Luke Sayese's Reviews > Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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it was amazing

Steve Jobs, whether you love him or hate him, has become one of the most important and influential (not to mention controversial) innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries. Jobs wasn't a gifted intellectual nor was he a great engineer, but he possessed a tremendous innate quality of intuition which enabled him to see the future and could anticipate what people needed (or would need) before they even knew they needed it. Isaacson shows how Jobs grabbed popular ideas and concepts of his time, gathered them together, and packaged them for the general public. Just to name a few examples: Jobs took the hacker and hobbyist computers of the 70s and made them personal computers; he realized the potential of CGI-animated movies before they were popular which eventually led to "Toy Story"; and of course, he knew the importance of having everything from cameras, mp3s, and books conveniently stored on your phone. Think of any technological innovation in the past 30 years, guaranteed that Jobs would have been involved in it one way or another.

The most important lesson from Jobs' biography was the importance of technology infusing with the arts and humanities. Jobs was an artist and designer and not an engineer, mathematician, or a computer scientist. Jobs used his intuitive artistic mind to bridge the gap between technology and the arts. We tell our kids to ignore art, literature, music, and philosophy simply because money cannot be made from any of these. Instead of developing intuitiveness and creativity, we stress mass-production, rote-memorization, and mechanical industrialization. Jobs demonstrated that he could take these so-called unprofitable concepts and meld them seamlessly with technological advancement by emphasizing minimalist design and Zen simplicity in his innovations.

While I admire Jobs greatly as an innovator and entrepreneur, my opinion of him as a person was rather mixed and uncertain. To put it bluntly, Jobs was a jerk and even prided himself in this fact. He was rude, abrasive, and prone to fits of rage. He lived in a world of extremes where people were either awesome or a piece of crap with nobody being anywhere in between. His leadership style was different to say the least. He was dictatorial and controlling, but managed to save Apple in the 90s through this no-nonsense and dynamic leadership. While he was brutal in his criticisms of others, having harsh truths without sugarcoating and niceties was important in improving others' work. Most importantly, his intuitiveness was able to pinpoint and bring out the best in people, and he was able to foster their talents and skills to do great things through his "reality-distortion field" and transcend limitations. However, I would not recommend treating others the same way as he did, because who knows what he could have achieved if he encouraged more open debate and free-thinking rather than being overly controlling.

In conclusion, Isaacson's biography is excellently written and engaging from start to finish. This book is truly is a page-turner just to discover more behind this very complicated and troubled man, a figure who has been responsible for much of the technological advancement we see today. Great innovator but troubled individual, but perhaps he knew that our personal demons are just as valuable as our personal angels.

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January 23, 2016 – Shelved
January 23, 2016 – Finished Reading

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