة للفهم بكل سولة، لم أواجه أي صعوبة ولم أحتاج لدكشنري وأنا أقرأ.
كانت سيرة متكاملة ومكتوبة جيدا، سيرة صريحة لرجل سيبقى في أذهاننا طويلا.

Profile Image for Tim.
147 reviews71 followers
July 12, 2023
This is a brilliantly written biography that kept me riveted through the whole book. Even if you are not into Apple or any kind of tech geek, you might find this interesting.

It’s the story of a creative genius, including a balanced account of his complex personality. Steve Jobs was a vegan hippie artist who didn’t really care about money. He was also a ruthless Corporate titan with cruel streak a mile wide.

It’s the story of his successes and failures. His failures were relatively rare but he did have some humbling moments. His successes were remarkable. The book gives great insight into his successes – what inspired his creativity, how he seemingly willed his way through obstacles, how he motivated and persuaded others, and the wreckage he would leave behind.

It was the question of leadership that absorbed me most about the book. Steve Jobs had an incredible record of success as an entrepreneur and leader across different companies and products. What can leaders learn from Steve Jobs?

First, some throat clearing. I don’t want to be like Steve Jobs, and I hope more people don’t become inspired to act like him. He was very self-centered and treated people shabbily. He was not afraid to berate and embarrass people publicly, sometimes for minor or even completely undeserved causes. And it was not because he lacked the ability to be attuned to how his words could pierce. In fact, he was very empathetic, knew exactly what he was doing, and the cruelty was often the whole point.

More throat clearing: often the inspiration he sparked in his team wasn’t because of his unique personal style; it was just because they knew he was a creative genius. They were willing to put up with the abuse for the opportunity to work for him. They knew he was usually right and trusted his overall vision. This limits how much leaders can learn from him, since you can’t just turn yourself into a creative genius.

All that said, I think there are a couple things about his style that leaders could learn from. First, Jobs made his team feel like they were working on the most important thing in the world. He would tell them that this was their chance to “put a dent in the Universe”. He could say things like this to his team, and they would believe him, because Jobs himself really believed it. His energy was contagious. For most jobs and organizations, generating this much motivation this way is unrealistic, but it doesn’t mean you can’t at least make some marginal improvements in communicating the importance of the work.

The book also made me think of the productive role conflict can have. Coincidentally, I read this the same time I read Conflicted: How Productive Disagreements Lead to Better Outcomes, by Ian Leslie. Leslie argues that arguments and conflict, even if they are heated and emotional, can serve a valuable service to teams and relationships. For one, they help efficiently weed out bad ideas. That might seem obvious, but the book also discusses other benefits that are more subtle, like how it can also strengthen relationships by stopping long simmering resentments. In Jobs’ orgs, people fought passionately for their ideas and didn’t try to spare people’s feelings. Jobs’ brutal honesty towards ideas and people he disliked were too extreme, but teams and relationships can often err in the other direction, by having a culture that avoids conflict and becomes stagnant.

Highly recommended! I’m optimistic that there is a non-jerky application of some of Jobs’ most effective leadership skills you can try to apply. And even if you are not interested in leadership, he is just a fascinating cat.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews600 followers
September 10, 2016
Update: I 'did' read this a ways back - my friend gave me her book when done--her husband is still living - a Survivor of pancreatic cancer! Doing well!
At the time when I read this - I was actually wanting to read as much as I could about the his cancer -( because of my friend John).
There wasn't enough to pull anything from---yet-I was fascinated with everything else. Nobody has made a bigger difference in the quality of people's lives, in my lifetime, than Steve Jobs.
It bothered me though that the criticism about him was a little too repetitive for me-it kept being driven home.

So... in updating this old review today, my reason in doing so, is that I just finished listening to another Steve Jobs book which I enjoyed -Becoming Steve Jobs".

If there are still people who have not read any biography, or seen any movie, about Steve Jobs....I think you're missing out by not doing so. He was the visionary leader in our lifetime that made the biggest difference to the most amount of people.

I'm not sure when I'll read this book ---(I've got others to read first)---but my friend has pancreatic cancer ---(the SAME TYPE as Steve Jobs). Enough inspiration to want me to read this book.

John also lives in the same town as the Jobs family...(only a few miles away) ---
John is another GREAT mind, ---a psychiatrist for 40 years ---(Harvard Educated)
Married 40 years -- 2 adult daughters --- 2 twin grand sons.

I'm sad Steve Jobs died...he was brilliant --(would have loved to see things he would have continued to create for another 40 years)
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