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.
Good plot with abusive husband. Narrator not for me.
A good story about ordinary people who turn into something different but they are still ordinary.
Two stories are told. 1: Dolores is married to an abusive man. I loved her strength about it. I loved what she did to make him stop hitting her. I wonder if more women could do that.
She threatened to hurt him while he slept, and he believed her. Of course I did not like that she was forced to kill him, but it was a good story about how and why she did it.
2: Dolores works as a housekeeper for wealthy woman Vera. Vera becomes bedridden and Dolores becomes her caretaker. Vera was mean. I liked hearing about their relationship: ordinary people doing un-ordinary things.
I enjoyed the first story more than the second. I want happy endings, and this barely squeaked by as happy enough for me.
The entire story is told in first person which I did not like. Dolores is telling her story to the local constable/police-guy Andy. It was hard to lose myself in the story because of that.
The actress narrating had an elderly voice which fit the character (Dolores is 65 when telling her story), but it wasn’t pleasant. There was a grating quality to it. I prefer a softer voice.
Genre: relationships fiction, abused women
Characters were nice people but not compelling enough for a story.
My mind kept wandering. A lot of conversation about ordinary things. Characters did not interest or intrigue me. Stella likes to organize and manage things. Logan is creative and artistic with his landscaping but appears disorganized in other things. I wasn’t drawn to the relationship. The sex scenes didn’t do anything for me.
The plot surrounding the ghost was not well developed and not finished. They hired someone to go through old records to discover the story behind the ghost. He started, but the book ended before he worked on it.
The narrator Susie Breck was ok.
Genre: contemporary romance with a little paranormal
This doesn’t have the wow or really out-there with the unexpected, but it was enjoyable and entertaining.
Dev is a 21-year-old college student taking a summer job at an amusement park. I liked reading about the people he met and the things he did. There’s a little mystery, a little paranormal, a scary part with a killer, some unexpected things, and a happy end. My thoughts were Stephen King sure is a good story teller - even after all these years.
The cover with a frightened sexy redhead does not fit the feel of the book.
The narrator Michael Kelly was very good. His voice sounded like a 21-year-old which fit the story well. I wondered what his accent was. He said contractions in a way I wasn’t used to, for example the word didn’t: I say dident, he says didnet.
Genre: mystery and general fiction with paranormal
A bunch of people make stupid assumptions which dragged the story, but great job on the monster (dog).
I really enjoyed the first half - getting to know various local people with different stories. For example: a guy who drinks too much. When he sees his friend the dog he says “Hello you son of a whore.” I like watching people say and do things I never would.
The second half has Cujo imprisoning Donna and her son in the car in the heat for a couple of days - growing closer and closer to death I was frustrated during that part because everyone was making stupid assumptions. No one did anything smart. I don’t mind some characters doing stupid things, but this was too many. The dog was the smart one. All the other characters are questioning or saying I wonder where so and so is. Or I wonder why this or that. And then someone else says oh it’s probably such and such. So the first person says you’re probably right and does nothing. As a result, no one visits the farm which would save Donna’s life. The cops, the husband, the dog owners, the mailman, the neighbors. Everyone assumes something that keeps them from going to the farm. I felt impatient.
The ending was partly happy, but also sad.
I rounded to 4 stars because it’s a creative, amazing idea for a monster - the huge rabid dog. I liked that we were in the dog’s mind at times. That was a treat. I loved the way the author developed and described local people, their motivations, feelings, and actions. I laughed at the way the author wrote about the imaginary monster in the closet scaring the little kid.
I did not like the narrator Lorna Raver. Her voice sounded elderly, gravely, and at times irritating. The most irritating was when she spoke as Tad being whiny or scared.
Genre: suspense thriller
I’ve loved some of Koontz’s books: Watchers, Lightning, and Intensity. This book was not for me. I couldn’t read it all. I read the first third and the last several chapters. The entire story (from what I read) is the guy Mitch and his wife being helpless victims. It starts with the bad guy kidnaping Mitch’s wife and making it look like Mitch killed his wife. The bad guy then forces Mitch to do things. Mitch was a helpless victim throughout the book. Finally at the end, with a moment of luck, there’s a happy ending for Mitch and his wife. The author does not tell what happened with the money, police, and other things at the end.
This book was similar to Velocity because of the helpless victim throughout the book. Velocity had a killer planting evidence on the guy’s property multiple times and threatening to call the cops each time. I didn’t like either one of these stories. I prefer the protagonist be able to have some control over something. I want a different plot.
The narrator Holter Graham was good.
Genre: suspense thriller
At the end my feeling was: not a wow, but very fulfilling.
I’ve read 13 books by Nora Roberts. I was averaging 3 ½ stars for her books written in the 1990s. But then I gave 4 ½ stars to Angels Fall (2006) and now to this (published 2012). Is she getting better? I’m surprised. Too many authors seem to tire out or write repeats of the same stuff after a while. Not Ms. Roberts. Maybe I’ve been picking the wrong books to read. But now, I’m going to look for more.
The best part was “the characters.” I was sooo drawn to Liz/Abigail. A favorite trope for me is a smart woman, who overcomes odds, and is not a helpless victim. I loved her vulnerabilities and her strengths. I liked reading about her, thinking about her, and listening to her. I pictured the author losing herself in the character Liz, to come up with such fitting dialogue. Brooks was so fun. He was oblivious to her walls. He just kept pursuing her, chipping away at her walls.
This story has wonderful relationship development. It has good guys doing smart things to outwit bad guys. Bad guys do smart things too. I like that the author did not use stupidity. Instead the author had a character’s personality with weaknesses cause conflict, not just doing something stupid.
The narrator Julia Whelan was very good.
Genre: romantic suspense
but it did not work for me. The narrator made it worse.
It was dragging and dragging. Finally at about half way through I stopped reading and jumped to the last two chapters.
I might have liked it better if I were reading as opposed to listening. The narrator used a strong Croatian accent and an Icelandic accent. The accents were not enjoyable. There’s a reason TV anchors sound the same - it’s pleasant for the majority of the population.
There was one scene I found funny. Andro was a crazy gay boy who jerked off two men at the same time, one Serbian, one Croatian. The author said “It was the strangest image I have from that f***ing war. If we had gay nations there would be less wars.”
I did not like the ending. The main guy/narrator is shot. We don’t know if he lives or dies. It was not funny.
The title is misleading because it is such a minor part of the story. Toxic enters a girl’s messy home to hideout. He cleans it before she arrives home.
Genre: humorous crime fiction
Don’t do the audiobook - terrible narrator. Read the paperback or ebook.
Sadie and her children spend the summer with Aunt Dody and cousins. Sadie is recently divorced. She doesn’t want a new relationship, but she is attracted to Dody’s gorgeous neighbor Desmond.
I really enjoyed this. I smiled a lot. I liked being in Sadie’s head. I loved her interaction with her cousin Fontaine, a gay interior decorator. I enjoyed the developing relationship with Desmond. This was not a powerful wow story. It’s a pleasant, everyday people around you kind of story. There were several conflicts caused by Sadie making inaccurate assumptions and jumping to wrong conclusions. Those were nicely done. But one of them bothered me - toward the end Sadie was mad at Des for something that she should not have been mad about.
Sadie has some low self image problems and does some silly things. I was fine with that, but some readers might prefer a stronger heroine. This book has a chick lit feel, but it does have a romantic happy ending. Although I wish there were more romance and declaration of love at the end.
The narrator Lori Reyes was a huge problem. She had a terrible, high-pitched screechy voice for Dody and the children. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard. I cringed every time she used that voice. She would be a good narrator if she NEVER raised her voice to a higher pitch. Her natural voice and low voice for men was good.
Genre: contemporary romance, divorce
but the second half is exciting, engaging, and felt good at the end.
A lot of the story is cliched characters - done too many times before and predictable. The Vice President had no brains and followed whatever his smarmy chief of staff (Dallas King) told him to do. Dallas made all decisions based on polls, public opinion, and future election possibilities rather than something intelligent. Those parts pulled the story down - made it drag.
The bad guy was evil in all ways - and then lucky when things went wrong. I was annoyed with how easily he got away. His actions have been done before, nothing special or different.
But, the parts with Mitch Rapp were excellent fun. The last half was best, when Mitch was making decisions and taking action. Mitch is the smart, effective, undercover guy. His physical description - he won the triathlete Ironman competition.
A few times the author annoyed me with too much jumping around in the middle of crisis scenes. I’d prefer some of them completed rather than interrupted. For example, a good guy is secretly doing something near a bad guy. Then the scene switches to military leaders elsewhere discussing what to do. The author was artificially drawing out suspense. Not all of this was bad, but when I get mad at the author and think about the author in the middle of a story, then it’s not good.
The ending was rushed. I wanted more development of things.
I had trouble deciding between 3 and 4 stars. I finally went with 3 because I don’t have any desire to read more in the series. This was a tough call, because the last half was clearly 4 stars.
The narrator Nick Sullivan was good.
Genre: action suspense thriller, terrorist
I was angry at the author for one part. He had good characters do something bad that did not fit their motivations. It was unreasonable and illogical for those “good” characters to do what they did. Some good guys attacked someone, tied him, and took him to a remote location. He believed they were going to kill him. The guy escaped - barely. Later he learned they just wanted to talk to him. Well, why did they tie him? It felt like a trick by the author to mislead the reader.
The book has a lot of fear, anxiety, and stress. But most of this is done by having bad cops or FBI threatening and hurting civilians (like planting evidence and threatening jail) (or bad cop forces A to do something and when the regular cops arrive bad cop says “I’m a cop he’s the bad guy”). I’m ok with stories about bad cops, but it seemed like the easy way to provide stress. I prefer being surprised or seeing someone do something smart. I didn’t feel that here. I didn’t have any wow moments. The kinds of things in this book are the kinds of things done a lot.
Minor plot annoyance. Good guys talk to a woman. Woman says that when she saw Fowler, he was with another man. Good guys should have asked the woman to describe the other man. They did not. They left. (I was shaking my head. That’s not smart.) Later in the story they go back to the woman and ask her to describe the man.
I wasn’t drawn to the characters. I wasn’t buying their relationship. Elmore Leonard did it so much better in “Out of Sight”, escaped con flirts with and interacts with female US marshall.
The narrator Christopher Graybill was ok, but some of his voices were irritating.
Genre: mystery suspense
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