Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
One of the first books I listened to when I joined Audible was Walter Isaacson`s 2011 authorized biography, "Steve Jobs." I listened to it on my iPhone 3 on a long drive up to Bakersfield from Los Angeles. On the way back, I pulled over at the McDonald`s in Grapevine to use their free Wi-Fi to download the next section of the book so I could keep listening.
I revisited my Audible review, and I'd noted, "Isaacson's biography doesn't answer the question of whether Jobs was successful because he was a jerk, or if being an a** prevented him from achieving even more." Brett Schlender and Rick Tetzeli's 2015 book, "Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader" doesn't answer that question, but as Jobs himself might have said, "That's a stupid question." What I should have asked - and what Schlender and Tetzeli answer - is why anybody would want to work for Jobs.
As founder of Apple, Jobs was an enfante terrible who scr**** over his genial, brilliant co-partner Steve Wozniak; denied paternity of his first child, Lisa, and had to be forced to pay child support; and was unceremoniously booted from his own company after badly misreading the mood and position of his closest co-workers. Jobs was, in short, as a young man, the absolute jerk that Isaacson portrayed.
After Jobs' 1985 exile from Apple, he started NeXT with massive Silicon Valley venture capital funding. NeXT appeared to do little more than deliver what we used to call 'vaporware.' That was the term for hardware, software or both that just existed in the mind of marketing. What NeXT actually did was develop the Unix based operating system that became OS X, and eventually IOS, the iPhone operating system.
While running NeXT, Jobs turned his attention to a very small computer company he'd picked up on the cheap from Star Wars director George Lucas, who needed the cash for an expensive divorce. Pixar was almost a hobby for Jobs, who supported the technical work of the company; made it financially viable; and stayed out of the way the creative people who dreamed wonderful stories. A younger Jobs, ego raging, would have interfered Pixar to ignominy. Instead, Jobs guided Pixar to a deal with Disney and a series of unforgettable movies starting with Toy Story. Disney eventually nominally acquired Piixar, but in actuality, Pixar controls Disney now.
Apple was nearly bankrupt when the Board of Directors lured him back as an advisor in 1996. Jobs turned Apple around. It's been profitable since 1998. It survived Jobs' death and is now the world's most valuable company.
I listened to "Becoming Steve Jobs" on my iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 is out now, and while I'm an "early adapter" of books, I wait to upgrade technology until I need to. The Audible downloaded quickly, in one file instead of multiple sections. I didn't have to clear out old books to make room. I wrote this review in Notes, using Jobs' virtual keyboard. (Months ago, I downloaded Microsoft's version of Word from the App Store, but that turned out to be a piece of garbage.)
Listening to "Becoming Steve Jobs", I realized that Jobs had grown exponentially both professionally and personally. He'd matured into someone people wanted to work for and with. Comparing the two books, it was sad to realize that while so many people had forgiven Jobs, he lacked the insight to realize that he'd grown into a better person. He could have forgiven himself.
The book was an intriguing listen, but it got repetitive in places. The narration - well, it's odd. George Newbern's a pretty well known television and voice actor, and he doesn't usually sound robotic. For a good part of this book, though, he sounded like the male version of Siri. Siri's fine for a line or two, but listening to someone narrate chapters like that - ow.
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