Stiles not only inculcates the reader with the genius and incredible work ethic of Cornelius Vanderbilt but also the times and country through which he was molded and in which he left his mark. One will learn about the steamboat, and railroad industry, the development of the monetary, and open market systems in the U.S., the United States' transition from laissez faire to a more regulated system of economics and much more. Although there may be, at some points, a romanticizing of nineteenth century economics, the plethora of information, on one of America's greatest industrialist, one can obtain from this biography is unprecedented (I have read a few of the biographies on Vanderbilt), and will not be matched anytime soon. This book is great if one can absorb, by listening, a lot of information.
I am a big fan of Isaacson and although this is a good book it does not compare to Isaacson’s other biographies. The book was not Isaacson’s idea. Jobs approached Isaacson about writing this book. I personally believe that it is too early to determine if Jobs deserves a place among other men about which Isaacson has written. Thus, I will conclude on the book as a whole with two thoughts; if you are looking for a good holiday listen, which will give you a lot of information about Jobs and Apple then this is a good pick. Yet, if you are in the mood for a wonderful biography I would recommend Isaacson’s other books first.
Steve Jobs is a very interesting character who truly changed the world as we knew it. As Isaacson makes it very clear throughout the book, Jobs brought together liberal arts and technology. He showed the world that there is universal beauty for which people are willing to pay a premium. There is no doubt that he is brilliant. But many of his personality’s traits are likely to raise great discussion questions. For example, do you think the way he managed people is ok? Does age bring maturity for Jobs? So, in addition to a good holiday read I would also recommend this book to book clubs of all types.
This book was the first I have read/listened to of Boyle. I thought it was entertaining and easy to listen to quickly. The problems I had with the book were his representation of illegal immigrants and use of natural disasters. I shall omit talking about the later. Boyle portrays illegal immigrants as slobs, vial, and the only Spanish that Boyle employs to communicate the main characters' thoughts is either degrading or filthy (to match their appearance that Boyle presents). I thought this was too easy; because he portraits illegals just the way I, unfortunately, imagine them (What am I to expect when I call them illegals). I wish he would have given me a different perspective other than that which I am inundated with by the media. This book made me wonder if he has ever met and illegal...
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