The narrator was fantastic. Felt as if I was watching a movie when I laid in bed at night. The story was well written, and Steve Job's life is filled full of dynamic emotional suprises
A capturing account of the life of a genius both inspiring and insightful. Teaches of the ups and downs in life, that mistakes happen, but no matter what.. follow your intuition and it will eventually lead you in the right direction.
Great book. Baker's read is clear, but his delivery undermines the material, turning every voice (including Jobs) into a grade-school caricature.
This is a very well read audible book. It is very long but the topic is very interesting so it wasn't a problem. It was enjoyable
I like that I got to know more about Steve Jobs. I like the fact that he bared all, the good bad and ugly. By the time the story ended I was in tears. It is so sad to lose such a gifted man to cancer. I am glad I read it on audible.
I found myself crying for his children and his wife as well as the nation. I already knew why he died so it was not a surprise. What was a surprise was my emotions. I knew everything but somehow the book gave it a personal feeling.
Steve Jobs is one of the central characters of the technology revolution. A co-founder of Apple Computer, head of the Macintosh computer project, leader behind Pixar's rise from obscure computer graphics company to animation juggernaut, prodigal son returned to the company (Apple) that ditched him, iCEO, known equally for his exacting taste in products and design, as for his ferocious temper. One would expect him to make a remarkable biographical subject. And while that may still be true, alas, it is not to be from Walter Isaacson's pen.
Isaacson's biography, written in cooperation with Jobs in the last years of his life, is clearly the work of someone enthralled with the "genius" of its subject, and often reads more like an Apple product announcement or keynote address, than an authoritative account of Jobs' life and career. While he doesn't shy away from the prickly parts of Jobs' personality (berating employees at their desks, evaluating all products and people through a "great" vs. "shitty" dichotomy ) family life (the daughter he abandoned and denied fathering), and habits (the dieting, gurus, continual references to his experience with LSD), Isaacson treats nearly every product made under Jobs watch as near-perfect works of art. Even when the product was a resounding failure (the Apple Lisa, NeXT computers, the Power Mac G4 Cube), Isaacson mostly chalks it up to marketers and consumers, never Jobs. In one case (Firewire), Isaacson praises the technology as crucial to the success of the iPod, even though it was only after ditching Firewire (now a dead technology) that the iPod became an industry changing success.
Even more irksome, especially in an audiobook, which I tend to consume in long streams, is Isaacson's tired, cliched language. This Rhodes scholar, and one-time head of Time Magazine, can barely stretch his vocabulary for Jobs' products beyond "simple", "beautiful", "minimalist", "great", and his descriptions of Jobs and more-famous coworkers (Jony Ive, John Lasseter) are mostly confined to "artistic" and "genius". It is as if, so enthralled in Jobs' "reality distortion field", Isaacson too thought that "amazingly great" was a sufficient description for all Apple products. The reader, Dylan Barker, does little to attenuate this, reading with giddy excitement which equals Isaacson's sales-pitch prose.
Most frustratingly, this 600+ page book (25+ hour audiobook), completely fails to explain what made Jobs a "genius" and tech "revolutionary", beyond having bluntly expressed good taste. What did Jobs contribute to the original Macintosh? He thought it should smile at the user and not have function keys. The iMac? It shouldn't have a CD tray. The iPod? It should suck less than the Rio and other contemporaries. Isaacson repeatedly presents us with Jobs at product meetings, picking from various options, or rejecting them all as "shit".
It's not that I doubt Jobs particular ability to develop, or at least lead development on, great products (I am typing this on a MacBook Pro, I have owned an iPod, an iPhone, and a MacBook Air, and was glad for OS X to save me from Windows Vista's utter mediocrity). It's just that Isaacson fails to get at what it was that he actually did to further these products, beyond expressing pithy blunt tastes. There are a few exceptions, such as orchestrating the vertical integration which caused the iPod+iTunes combination to become so dominant, and Disney's buyout of Pixar, where Isaacson gets more into the finer business details, but in general, the reader is expected to uncritically accept Jobs genius and ability to "think different".
While evaluating my disappointment in this book, I recalled my favorite biography, Robert Caro's The Power Broker, about New York city planner Robert Moses. Perhaps it is a stretch, but I think of Moses and Jobs as similar. Neither were experts in the fields they revolutionized, both were deeply difficult in person and completely consumed by their work. Yet Caro's book goes into every detail about how Moses manipulated politicians, developed a monarchical control over departments he lead, and directed the dozens of earth-moving projects through which he defined mid-century urban and suburban planning. What does Isaacson give us about Jobs? Some things are shitty, some things are great, and the vague (Apple-penned) platitude of being at "the intersection of liberal arts and technology".
The story of Steve Jobs, and the PC and post-PC eras that he helped shape, is a story that is sure to interest anyone curious about how we have arrived at PCs in every home, smart phones in every pocket, the current state of the music industry, the slow death of traditional publishing, and the concentration of technology manufacturing in low-wage Chinese factories. Maybe, in a few years, that story will be given the attention it deserves. For now, the most popular account we have, Isaacson's, is a deep disappointment.
If you are not busy being born, you are busy dying. -- Bob Dylan.
What drove me? We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. -- Steve Jobs.