There have been many books - on a large and small scale - about Steve Jobs, one of the most famous CEOs in history. But this book is different from all the others.
Becoming Steve Jobs takes on and breaks down the existing myth and stereotypes about Steve Jobs. The conventional, one-dimensional view of Jobs is that he was half genius, half jerk from youth, an irascible and selfish leader who slighted friends and family alike. Becoming Steve Jobs answers the central question about the life and career of the Apple cofounder and CEO: How did a young man so reckless and arrogant that he was exiled from the company he founded become the most effective visionary business leader of our time, ultimately transforming the daily lives of billions of people?
Drawing on incredible and sometimes exclusive access, Schlender and Tetzeli tell a different story of a real human being who wrestled with his failings and learned to maximize his strengths over time. Their rich, compelling narrative is filled with stories never told before from the people who knew Jobs best and who decided to open up to the authors, including his family, former inner circle executives, and top people at Apple, Pixar, and Disney. In addition Brent knew Jobs personally for 25 years and drew upon his many interviews with him, on and off the record, in writing the book. He and Rick humanize the man and explain, rather than simply describe, his behavior. Along the way the book provides rich context about the technology revolution we all have lived through and the ways in which Jobs changed our world.
Schlender and Tetzeli make clear that Jobs' astounding success at Apple was far more complicated than simply picking the right products: he became more patient, he learned to trust his inner circle, and he discovered the importance of growing the company incrementally rather than only shooting for dazzling, game-changing products.
©2015 Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli (P)2014 Random House Audio
"George Newbern's narration is--simply put--superb. He is exceptionally well suited to the task at hand. The greatest praise is that he disappears, allowing the story to unfold in one's mind. His unhurried narration is a totally immersive experience. Be prepared for the temptation to listen without pausing for any significant amount of time." (AudioFile)
The breadth and content of the book is a great achievement. The reading, while good, seems to lack inspiration.
The final chapter brings a dimension of humanity to a number of oft caricatured human beings.
The scene where Steve and his family drive to Stanford the morning of his now famous commencement speech reminds you they are human beings like all of us.
Generally, yes. Some of the middle chapters, while I believe necessary, may bog down readers who care less about the technology aspects of the book.
As someone who worked at Apple for nearly a decade during Steve's second act, I found Walter Isaacson's official autobiography shallow, uninformed (he should've employed a technical consultant) and simply unable to capture the essence of the DNA Steve embodied into his company. This book gets it right. It weaves contextual technical explanations with a breadth of insightful interviews, coupled with the author's own experiences with Steve, to deliver a pitch-perfect story of the evolution of an astoundingly insightful, inspiring and complicated individual.
I'm grateful this book was written. My understanding of my experience at Apple, and of Steve, achieved a new depth of insight and appreciation.
Say something about yourself!
This book reminds me of Robert Cringley's Accidental Empires in that it gives a big picture view, while also diving deep into details now and again.
Recommended to anyone in the tech biz or fascinated by Jobs and his life.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
This book didn’t surprise me. When I chose it I saw that it had been given an average of nearly 5 stars on all Audible parameters, so I expected it to be good - and it was. Even though a lot of the content is discussion of the minutiae of the computer industry, which you might expect to get a bit boring, I was never bored. I carried on wanting to know what would happen next all the way through.
How significant was the contribution of Steve Jobs to shaping today’s world? I guess the answer has to be: ‘very’. The World has changed spectacularly and dramatically over the last 30 years in which the digital revolution has taken place. Our lives have been utterly transformed by the computerisation of so many aspects of daily life, at work and play. If Steve Jobs had not existed (or Bill Gates, who is certainly given due credit in this book), then the digital revolution would have gone ahead just the same, and I expect the World would look roughly similar to the way it does today, but these were the two men who got to decide exactly how the hardware and software would look and function. They are the Thomas Edisons of the digital age.
Clearly they were in the right place at the right time. This hasn’t always applied to history’s great visionaries. Gregor Mendel and Gallileo Gallilei were in the wrong places at the wrong times, and weren’t given the credit they deserved. Leonardo Da Vinci was ahead of his time, inventing things like helicopters which the technology of the time couldn’t come close to fulfilling. Even Einstein was a bit ahead of his time, although he did live to see some of his scientific breakthroughs come to fruition. But Jobs and Gates were both absolute Johnnies-on-the-spot. They were born and raised in the cradle of the burgeoning computer industry, just as it was about to take off spectacularly. They had the determination, innovative genius and charisma to be the leaders of this revolution.
I knew a bit about Steve’s life because I’d seen the biopic and I had also listened to an Audible book ‘The Innovators’ outlining the history of the digital age going right back to the late 19th century (a pretty good listen too, by the way), but this book offered much more detail about Steve’s life than either of those could fit in. Everyone knows that Steve could be ruthless at times in pursuit of his goals, but this book also tells of Steve’s more humane side. He also had to overcome a number of demoralising failures – his career wasn’t just a long litany of success. As a listener, you have the luxury of being privy to the ups and downs of the life of this phenomenon, but, despite this detail, you don’t really get to know him. He was a private man and this book was written by two journalists, with relatively minor and formal roles in Steve Jobs’ life. But the lack of a really private and personal insight into Steve Jobs’ life doesn't detract from the quality of this brilliantly written and articulated story.
Moving, honest, enlightening and inspiring! This is what the "official" biography should have been. Can't wait for more insights on Steve and going forward Tim Cook and Jony Ive.
I thought he was a great read. I think he was a genius, a bully, an asshole, a humanataian, a visionary , and awonderful human being. this book shows all the aspects of his self. I cried several times during this book. it really broke my heart.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
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.
[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
Avid Business and life Success reader
An excellent iteration on the Steve Jobs legacy. It is told from a business writers point of view and examines the evolution of Jobs in a more fulfilling way than the Isaacson book.
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
Warning: I'm an Apple fan!
Yes, I'm an apple fan, and I used to think that Steve was the perfect guy and the smartest. But that was in the past. He like al of us, had his pros and negs , but what a character. He did live his life, and he understood what people wanted in his last 10 years at Apple, even before we knew we wanted it in the first place.
One of my comments is that he was just a guy, nothing special about him.. He didn't go to big Universities, and he didn't do or had anything special that made him what he became. He was just a guy with a vision and later in his life with forward thinking regarding Apple.
This book showed more of Steve's good and bad side, but I think it gave a better picture of Steve and how he thought rather than the official bio. No matter how many books we will read about him, I don't think that we will truly understand him, but these books will give better picture to a guy who had a huge impact in this world.
Narration was good, and the book was a great read. If you red the official bio, you must read this book too. As it will give more insight into Steve Jobs way of thinking, and all the good and bad he did in NeXT, Pixar, and Apple.
I've read through the Isaacson biography and other literature on Jobs. I feel this captures the emotions of a man who would not settle for seconds in life. I've always idolized Jobs and his desire to change the world. The people who spoke on his character in this book reaffirms how great and greatly trouble Job was.
Report Inappropriate Content