This was a well-written and well-read book that did not drag in the least. It will particularly appeal if you enjoy science and experimental design. I think it would be almost as good even if you have other bends. The human side of the story is enjoyable while the significance of the medical breakthrough against Polio is noteworthy. The tie-ins with history events in the US with FDR and other issues in the 30's, 40's, and 50's brought the book home to me.
If you are not too interested in science, you might like this book. If you have any interest at all in the subject, you will like this book. As a high school Physics teacher who knew less than I ought to about quantum theory, I committed last summer to reading up on the subject. I read about Einstein, watched a video series on quantum theory, and listened to this book. Even without the other two endeavors, I would have found this book to be informative and interesting. It is written in a narrative style that neither insults the intelligence nor talks over your head. The story and the theory are both more interesting than you are probably imagining.
Einstein is a fascinating man scientifically, politically, and personally. Isaacson does a good job of telling the story in a way that balances these three aspects of the famous man. Hermann's narration is masterful.
If you've ever wondered what Steve Jobs was really like, this book is for you. Isaacson's holds nothing back in describing both the genius and the jerk that was Steve Jobs. Overall, despite the brutal honesty regarding Jobs' MANY quirks, I think the book was favorable to Jobs. I came out of it admiring him as a visionary, but also thankful that I never had to work for him.
Steve Jobs is our generation's Walt Disney: a brilliant innovator who beautifully blended art and technology while building some of the most enduring and iconic companies in human history. Other parallels to Disney: they both had complete control over their companies' direction; they were both highly visible spokesmen (even icons) for both the company and the brand; they both left behind a changed world (Disney with animation and theme parks, Jobs with the iPod/iPad/iPhone/Pixar); they were both astute businessmen in addition to being visionaries; both were pioneers in revolutionizing animation in feature films; and of course, sadly, both died too young of cancer. I've also enjoyed Disney biographies, particularly the ones, like this bio, which took an honest look at the flaws as well as the genius.
I am not a huge Apple fan but I loved this book, and I love Steve Jobs; not because of who he was but for what he did. His greatest achievements -- iPod, iPad, iPhone, and Pixar -- were all revolutionary inventions, literally creating something new out of nothing. What would be the state of portable consumer devices today without Jobs? Would we still be using clunky flip phones with atrocious software? Would we have elegant graphical interfaces on our computers or devices?
And what about family films? Would we be taking our kids to see abysmal Disney movies like Treasure Planet, rather than beautiful, inspired, emotional epics like the Toy Story trilogy and Finding Nemo?
Even for those of us who aren't "Apple people" can thank Jobs' vision for pushing our culture in the direction of beauty and quality.
This book highlights Jobs' vital role in all these revolutions. Particularly compelling are how Jobs was able to conquer both the music studios AND Eisner-led Disney in the span of a few short years. The details of those conquests are priceless, and this audiobook is worth it for those two tales alone. I also liked the details of his relationship to Bill Gates, and how it evolved through the years (hint: it was not as contentious as I'd always believed).
But there is also much more. I found myself thinking "what a jerk" one second, and "what a genious" the next -- and then quickly back to "what a jerk" again. He is a study in extremes. I came into this book not knowing WHAT I'd think of Jobs in the end given some of the shocking excerpts in the press. I thought it was a good possibility that I'd hate the guy. But Isaacson effectively shows the humanity behind the insanity, and by the end, I can honestly say I genuinely liked him. I was even a little choked up by his cancer plight. It's so sad that the pre-eminent visionary of our time was taken from us in his prime -- not unlike Walt Disney was taken from us almost 50 years ago.
So I guess in the end, Steve's impeccable taste served him well. In choosing Isaacson and giving him open access to his past, Jobs succeeded in putting out one last perfect product: a lasting image of himself that perfectly demonstrated his humanity, his deep flaws, and his enduring genius. I think he would have loved the result, and I did too.
Dylan Baker's narration is excellent. Baker has a little sarcastic twang that I think is perfect for this man, and for this material. Wise choice.