Kapil Amarnath's Reviews > Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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I read this book because I was told by Myers-Briggs that my personality is similar to that of Steve Jobs’. And it’s fair to say that I’m jealous that he had $100 million dollars to burn to learn how to run a business. It’s also fair to say that he probably wouldn’t have gotten that $100 million save a million lucky things, which includes the fact that his friend made one of the first personal computers. I read the first 300 pages of this book amazed at how a smelly hippy dude with average engineering abilities was able to convince so many people to work with/hire/help him. I couldn’t help imagining that if he was a woman, or black, no one would have been willing to deal with his eccentricities. Instead he might’ve been a raving lunatic on the street. During this first half of the book, Isaacson does an excellent job of placing the reader in the cultural milieu in which the personal computer was developed, which perhaps explains why Jobs’ personality made sense to other people in that context.

All that said: Steve Jobs was aware he was lucky. He was a smart guy who really cared about his work and was very charismatic precisely because he was inspired by so many different artists/people. (He probably would intuitively grasp why someone like Obama is an excellent orator.) In the second half of Steve Jobs, we read about what made him a great CEO in his second tenure at Apple. In an effort to condense 300 pages of a repetition of themes, here are Isaacson’s main points about why Jobs was so successful:
1) He could easily move between the micro and the macro, between the weeds and big picture. This is well described in Chapter 26, which discusses the design philosophies of Jobs and Jony Ive. Ive: “To be truly simple, you have to go really deep…The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured."
2) He insisted on the various departments at Apple working together in a multidisciplinary way to solve the complex problem of making a great consumer device.
3) He believed in taking risks that you think are worth taking. Basically, YOLO.
4) He disliked powerpoint. He wanted people to truly own what they are working on, so that a robust discussion could happen.
5) He worked hard and thought about every aspect of making a usable product or tool; then he trusted his intuition.

Aspects of the book do sink into hagiography. Still it did convince this skeptic that Steve Jobs was a thoughtful person besides being a great businessman.
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Reading Progress

November 2, 2015 – Shelved
November 2, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
November 2, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
November 2, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 31, 2016 – Started Reading
January 31, 2016 –
page 70
10.67%
February 9, 2016 –
page 365
55.64%
February 14, 2016 – Finished Reading

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