I can’t think of anyone throughout history who has done anything like this. I’m so glad this book was written. I’m so sad that he died.
Steve was not trained as an engineer. But he recognized talent and worked with engineers to create products that blended art and philosophy with technology. He would guide engineers saying I want this, I don’t want that. His first creation was the Apple computer created with Steve Wozniak (the engineer). Prior to that computers were used only by high-tech hobbyists. The Apple computer included a monitor and a keyboard and was meant for regular people, not just hobbyists. Later creations included using a “mouse” with computers, iMac, iPod, iTunes Store, iPhone, iPad, and the Apple retail stores. Steve was also a force behind the Pixar company which repeatedly created great animation movies starting with Toy Story.
Steve Jobs was not what I think of as a normal person. A repeating question I had was “is it nature or nurture” that makes people the way they are? Steve was so unusual that I kept wondering why. He lied to people - a lot. He was impatient and demanding. When calling someone, if they weren’t available, he kept calling and calling until he got through. He would have the phone operator interrupt to say it was an emergency - when it was just impatient Steve. He was uncaring, unkind, selfish, rude, and manipulative. His capacity for empathy was lacking. He had a narcissistic personality disorder. He felt ordinary rules didn’t apply to him, for example his parking in handicap parking spots.
He was often seething with anger and anxiety and would lash out, criticizing and insulting anyone and everything around him. Another side of Steve was being the eccentric genius artist. I thought of Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his ear in his madness. Yet I admire and am so grateful for the creations that Steve is responsible for. He had a big effect on my life which is listening to audiobooks on my iPod.
I think I attribute 95% of Steve to nature (not nurture). Psychologists may beat me up about this, but I can not believe that his parents’ nurturing created Steve’s genius and negative excesses. Steve was adopted. He was curious about his birth parents but he didn’t search for his birth mother until after his adoptive mother Clara died, because he thought it might hurt Clara’s feelings. That may have been the only time Steve was sensitive or caring about someone. If he was capable of love, I think he loved his adoptive parents and was close to them.
A few odd details about Steve’s life. He audited a number of college classes rather than being a regular registered student. He lived for six months or more in India. He valued gurus and Zen. He lived in a commune environment for a while and did a variety of drugs. He was known for his extreme vegan diets. He felt he didn’t need to shower due to his pure diet. But he did; he smelled; and Apple executives had to prod him into showering more than once weekly. He was frequently barefoot at work and at times would soak his feet in a toilet.
Regarding his cancer, I wondered if there was a coincidence or a connection to his diet. For most of Steve’s life he was on a vegan diet, meaning no dairy or meat. Although he did eat sushi at least once during the book. Vegans are at risk for not getting enough protein. So it was noticeable to me that Steve’s cancer started in his pancreas which has something to do with hormones related to protein processing. And after his surgery, his doctors urged him to increase his protein intake. Is it possible his diet was stressing his pancreas? I don’t know.
INTUITION MORE VALUABLE THAN MARKET RESEARCH:
Steve would sniff the air and then intuitively come up with products people would love and want. But if someone did market research asking people what they wanted, consumers would never have known or described what Steve came up with. This was Steve’s genius. And he consistently created products that wowed the world and changed the world. I was thinking of two examples about market research. One shows that consumers don’t know what they want, the other is the opposite. 1. In the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell he describes the Aeron chair, created by Herman Miller. It was designed for comfort. But during market research consumers said it was ugly. The company went ahead and manufactured the chair, and it became a best seller. This was an example of people not knowing what they wanted. The explanation was some things are weird and it takes time for us to understand that we actually like them. 2. Lee Iacocca was with Ford until 1978. While at Ford, market research was done - asking consumers what they wanted in a car. The idea of the minivan was the result. But Henry Ford II didn’t want to make it. Lee obtained permission from Ford to take the minivan market research with him when he went to Chrysler. Chrysler then made the first minivan which was hugely successful. In that case, consumers did know what they wanted which influenced the creation of a product.
Another example of Steve’s intuition was the Apple retail store. The Apple board was against it, saying Gateway computers tried it and only had a low number of customers per week. But the board allowed Steve to open a few stores on a test basis. Steve was involved with every detail from the stone floor which came from Italy to the glass stairs and the size of the glass windows. His stores were amazingly successful, getting huge numbers of customers. There was no comparison to the Gateway stores. It was a different universe. Personally, I love the feeling I get when I walk into an Apple store.
Steve lied so much, so frequently, and to so many people. Many people around him described this as Steve’s “reality distortion field.” Gee I thought, if you’re the wealthy boss they call it “reality distortion,” but if you’re a normal guy they’d say “you lying jerk.” The FBI investigated Steve for some project or other, and in their files too, they called it “reality distortion.” An example: Steve asked a guy how many things had been sold. The guy said six. In the next minute Steve announced to a group that only three had been sold.
STEVE BELIEVED MOST PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO STEAL:
I’m always interested in a good argument to convince others to be honest or not to steal. I can’t use Steve as a model for honesty, but he did have something good to say about not stealing. For years consumers were downloading music illegally. Music companies would not sell individual songs but insisted on selling groups of songs (cds/albums). Steve had to talk them into letting him sell individual songs for 99 cents. He eventually succeeded. Steve commented “It’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people, and it hurts your own character. The only way to stop piracy was to offer an alternative that was more attractive than the services that the brain dead music companies were concocting. We believe that 80% of the people stealing stuff don’t want to be. There’s just no legal alternative. Let’s create a legal alternative to this. Everybody wins...and the user wins because he gets a better service and doesn’t have to be a thief.” So Jobs set out to create the iTunes store. With iTunes Steve said “It’s not stealing anymore. It’s good karma.”
SUBJECTS NOT COVERED:
There are other stories that could be written about the industries and people Steve affected. For example, engineers suffering burnout after working for Steve. This book does not go into other stories like that. Although I would be interested in reading more in other books.
NARRATOR: The narrator Dylan Baker was excellent.
Audiobook narrator was a bad fit – elderly lady reading erotic sex?
If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, then DO NOT READ THIS – IGNORE THIS REVIEW.
I’m not a good source for these books. I gave Fifty Shades 3 stars, and Knight is similar to Fifty. It’s not a good fit for me. I felt insecure and unsettled with both books.
Sophie is Bambi-like, shy, totally beautiful, probably in her late 20s. Her husband is on a ten-day trip with his mistress. Sophie does not know he has a mistress but she suspects. Sophie gets a new job working for Lucien as his personal assistant. Lucien owns sex clubs and sells sex toys. When doing a background check on Sophie, Lucien discovers her husband’s affair. So, Lucien feels free to seduce her.
I read the first half and lost interest. I skipped to the end. Most of the first half is Lucien sexually pleasuring Sophie. I kept thinking when is he going to get some? Finally he does. But I was not feeling good about it. It seemed the only reason he liked her was because she was sooo beautiful. It made me feel undesirable and insecure. I could not identify with her. I also kept thinking her beauty is no basis for a permanent relationship. He will tire of her down the road and go for another beauty. Hey, I’m fine with couples in other books having hook-ups and short-term sexual relationships. But for some reason I wasn’t feeling good here. Plus there’s the adultery thing – bringing guilt. She’s the type who needs permanence and principles.
This is mostly sex scenes: explicit, sex toys, self-pleasuring, back-door action, bondage, and spanking. (There may have been other things in the part I did not read.)
Cliffhanger: This book ends in the middle of the story. You need book #2 to finish.
At the end of the book Sophie’s husband Dan comes home from his trip and does not know that Sophie knows he has a mistress. That could have been a great scene – the conflict, the confrontation, he wanting to keep what he has. But the book ends, so you have to go to book #2 to see it. So I read the beginning of book #2 and was totally disappointed. That scene (of words between Sophie and Dan) was not shown. Instead Lucien tells Dan that Sophie knows about the mistress. Then Dan leaves home. There is no scene where Sophie yells at Dan, or asks why or how could he do that, or Dan groveling. We don’t even get Dan saying he’s leaving. It just jumps to a week later and we learn that Dan is living elsewhere. Maybe something happens later in book #2. I don’t know.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR - Claire Wexford.
I do not want to listen to a little old lady read erotic sex scenes for twenty-something Sophie. However, I think she is a good narrator for other books.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: erotic contemporary romance.
But the audiobook narrator’s breaths and swallowing were a problem.
I loved Mattie, the 14-year-old-girl who had the brains, attitude, and actions of an adult. I laughed several times. I loved the dialogue. It was special and different from what I’m used to. I think it was accurate for how folks talked back then and there. One thing odd was that the author used “said I” or “said he” after quotes. I’ve never read books done that way. It was uncomfortable, but I went with it. For those who want happy endings, this works.
Amazon reviewer arunan said it well. Mattie's just a really strong character and in the end, the title "True Grit" is as much about her as it is about her tough guy guardian, Rooster Cogburn.
Donna Tartt did a fabulous job. I can’t imagine any actress doing it better. But SHE HAD A BIG PROBLEM. I kept hearing her breathing, swallowing, and mouth noises. She needed to use a better microphone or have those noises removed during the editing process. Such a shame because she did a great job otherwise.
Narrative mode: 1st person Mattie.
Genre: western historical fiction.
I was also annoyed with hearing the audiobook narrator’s breaths.
The premise of Juliette being a courtesan, the why, and her actions were ridiculous. Her actions did not fit her motivations – a violation of writing rules. I describe it in Spoilers below.
There were some plot events that could have been interesting, but they were not developed. Instead most of the story is internal angst and pondering. She tells him something false and then is angsty and hurt because he believes it. He is angsty and hurt because he believes it.
There is child abuse and a disturbing scene killing a puppy. I don’t mind bad parents being the bad guys, but this was too troubling for me.
Juliette is married to abusive man Oliver. She pretends to have affairs with other men so Oliver will divorce her. He does. That’s the only part that made sense to me. The rest does not. Now Juliette’s dream is to fall in love, get married, and have children. But her actions don’t fit her motivations. She tells the world that she is a courtesan so that she can be free to attend parties and have fun. Then she falls in love with Wil. She wants to marry him, but she won’t be honest with him. She knows he is troubled about her being a courtesan, so why does she continue lying and telling him she is a courtesan? Then when he does not propose marriage, she is furious, angry, and angsty and runs away so he can’t find her.
Frequently during the book he is cold and distant and calls her a whore or courtesan. And then she has all this hurt because of it, but she never corrects him.
A man attacks Juliette. The gardener hears her screams and comes to save her. The attacker runs away. Now there is a big mystery about who the attacker was. Juliette could not describe him because he was behind her. So why didn’t they ask the gardener to describe the attacker? Soon after that, Juliette goes somewhere alone and is attacked again. I’m willing to accept occasional stupidity, but not on top of all this other stuff.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR - Lucy Rivers:
I didn’t notice them at first, but later in the book I could hear the narrator’s BREATHS. They were annoying and distracting. She needs to use a different microphone, or do something in the editing process to remove the breaths. Other than that she was good.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: regency romance.
During the book was interesting, but depressing ending.
Jamie is telling us (in first person narrative) about his life from age 6 to old age. He met Reverend Charles at age 6 and their paths crossed several times during Jamie’s life. Charles is a minister who invents electricity that heals people. Jamie and Charles like each other and have a connection. When Jamie is sad about his brother’s injury, Charles cures the brother. Later, Charles becomes famous healing people in religious gatherings.
Because I saw the Horror label, I thought I’d see an evil creature doing bad things during the book. That did not happen. Instead for about 98% of the book there are suspicions but no obvious horror.
Most of the book is watching Jamie’s life – who he meets, how he lives, things he does. It was good because Stephen King writes good characters and dialogue and events. Frequent topics are aging, disease, death, and religion. My favorite part was Jamie’s early years, his first love, learning to play guitar, and joining a band. Less interesting was Jamie’s heroin addiction.
My feeling at the end of the book? What a depressing story. This is not for me. Something awful is revealed -- but it is creative. Would I recommend this book? I don’t know. I enjoyed watching Jamie’s life, but the ending ruined it. I’d want a different ending.
I don’t like 1st person narratives. It feels like I have to politely listen to somebody talk. I would have preferred close 3rd person.
David Morse sounded like he was tired and depressed. He does good voices and good emotional interpretations, but the overall feel was monotone. But maybe he was trying to sound depressed to fit the depressing ending.
Narrative mode: 1st person Jamie.
Genre: fiction with some horror.
But I wanted more relationship time together.
Julie moves in with a dysfunctional family during her first year at college. I loved how she improved their lives and they were good for her. I wanted to be in her shoes. This is my nerdiness showing but I was so excited when Erin the mother gave her user name and password to Julie, so Julie could have access to the Harvard Library! (Erin taught at Harvard.) I love libraries! Back to the story. I loved the Flat Finn cardboard idea and the things happening with that. (Creative) I liked the dialogue. I liked the mix of characters.
I’m not sure I can put my finger on it, but the last half was a little draggy. Then, the big separation was a downer with angsty stuff. At that point I did not care for Julie’s actions. She was too rigid and unforgiving. I wish the author skipped the separation and spent that time developing the romantic relationship. I would have loved seeing the couple spend time together as a couple and hold each other and kiss each other on purpose. Because their relationship didn’t develop much, the ending felt too quick. I wanted fuller feelings at the end. But overall it was a good story.
I’m so happy that this was written in 3rd person. Thank you author. I don’t like 1st person.
Some reviewers complained that they guessed the secret before Julie did. That didn’t bother me. It’s not mandatory to keep readers in the dark. Another thought: You’ll need to suspend disbelief the way everyone lied about something. But it made the story better so I was ok with it.
Julia Whelan was excellent.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance, less angst New Adult.
While I was reading this book I thought reading books like this is what makes life worth living. Oh I wish I could find more books like this -- exciting, inspirational, struggles, pain, perseverance, heroes.
My favorite quote: Joe’s girlfriend was angry about something done to Joe and said to him “I just don’t understand why you don’t get angry.” Joe said “It takes energy to get angry. It eats you up inside. I can’t waste my energy like that and expect to get ahead. When they left, it took everything I had in me just to survive. Now I have to stay focused. I’ve just got to take care of it myself.”
MY ONE COMPLAINT:
There are pictures in the physical book, but NO PICTURES for audiobook buyers. To the author and publisher: Please include pictures in a PDF file for audio buyers to download.
Fred Hermann was fabulous – clear voice, good interpretations. He reads like he’s interested in what he’s reading. He should do more books.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: nonfiction, sports history.
It’s short. 31 minutes. I liked learning about Woody’s past. He was not a good student. He did not like to read books. But he read some solely for the purpose of dating - because the women he dated liked to talk about books. I would have liked a longer interview.
I had a few chuckles but no laugh-out-louds. Sometimes my mind wandered. I like his weird mind. Woody Allen has a strange relationship with food. Several times he mentioned something odd with food. Many of the vignettes did not have endings. He just sort of stopped.
Woody Allen narrated this. It was better than his narration of some of his earlier works. In those he spoke too fast, not pausing enough for ideas to settle and for a laugh.
Genre: humorous thoughts.
It’s no fun to root for good guys who keep losing.
Nine people are trapped in a closed area. Escaped prisoner Jeb has a gun and uses it to take food and water from the others for himself and Mickey. Garrett and the good guys try to ambush and fight Jeb and Mickey, but they repeatedly lose until the end. The reasons they lost were bad luck, incompetence, lack of smart planning, and some heroine stupidity. Some of these are mentioned in Spoilers below.
Garrett sneaks up on Jeb but his crowbar accidentally makes a noise which alerts Jeb, who starts shooting. Garrett sets a trap, but it’s not well done. Lauren screams in surprise, but Garrett thinks she’s in danger so he abandons his ambush to go to her. Garrett tells Lauren to tie Mickey. She uses tape. Garrett says Mickey will get out of the tape, but he does not tell her to redo it with rope. Mickey gets out. Lauren is stupid and gets too close to Mickey and he grabs her.
I was also frustrated with Owen. He is helping the good guys, but they don’t like him because they think he is a hate monger. He should have told them one sentence. “He got his Nazi tattoos because it was the only way to survive in prison.” But no. He lets the good guys think he’s a white supremacist. And he’s not. I felt this was an excuse for conflict and it did not fit Owen’s motivations. Owen was my favorite character. He had been a victim of his environment. He was a good guy. He did good things for others even when against his own interest.
The set up was good for some exciting suspense. The character definitions were good. But what the author had the characters do was not. I’d prefer my hero have better skills.
There were a few brief sex scenes, not much detail. There was one attempted rape, stopped before he unzipped.
There’s not much relationship development between Garrett and Lauren. It was sexual lust amidst survival disaster. I thought Lauren got mad at Garrett for unfair reasons, so I didn’t like her as much. There was a happy ending for them.
Piper Goodeve was good.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: romantic suspense.
Story lines were not finished.
I felt like Grisham wanted to educate people about problems in Appalachia - maybe to get support to change laws and get help for problems. So he wrote a novel about a lawyer who goes to Appalachia to work in a free legal aid clinic. Most of the book is sad stories about people who are hurting and come to the lawyers for help. The worst problems are black lung disease caused by coal mining. Coal companies won’t pay workers’ claims. The companies drag things out in the legal system for years before paying any benefits to sick workers. There are also cancers from coal related pollution. Instead of traditional underground mining, coal companies do strip mining which is like a rape of the land and destroys water sources.
I love Grisham because he makes characters so alive, and he does that here. But it was not a fun read. One main character gets killed but the rest are ok at the end, which made the ending sort of happy. There were two major court cases that were not finished, in Spoiler below.
One case finished, but it was going to be appealed. The other case had important evidence that caused a lot of suspense with bad guys trying to get it. That trial had not begun when the book was finished.
I was disappointed that a murder was not solved. Was the author in a rush to finish this book? The only reason I did not give it 2 stars was because I did not wish it would be over. I just wanted more so it would be complete.
Catherine Taber did a good job. She had a quiet serious tone to her voice which fit the sad serious material. She did men well. Some female narrators lower their voice in a way that makes men sound weird. This narrator did not do that.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: legal fiction with a little suspense.
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