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Steve Jobs: Insanely Great

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Whether they’ve seen Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs movie, read Walter Isaacson’s biography, or just own an iPhone, this graphic novel retelling of the Apple innovator’s life will capture the imaginations of the legions of readers who live and breathe the technocentric world Jobs created.
Told through a combination of black-and-white illustrations and handwritten text, this fast-paced and entertaining biography in graphic format presents the story of the ultimate American entrepreneur, the man who brought us Apple Computer, Pixar, Macs, iPods, iPhones, and more.
Jobs’s remarkable life reads like a history of the personal technology industry. He started Apple Computer in his parents’ garage and eventually became the tastemaker of a generation, creating products we can’t live without. Through it all, he was an overbearing and demanding perfectionist, both impossible and inspiring. Capturing his unparalleled brilliance, as well as his many demons, Jessie Hartland’s engaging biography illuminates the meteoric successes, devastating setbacks, and myriad contradictions that make up the extraordinary life and legacy of the insanely great Steve Jobs.

Here's the perfect book for any teen interested in STEM topics, especially tech.
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this comic tale can hang with the sprawling biographies.” —Macworld.com
“An accessible take . . . undoubtedly valuable for kids who are growing up using Apple’s products but knowing little about the man who created them.” —GeekDad.com

240 pages, Hardcover

First published July 21, 2015

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About the author

Jessie Hartland

29 books11 followers
Jessie Hartland is the author and illustrator many nonfiction titles for young readers, including Our Flag Was Still There, which was named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. The New York Times praised her “joyful folk-art illustrations” in Harlem Grown, written by Tony Hillery. She has painted murals at a Japanese amusement park, designed Christmas windows for Bloomingdale’s, and put her mark on ceramics, watches, and all sorts of other things. She has done drawings for many magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Travel and Leisure Family Club, Martha Stewart Kids, and Bon Appétit. She lives in New York City.

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5 stars
288 (27%)
4 stars
411 (39%)
3 stars
277 (26%)
2 stars
51 (4%)
1 star
6 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 252 reviews
Profile Image for Kelli.
850 reviews394 followers
October 17, 2017
My son grabbed this from his school library and I read it first because the librarian warned me it had drug use in it. My son thought this was “pretty good.” To me it seemed long and there were things that were brought up but then never mentioned again, so I had questions. What about Lisa? Did his relationship with his birth family continue? Why the big gap at the end? I understand he was sick, but there were years with no commentary. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the flashbacks to what was new in the past decades (and it gave visuals for my son to go with all the stuff I’m always nostalgic for and waxing on about), I learned the meaning behind many (possibly no longer used) computer terms, and I gained some appreciation for the creativity and genius mind of Steve Jobs. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Cole.
25 reviews
February 13, 2019
I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in technology. This book is about Steve Jobs the founder of Apple and NeXT. He owned Pixar and had hand in a ton of different companies, many of which you know very well. Steve Jobs had a very high-life, now that's not to say all of it was. He had quite a few low, low, lows. He was diagnosed with cancer and died at age 56. I really liked this book and now have a greater knowledge of Steve Jobs.
Profile Image for GRIS.
440 reviews75 followers
March 13, 2016
“Vuestro tiempo es limitado, no lo malgastéis viviendo la vida de otro. Que no os atrapen los dogmas, que sólo sirven para que vivamos con los resultados de lo que piensa otra gente. No dejéis que el ruido de la opinión de otros ahogue vuestra voz interior. Seguid hambrientos. Seguid alocados. Lo más importante, tened el valor de seguir vuestro corazón e intuición. De alguna manera, ya saben lo que queréis llegar a ser. Todo lo demás es secundario.”
—Steve Jobs
Profile Image for Barb Middleton.
1,682 reviews124 followers
December 4, 2015
The illustration of a Hollerith machine reminded me of the IBM machine in our high school in the 80s. We were given a stack of punch cards that we had to code. We used it in math class for numeric computation. I'd punch the cards, run them through the machine and Blammo! it never worked for me. I really hated that machine. I took a DOS class in the 90s and it reminded me of the punch card days. One detail off and the whole thing-a-ma-jig would not work. Ugh! This book is a walk down nightmare machine lane. My brother bought one of the first Macintosh personal computers that went public in 1984 when Steve Jobs was still in his twenties. I thought that computer was the best thing since chocolate ice cream and my brother graciously let me use it whenever I wanted. Jobs was innovative, creative, and demanding and this book captures his quirks marvelously. The only strange bit is that it is geared toward young kids but mentions Jobs smoking pot and using LSD. Not sure why the editors put that in the book but be aware that it is there.

The style of the book is quite different with illustrations and hand-written font. One of the things Jobs loved was calligraphy and he was proud of the fonts option in his software program Macwrite. I remember that program. I'd put several disks in to boot the program because there was no hard drive and oftentimes the computer froze, but I'd give my left hip any day for a computer over my much-hated typewriter.

The book spans Jobs life and covers his personal life, career path, and idiosyncrasies. This is a more positive take on his contributions and does not explore his difficult personality as adult versions do. He was controversial and the book shows that but it focuses more on the technology, innovations, and Job's inventive mind.

One part of the book shows how Jobs and Bill Gates took Xerox PARC's ideas of graphical user interface and created an easy-to-use product for the public to consume. Jobs is accusing Gates in one illustration of stealing his ideas and Gates in turn accuses him of stealing Xerox's idea. Dewey did the same thing when he invented the library system. So did Edison when he invented the light bulb. Many of the great inventors just perfect or make better existing ideas. It is clear that Jobs attention to detail, design background, and perfectionism were what made him good at creating quality products.

The Kindle format made it hard to read all the two-page spreads but it was doable. I'm sure it wouldn't have been acceptable to Jobs if he had designed the eReader. Just kidding. The repeated line that Job's used, "Insanely great!" adds to the evidence of his innovative spirit. The layout and design of this book reminds me of Marissa Moss's illustrations. It is not quite a graphic novel, but it departs from narrative text with all the illustrations.

I've been reading conversations on this blog called, Heavy Medal, and they were discussing fatal flaws in books and how it can prevent winning a Newbery award. The controversy was around one paragraph in "The Hired Girl." This Steve Jobs book would be another one that seems to go in the same category. Why did the editors add the drug reference when it doesn't contribute to the focus of the story? When society has problems with underage drinking and drugs, why would you make it look like it is okay to do that? The blog discussions have made me think about fatal flaws and how my biases come into play. While I find the drug reference not appropriate, some of you will think no big deal. Decide for yourself.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
October 9, 2015
I liked this better than I thought I would. I really have no interest in Steve Jobs or the effort to deify him as hipster Zen Buddhist (?) pothead to capitalist icon billionaire crushing the global competition. But this book just came i my library and was shelved in the YA section, so I checked it out.. . . and given how much I loathe whatever it is I know about him, I didn't think this adoring bio sucked. It should have been in color instead of black and white, the sketchy style doesn't fir his sleek aesthetic, it tries to make him out to be so hippie cool when he was increasingly a pretty mean-spirited control freak in his biz practices (Okay, I'm not an expert here, I just read the papers. .. and recall some of the obits). But given my grumpy approach to it, it was better than I thought it would be. I mean, techie nerds need their heroes, too, I guess.
19 reviews1 follower
November 27, 2018
This biography shows who Steve Jobs was, and told what he did with his life really well. The reason I give it such a low rating though is that, it's hard to track what is happening, because of the pictures. The pictures kinda are everywhere, and the words are everywhere with the pictures. On a few pages, it shows a full page of pictures, and added text under the pictures. Its format is kinda like a little kid picked where the things in the book were going to go, but it does tell the story of Steve Jobs pretty well.
Profile Image for Wilde Sky.
Author 16 books34 followers
March 17, 2018
A short graphic biography of one of the founders of Apple.

I didn’t really know anything about Steve Jobs, besides he was one of the founders of Apple, so for me this book provided quite a bit of new information – for example how much of a ‘borrower’ he was (at least according to this book).

My rating of 3 stars (rather than higher) is because of the lack of detail and also some of the pages were appeared garbled.
Profile Image for Odalis Rojas.
12 reviews
March 9, 2020
Excelente libro
Lo disfruté como si fuera una niña de principio a fin. La narrativa y las ilustraciones de #Jessiehartland supremas... el final del libro mejor imposible... cierra con parte del discurso que diera Jobs en Stanford... con aquel consejo tan sutil y profundo a la vez... que parece tontito “ten el coraje de seguir tu corazón y tu intuición” simplemente #genial #stevejobs.
Profile Image for Jason.
197 reviews8 followers
September 11, 2021
Good one. After watching the movie, I have been meaning to read the biography by Walter Isaacson.
As for a graphic novel, initially the lettering seemed hardly legible. I found this a bit irritating at first, but then got used to it. The art work was ok for me.
Still, enjoyed the read and hence 4 stars
Profile Image for Aulia Mia.
54 reviews13 followers
October 15, 2017
"Steve Jobs - Insanely Great" adalah sebuah biografi yang dikemas dalam bentuk novel grafis. Ilustrasi seorang Jessie Hartland cukup menarik, butuh sedikit penyesuaian awalnya tapi lama-lama mudah diikuti. Selain kisah Steve, Hartland menambahkan beberapa fakta perkembangan teknologi sejak tahun 1960-an, dikemas dengan ringan sehingga dapat juga dinikmati oleh anak-anak. Kisah Steve sendiri dibagi menjadi beberapa chapter, buatku yang tidak mengenal seorang Steve Jobs, part yang paling menarik adalah masa kecil Steve dan saat setelah dia terpaksa mundur dari Apple.

Steve Jobs dibesarkan dengan perhatian dan kasih sayang oleh kedua orang tua tirinya, dari Paul Jobs lah Steve terbiasa merakit sesuatu, ini membuatnya merasa dia bisa menciptakan apapun. Seiring perkembangan Steve, orang tuanya terus memelihara dan mengembangkan keingintahuannya. Ditahun-tahun yang belum ada internet itu jika seseorang ingin mengetahui sesuatu ia harus mencarinya melalui buku-buku, dan Steve adalah seorang anak yang tidak segan-segan menelpon tetangganya untuk menanyakan sesuatu ataupun pergi ke perpustakaan membaca banyak buku.

Kisah hidup Steve Jobs mengajarkan kita tentang kekuatan tekad, fokus dan semangat kerja keras dalam kondisi apapun. Setelah diberhentikan dari Apple, Steve tidak larut dalam kesedihan, ia berfikir tentang apa yang akan dia lakukan selanjutnya. Ia membangun sebuah perusahaan baru bernama NeXT, kemudian perusahaan animasi berbasis komputer bernama PIXAR, hingga di ditarik menjadi anggota dewan di Disney. Sebelum pada akhirnya kembali ke Apple, Steve Jobs terus membuktikan kecemerlangannya dengan berbagai karya. Di tahun 2005, Steve menjadi pembicara di Universitas Stanford, yang mana kata-katanya akan slalu diingat orang setelah kepergiannya.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be. Trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Stay hungry.. stay foolish"
Profile Image for Weird01.
18 reviews4 followers
March 25, 2016
Me fascina el trabajo que realizó Steve Jobs. Siempre me ha parecido tan ejemplar, aún cuando evidentemente era un líder bastante exigente. Es de mis inspiraciones para querer destacarme en el campo que tanto amo.

Me encantó este libro, porque aun cuando no se mete mucho en detalles; si deja la idea concisa de lo que él realizó y de verdad que es ARTE. No hay ni una sola página en la que solo haya texto, toda la tipografía y dibujos están como hechos a mano. Fue Excepcional.
2 reviews
Currently reading
February 8, 2023
1st-This book was a very good read for when I was just relaxing and trying to get some stuff done without actually doing anything. Some of the quotes and what the book was saying really stood out to me and it could stick out to you as well. I would recommend this book to people who like steve jobs or have a passion for technology. He played a big part in tech stuff so it's interesting reading about him. With that being said I would most likely recommend this book. People will end up loving it as much as I love it. So, in my opinion, everybody should read it

2nd- There wasn’t that many things that weren't good about the book but the few things really stuck out to me. 1st the reading was kind of hard to read in some parts of the book because it's in his handwriting. It is hard to understand but its like a biography and its kinda annoying when it's like that. Most of the book it pretty good but it tends to get off topic a lot you can be talking about one thing then all of a sudden your talking about limes dropping from helicopters on the beach. Which is confusing and is not that fun to read when you cant process what is going on. But those are the only main things I spotted in the book.

3rd- The message in the book is to live you life to the fullest because you never know when it can be taken away. Steve jobs was a good man who did a lot of good things but sadly passed away making people wonder what he couldve accomplished if he was alive for longer. There is multiple messages one that was the best was do your homework that was some of his wise words that he said. You do your homework you tend to keep your mind active and get more things done. That is why this book is a good read it tells encouraging stuff from just reading it.
22 reviews
November 1, 2019
This book was great! I enjoyed reading about Steve Jobs' life because he was a very successful man. It was interesting to see how he started from dropping out of college to becoming a millionaire. Furthermore, it was entertaining to read about how Apple was created and built up to where it is today. Steve Jobs was a genius and many people still look up to him because of his success in business. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone that likes technology.
39 reviews10 followers
November 15, 2018
This is the best biography I have ever read. It can be many different genres such as Non-fiction or graphic novel. I definitely recommend this book. I read it in one night which was about 2 hours. This story was about Steve Jobs and how his life was. I learned lots and lots of facts. I loved this book!!! P.S
This is the book Mrs. Morgan was talking about in class. I put it under the biography section.
Profile Image for Павел.
112 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2020
Биография Джобса в доступной форме, можно прочитать за вечер, что я и сделал 😊
Profile Image for Faidz Zainal Abidin.
237 reviews8 followers
December 18, 2020

If you are really interested in Jobs’ autobiography, read Walter Isaacson. This is a brief biography targeted at younger readers and it is good enough. This is Jobs on ‘surface’.
7 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2016
I read the book Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland. This book is a graphic biography about Steve Jobs and his many great inventions. The main characters in this book are Steve Jobs, his family, and Woz. This book's setting was manly in silicon valley for Steve's childhood. The author does a great job of making you feel that you are there with Steve in that moment living his very own life. The illustrations also add to that affect because they are drawn with such detail. I thought that this book was amazing to read. The book told the life of Steve Jobs really well. However I disliked that the author spent very little time on describing each and every moment of his life. There were good descriptions, but I think that the author should have gone more in depth on explaining each moment of Steve's life. For example, when Steve is in his childhood it talks very briefly about his time at school but I feel that the author could've explained Steve's times at school more. Another time this happened was when Steve traveled. All the book said was that he traveled around a lot and listed some of the places that he traveled. But the author could have been more in depth about his travels such as, what he did, what he learned, and (very) specific events from that place. Overall, Steve Jobs: Insanely Great was a great book and I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about Steve Jobs and his "insanely great" apple products.
Profile Image for Yu Fung Leung.
3 reviews9 followers
January 24, 2016
Wish I had something more positive to say about it, but the art and lettering is very poor, I'm talking about 'high school student doing art homework' level poor. Which is ironic since Jobs hammered so much on sleek and sharp design aesthetics, throughout his life. Simplistic or child-like illustrations can be charming and/or serve their purpose, but I don't feel it did in this case. it just looked bland and lazy to me, to be honest.

Still somewhat entertaining, but I think that has more to do because Jobs is an interesting subject because of his turbulent personality and the things he accomplished. And it was nice to have a relatively short summation of his life. But I don't feel the author added a lot to the the story itself, on the whole it stayed fairly superficial and by the numbers.

I have no idea why people would rate this book 5 stars. There is just not enough quality or content in either the art or the story.

Profile Image for Linda.
1,851 reviews2 followers
December 30, 2015
ARC picked up at BEA last May.

A very thorough graphic chronology of Steve Jobs life that doesn't sugar coat anything. The author also occasionally pauses in the telling of the Jobs story to remind the reader what technology was at times - reminding this oldster when microwave ovens became popular and what music formats were in use at different times.

The entire book is in black and white and crude, but identifiable, drawings. The author also did a book about Julia Child that I will definitely be reading.
Profile Image for Paula.
806 reviews29 followers
July 21, 2015
This graphic biography is a fascinating look at an "insanely great" life. The devices our kids take for granted today, first started as someone's idea-often Steve Job's. I think kids will be excited to read about the man/mind behind their iPhones, iPods, iPads, and laptops. The graphic bio format is truly well done and will make this biography even more accessible to readers. Simple illustrations and key highlights of his life make this a great read for anyone curious about this modern day genius!
4 reviews1 follower
September 19, 2016
The book Steve Jobs: Insanely Great, is a wonderful graphic novel about Steve Jobs. The book goes over Steve's life starting from when he was adopted as a little boy all the way to his final hours of his times. It goes over how Steve came to start the company we all talk about today which is of course, Apple. In the book you will encounter his struggles, successes and much more about his rocky road through life, all brought together with interesting drawings on every page. Overall this was an easy read, but still a good one that could suit all ages.
Profile Image for Samantha.
2,886 reviews9 followers
February 25, 2016
It's hard for me to review this book, because it is hard for me to be objective about Jobs. I think it gives a good overview of his accomplishments. I also really like the technology section. I do wish the author had emphasized his shortcomings a bit more. If I didn't know more about Jobs, reading this book would probably lead me to believe he was an exemplary human, rather than the complicated being he was.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews313 followers
October 23, 2015
A good overview of Jobs's life and contributions to modern technology. Imagine where we'd be if not for Steve Jobs (I wouldn't be writing this review on my iPhone for one). This book concentrates mostly on Jobs's career and tech innovations. I'd especially keep it in mind for teens trying to figure out their path to career.
Profile Image for Paola Torres.
103 reviews2 followers
January 22, 2016
U era diferente y interesante de leer una biografía de uno de los genios más grandes que a existido para mí parecer.
Es increíble su astucia y su inteligencia. No se rindió hasta conseguir lo que quería y su perseverancia es increíble. Soy una gran de todo lo que creo y como lo creo.
Profile Image for Ella Beargie.
10 reviews
August 29, 2016
This book was a really fun book to read. Many fun facts were included in this book which made this book an interesting book to read. Not only was this book fun to read I also learned a lot by reading this.
6 reviews15 followers
October 22, 2016
An interesting and cool way of representing one of the coolest, craziest and inspiring people of the Technology Industry. It was fun reading the book that throws light on the overview and few important milestones in the life of late Steve Jobs. A nice read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 252 reviews

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