priyankar kumar's Reviews > Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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really liked it

This book provides quite a deep insight about SJ from his own perspective as well as those around him: his family, his colleagues and even his rivals.

The book portrays SJ as a master manipulator. It talks about his ability to use what has been coined as the 'Reality Distortion Field' to manipulate people around him to get them to fall in line according to his wishes. He used it to extract performance that would have otherwise seemed impossible from his employees. But he also seems to have used it for tackling people he despised: using it to control them before they could control him.

SJ had a binary world view. You were either the best guy around or you were a 'bozo.' The work you did was either the best or it was 'shit.' And he seems to have been frank in letting people know about his view of their work.

SJ was a perfectionist and viewed himself as an artist. His view seems to have been that engineering should be tailored to the design rather than design be tailored to the engineering. It is perhaps this belief that allowed Apple to bring out products that weren't just engineering marvels but were also aesthetically pleasing.

SJ liked to be in control. And control not just of the organization but of everything, including the customer experience. His personality is reflected in the manner in which Apple continues to keep its platforms closed as opposed to open like Android to be more in control. His view was that Apple concentrate on controlling the hardware, the software as well as how the product is sold (the Apple Stores idea).

SJ could be a total jerk. He wasn't perfect. In fact he seems to have been more flawed than perfect. He hurt some of his friends (who later forgave him), declined to accept his first daughter as his own despite tests proving otherwise, was very rude to those around him and could be a total pain in the ass.

But he had the passion for building great products and had a keen eye out for even the smallest details (like how the product is packaged, the colors used, the material used, the user interface). His belief was 'simplicity is the ultimate sophistication'. He tried to keep the consumer in mind while building the products and didn't believe in superficiality. I especially liked his belief that that customers don't know what they want until you've shown them what they might want. This belief allowed him to break the norm and come up with creative and revolutionary products which his competitors only later copied.

He was a driven man. Passionate. Creative. Different in terms of thoughts and ideas. Indifferent to those around him. Genius.

There's a lot to learn from his life and work and this biography was worth the time I invested in reading it.
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Reading Progress

March 1, 2016 – Shelved
March 6, 2016 – Started Reading
March 7, 2016 – Finished Reading

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