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iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  9,568 ratings  ·  199 reviews
iCon takes a look at the most astounding figure in a business era noted for its mavericks, oddballs, and iconoclasts. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Jeffrey Young and William Simon provide new perspectives on the legendary creation of Apple, detail Jobs's meteoric rise, and the devastating plunge that left him not only out of Apple, but out of the computer-making busi ...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 2005)
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Floduardo de Almeida It's not against Jobs. It is an non authorized biography contrarily to the one of Walter Isaacson. But it's a good book! They even talk about his life…moreIt's not against Jobs. It is an non authorized biography contrarily to the one of Walter Isaacson. But it's a good book! They even talk about his life at NEXT and Pixar.(less)

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 ·  9,568 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Amar Pai
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Enjoyably dishy. Crazy thing is the book ends before the iPhone era-- and even without the iPhone/iPad, Jobs's list of accomplishments is huge. This book may be annoying to some cos it's not especially charitable towards Jobs-- makes him out to be a huge asshole really-- and it's written in a vaguely gossipy style. But I found that kind of refreshing given how uncritical anybody else has been since he died. Yeah the guy was a visionary technologist/businessman, but come on he wasn't the f*** Dal ...more
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Looking at the title and cover of the book, I thought this would be a book written by Jobs' admirers in the Silicon Valley. As I started reading it, I felt that the book was perhaps being objective by writing the truth rather than shower praise on Jobs for everything under the sun. But gradually, I realized that the book pays basically only back-handed compliments to Steve Jobs and tries to say that practically all the achievements for which Jobs is credited, there is someone else whose vision i ...more
Bojan Tunguz
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recently Steve Jobs has been named the CEO of the decade by Fortune magazine. The announcement was hardly surprising to anyone who has been following the business world over the last ten years. Apple Computer, the company that he cofounded and the one that his name will always be associated with the most, has gone from the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s to one of the most spectacularly successful companies in the World today and the top brand name. The announcement cemented his already st ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it

The title of this books tell the gist of the story. What Steve Jobs did with his return to Apple was truly and amazingly the greatest second act. Normally people do not get such second chances in life. In case of Jobs, he actually ended up earning that chance and then made billions out of it. There are lots of critics, including in this book, who have accused him of riding on other’s success or being autocratic and unreasonable or sometimes being too lucky but nobod
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Steve Jobs has lived a roller coaster existence. He was never challenged enough in school and, therefore, never excelled. He went on to cofound Apple Computers despite this lack of education. Was summarily booted by the president he hired. Founded another computer company that faced great difficulty getting off the ground, which it never quite did. Turned a failing computer animation company into the powerhouse known as Pixar. And, finally, came back to Apple and helped pick them up from the dol ...more
Ismael Mejia
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've read this book well before Steve Jobs was dead, and before W. Isaacson biography, and I think it gives an appropriate view of the good and the bad parts of his life. Anyway with all the publicity after his dead, biographies like this one tend to be forgotten. ...more
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
A LITTLE slow at the start, this book quickly becomes a very fast read--as you're fascinated by Steve Jobs' drive to build, his legendary feuds with colleagues and business associates, and towards the end his scaling the heights of wealth and fame. Near the end, as he becomes a mogul of three industries (computers, movies and music), you just can't put it down. And unbelievably, after all this success, the book was written before the iPhone! So the authors' sense of growing wonder at Steve's acc ...more
Bhargav Indurthi
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Steve Jobs was an iconic character during his time primarily because of his command of the revolutionary company Apple. I am sure that most of us are very intrigued about his personality and his personal life to begin with. At the same time we have formed a portrait of Steve with all the media coverage to this point identifying him as an overly zealous, ambitious, unconventional, passionate and ruthless early technology entrepreneurs.

The author Jeffrey S. Young rightly identifies with the reade
Richard Altenburg
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a long time Apple, music and animation movies fan, I am probably biased in writing this review. But during the years I started to learn using and programming NeXT and Macintosh computers, watched great movies like "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo", and listened to my music collection on my iPod, I was not even aware of the fact that all this pleasure was financed and partly created by this one man Steve Jobs.

The story in this book may not always be very positive about Steve, but to me it highlig
Andrew S
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
The biography "iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business" is a astonishing story. This is a book explaining the life of Steve Jobs, who was an entrepreneur, inventor, and the chairman of Apple Inc. His life had an extremily interesting beginning. He made several companies including the enormous Apple Inc. and then was fired from his own company only to get back again and lead it to the Apple today. This amazing and unbelieveable story kept me continuously turning pages ...more
Adam Em
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a fairly interesting book, basically about the way Steve Jobs does business. I read it looking for inspiration (I have a very entrepreneurial spirit) but it's really obvious, Steve Jobs is a rare breed and if circumstances hadn't gone just so, not only would he not be the household name he is today, but the world would be a very different place (no iPod, no iPhone, no Apple)

There was alot in this book that was not about Steve, but had to be included for context. 2/3 of the book is argua
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
As a fan of Apple products and Pixar films, I decided to read this book. I know biographies are supposed to be facts, but I'm sure there is a better way to supply the information. I was thoroughly bored all the way through. I started skipping pages, and I know I missed nothing important. Putting aside all of my opinions, biographies are supposed to concentrate on a single person. I often found the book to be straying from Steve Jobs to Apple. I'm sure Jobs had an exciting life, but this book was ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The prose is not opinionated... and that strikes the killer blow.

Jobs has been portrayed in a light that is not glorifying to say the least.

Brings a fresh perspective.

Having said that, the authors have copiously heaped praise on Jobs for his vision. His design. And his intent.

His dealings with Wozniak, Dan Kottke, Alvy Smith, Michael Eisner, his own daughter, Gil Amelio, Mike Markkula etc. make for an insightful and impact-worthy read.

Loved this one: Steve did his market research by l
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book chronicles the life of Steve Jobs through the early part of the 2000's. It talks about everything from his estranged daughter, his unique lifestyle, the founding of Apple and his forced exit. Where the book was most interesting (to me) was when Jobs returned to Apple and how his approach had changed. He was still driven and passionate about his goals for Apple but he was more aware of the management aspects of his role as CEO.
iCon demonstrates how the flawed but driven man reshaped
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is about Steve Jobs. in the book, the writer talks about the history of apple and the change going on Steve Jobs. According to the book, Steve Jobs has such a complicated personality that he can attract people and piss them off at the same time. I love this book, because this book not only shows the great part of Steve Jobs, but also shows his faults. Steve Jobs is not flawless, but it is these flaws make him a real and adorable person rather than a pale legend.
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was OK, though if you want to find out more about him, there are certainly better books. Most of this was covered in the TV series "Pirates of Silicon Valley", which was based on the book Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer.

There are a few important lessons from Steve's life than can be applied to anyone in business:
1. Persistence. After getting booted from Apple, building NextStep into a very innovative but unprofitable venture, and rounds of layoffs at Pixar, Stev
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provides exceptional insight into the beginnings of the iconic Steve Jobs, the ouster from Apple, the 13 years with NExT and Pixar and his eventual return to Apple. His successful second stint at Apple was way more successful than the first mostly driven by lessons he learnt in the 13 years in the wilderness. In the first stint, he was focused on building the best hardware. In the intervening years, his success came more from creativity and software which he infused into Apple when he ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A very well written book.

An eye opener that I came across in the book was the story of how itunes was snatched by Apple from a small mac development establishment. The takeover was so ruthless and unfair that the original owner had to close shop. Apparently, not many people know this story. At a time when Apple is becoming the new evil emperor with all their dirty tactics showing in the control of the apps in the appsotre, this story should get more publicity.

The Pixar story presented in this bo
Sundarraj Kaushik
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Gives a good insight into the life of the mn called "Steve Jobs". Given the phenomenon that he is it will not surprising if one day the word "jobsian" is accepted into the English language with the meaning "Somebody who is extremenly creative with a streak of machoism and some sadism and somebody who epitomizes EGOTISM".
The book in no way pays homage to Steve Jobs. It seems to be a good "critical appreciation" of the person. It has given a balanced view of Steve jobs as an inventor par excellenc
The first part of the book was more in-depth and interesting than the latter half. There is less detail in Jobs’ return to Apple and the “comeback” years. The story was told much faster. This is disappointing on two fronts: (1) I was in many ways more interested in the Jobs return and resurgence and (2) the book, in its sub-title, promises to be focused on this part of Jobs’ life.

In the pre-Apple parts of the book, the authors show us more of what Jobs was like and how he worked. We get a much b
iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business
I found this book interesting but I found this book portrayed Steve Jobs as a difficult child and youth. There is no doubt that he was an amazing inventor and creator. It is somewhat unreal to read the story of this man who achieved the American Dream and now has unbelievable wealth at his fingertips. He was a not a fit for the formal educational institutions yet as a founder of Apple Computers and his work with Disney and Pixar
Sep 08, 2007 added it
What can I say? It seems shrewdness (Is there any other subtle ways/words to describe it?) is part of being a successful CEO.

Several stories worth noting:
1. How he had orchestrated his return to (his) company Apple.
2. The "partnership" with Microsoft which he used as a platform to re-launch his new iMacs.
3. How the iTunes and the iPod were developed.
4. How Steve Jobs orchestrated the coming of digital animation industry by putting up Pixar Studios.

Steve Jobs vision though in innovating and lis
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very informative book on the life and personality of Steve Jobs. I was impressed at the level of detail and the amount of factual information conveyed in the book. The writing style at times is quite amateur with odd transitions between sections in the same chapters.

I started the book off thinking that Jobs was a complete nut but by the end of the book I developed a new found respect for him. The sheer amount of times that he came back from failure is shocking not to mention how close was at tim
I initially picked up this book because I've often wondered how one company, Apple, and can so consistently be a trailblazer in the industries in which it operates, setting the course in which most others would follow. I didn't really find that answer in iCon, but it was a fascinating glimpse into the technology industry and the corporate world. The authors gave very detailed accounts of the history, meticulously researched and frequently from first-person interviews. They pulled no punches on t ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am sure there are tons of great books on Steve Jobs. I happen to be fascinated with his story. I loved reading about the development of computers, how he bought Pixar and turned it into a success, the creation of iPods, and his innovative spirit and drive in general. I liked the book because the author clearly did not like Steve Jobs as a person. Yet he described Steve quite accurately to make all of us have this love/hate relationship with him. We love his unique passion for life and for gett ...more
Adithya Jain
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The most brilliant biography I've ever read. This book was written in 2005, before Steve Jobs passed away and before a few of his most brilliant exploits. But regardless of that, the author follows the trail of Steve Jobs' life in the most intriguing way. He gives us brilliant insight into the mind and life of Steve Jobs and the people around him.

The industries that he changed, the people that he met, the problems that he faced, the problems that he created - everything has been jotted down in t
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was my first time reading about Steve Jobs's life this way, in such a detailed perspective. I must say I admire Steve's determination to make a change in the world. He was obviously not a easy person to deal with but he was a leader nonetheless, inspiring above all. The books is very good, I read it in 2 days, the style is very captivating, though at times too negative about Steve's ways of doing things. But he was human after all, and every human makes mistakes. He learned from his mistakes ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Steve was a jerk in his young age. Taking credits from others, and a thick face tactic to break his promise. However, he changed in his return to Apple, becoming more approachable and admirable. Family is his main concern about going through life and death experience. I like his passion on his job. And the gigantic effort he put into design new product to make sure it's user friendly. I think he become a true leader in his forty. Worth reading. ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was presently surprised by this book. I was expecting to be bored and uninterested, however, I should have known better. Only someone as extraordinary and different as Steve Jobs could have pulled off what he did. There were parts of the book that I skimmed over, but overall I learned a lot. I really enjoyed reading about the iPod as it has changed the world. This was a good read, and I am glad I ran out of books at home, and I am also glad Jeff recommended this book to me.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
It's obvious that the the first half and second half of the book have different authors as the first half is relatively well written but the second half is poorly written, jumps around from one subject to another, and inserts too many cringe-inducing personal opinions.

That said, for someone who wants more insight into Steve Jobs' rise (and fall) and rise again, the book provides a fairly balanced primer into the life of one of our current day icons.
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