Featuring a new epilogue read by the author.
From the author of the best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs.
Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years - as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues - Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the 21st century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.
Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.
Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple's hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.
©2011 Walter Isaacson (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
I was looking forward to this biography, since so many people I know had read it. But it is the exulted story of a truly awful person, and I'm not at all sure I can make it through to the end, to see if it gets better and if Jobs is EVER able to gain a glimmer of compassion for another human.
Sure, its obviously well research and greatly detailed, if boringly, written. I can see why Jobs chose this author to be his biographer. He accepts Jobs' view point, excusing his obvious narcissistic personality disorder and beguilingly reports things he was told...like that Jobs was interested in enlightenment, when nothing in his life suggests he had ANY spiritual interest, unless it was to understand his own greatness or to see if he could exploit it for profit.
Now I'm sorry I have so many apple products, since Bill Gates is CLEARLY a better human being.
Monotone narrator does not help either.
Absolutely -- a fascinating story -- well structured and delivered
Both the personal as well as the details of his life and business dealings.
The saving of apple, creation of Pixar and formation of I-tunes
no -- way too long for that.
The audio book is a great way to get through material I would otherwise not have the time for.
Isaacson brings Steve Jobs to life with an unsanitized account of his complex personality, inventions and cultural context. The book is inspirational and thought-provking in its account of Jobs constantly moving forward and pushing slowers, naysayers and B-graders out of his way. Isaacson puts all this in a historical context that can be appreciated even while we lived in Jobs' time. An excellent book for whatever mood you are in. Read this.
So, Steve Jobs was a total freak. Let's just get that out there. I mean not the slightest criticism of the man by that. It's just true that a guy who refuses to eat anything other than apples for weeks on end (really), has something going on.
First, let's just get the normal book criticisms out of the way. This book's length is appropriate to the accomplishments of it's subject's brief life and is extremely well organized. The "performance" on the audiobook is very good and the author shows his mastery of his craft by maintaining a level of tension across a story (which many readers will already know) and whose conclusion even Amelia Earheart probably knows, wherever she is. I'm exactly the age to have watched Apple introduce its products, soar, crash, get saved, and triumph and I was never bored.
This book is long and complex as befits its complex subject. That said, anybody over 35ish with a dim recollection of the evolution of the personal computer will find a reassuring familiarity in the subject matter of this tome that will undercut the burden of its many pages.
Ultimately, Isaacson (whose timing could not have possibly been better unless dictated by Steve Jobs, thank you, God) has produced an amazingly compelling portrait of a very troubled genius whose deep flaws were overcome by his profound insights. One walks away from this book with profound admiration for Jobs at the same time that one feels deeply sorry for the many people around him for whom his emotional torment must have been very, very difficult.
Jobs, as he often admitted, was a total asshole. Was he a visionary? Totally. Was he right with his integrated ecosystem philosophy? Absolutely. But (and here's the most interesting part of the book) was Bill Gates equally right with his non-integrated approach? Definitely. This is the most intriguing part of the book from a modern computer/business perspective. Jobs unquestionably frustrated innovation and contributed to the first death of Apple by his insistence of total control in a closed system. In the 1990s the Gates perspective of an open ecosystem clearly prevailed and led to many, many innovations. But there were problems, right? Viruses, beta products, and the poor integration across computer platforms which continue to plague owners of PCs, Android phones, and MP3 players. Jobs's closed ecosystem eliminated that, which was great, as long as inventors were willing to kiss his ring when submitting new apps for approval. There was a trade involved. Great when the right genius was at the helm at Apple. Problematic should that genius or his successors go mad and open the doors to God knows what or, worse, close the doors and force us all to live a 1984 style electronic life.
When I grew up in the 80s, I recall thinking that Apple products were probably the best on the market but too expensive for me. Turns out that Jobs agreed with me but couldn't cut prices for various business reasons before the age of globalization. I also remember hating Microsoft well into the late 1990s for producing a version of Windows (and Word, etc.) that was just obviously substandard and full of bugs. In retrospect, I realize that these bugs may have genuinely been the result of Microsoft's indifference, but they might just as well have been the result of a nascent industry producing a product on which we all immediately came to depend upon so heavily that a computer crash or glitch seemed like an apocalypse and an affront to our humanity. I also recall the Apple-Microsoft rivalry as a zero sum game not dissimilar to how many understand the situation today in Israel/Palestine. Turns out that that was not the case.
And that is one of the most interesting historical aspects of this book. Yes, Apple and Microsoft have long existed as rivals, but they also have a very long history of partnership. People over a certain age will recall Bill Gates's investment (bailing out so as to stave off anti-trust litigation) of Apple in the late 1990s. What was surprising to me was to learn about the long and troubled periods of COLLABORATION between Apple and Microsoft. Besides the fascinating and ultimately tragic details of Steve Jobs's personality, it is this unexpected history of collaboration that may surprise readers most.
So, a great book altogether. Exactly what a biography is supposed to do in portraying and revealing a human life. This is no hagiography, but the author demonstrates respect for his subject even as he is unafraid to point out his many, many flaws. I won't go so far as to call this book a triumph, but its author should feel considerable pride in himself as a professional. What's the bronze or silver in a triumph race?
For anyone who is interested in the information technology revolution this is a must read. I recommend it highly. It combines a great story about the development of the communications revolution and a very revealing description of the personality of Steve Jobs. I especially enjoyed the detailed description of the intensity and focus which Jobs brought to his efforts to build Pixar and Apple. His excursions into the distortion reality field and explosive outbursts are examples of this intensity. His development of 1 or 2 outstanding products at a time are examples of his focus.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Apple as the company moves forward without its visionary leader.
Great book. Amazing story about a hugely important figure in our contemporary history whom I knew very little about before listening to this book. Dylan Baker was a great reader - easy to hear and understand, emotive and compelling. (as was the book itself)
book was great but I won't be using Audible anymore because of the monthly fee which I totally don't understand. Why is there this monthly fee? Why can't I just order and pay for the books I want to listen to when I am ready to listen to them? I don't want "rewards," I don't want "points," I don't want "deals." Just tell me the price of the book and I'll pay for it if I want it. Just like any book I would download onto my kindle or buy hard copy.
Thus far, my favorite book on Audible.
I lived through and avidly recall all of Steve Job's major highs and lows, reading about him/Apple/Next rise and fall. Great to understand more of the detail and dirt behind what was going on that the newspapers and mags did not cover. The whole Apple versus IBM versus Microsoft versus itself is very compelling as well as Steve's relationship with Steve Wozniak, his daughter Lisa and others is a study in and of itself in physiology. Crazy, crazy, crazy, but brilliant man.
What I didn't expect is how this book has changed me and others that I have referred. Steve's obsessive and neurotic view for ANY products' fit, form and function had an almost life changing affect on the way I view my company's final product (even though I am in the services business) and the way I shop for products as a consumer.
A must read/listen!!
Yes. This started me in audio books. The book was overwhelming and the audio was pretty easy to follow.
Very interesting for me, being an IT guy.
NO, BECAUSE JOBS IS TOO BLEAK OF A PERSONALITY.
AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL CREATIVITY.
I'VE NEVER BOUGHT AN APPLE BECAUSE THEY TRY NOT TO OPEN UP TO OPEN SOFTWARE CONTRIBUTIONS. VERY INTERESTING AS TO THE DEMONIC DRIVE THAT COULD BE CALLED CREATIVE GENIUS. OBVIOUSLY JOBS HAS FATHERED AN OUTSTANDINGLY SUCCESSFUL COMPANY BUT AS A PERSON HE'S AS BLEAK AS THE SIBERIAN STEPPES. AFTER READING THE BOOK I HAVE ONE MORE REASON NOT TO BUY APPLE BUT I UNDERSTAND BETTER AS TO WHY SO MANY ARE SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THEIR PRODUCTS.
Eccentric, genius, idealistic.
Jobs of course.
"Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?"
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