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'm an avid listener who is always in search of another good listen. And I'm willing to share my thoughts with an occasional review.
The book is well done. It's a balanced view stemming from interviews conducted with people who knew Steve very well. Here's a few thoughts about what I learned from the book and my time as one of Apple's biggest fans.
Don't expect to like this main character. In fact, I found myself feeling very sad for his family and several of his friends or colleagues. Very few people would enjoy hanging with Steve Jobs. Steve fell prey to the early "cop out" ideologies, and enjoyed the freedoms of not having to commit to any thing or any one. Most of his judgments were binary...either something was s--t or wonderful. His personality allowed him to manipulate a few bright and talented people early on, and their ideas propelled him to enough success to convince himself that his lack of social graces and humaneness were acceptable traits. He continued to take credit for the work of others, and never admitted his real shortcomings.
Nearing the end he found his views of reality didn't quite match real science, and he probably died an early death because he refused to accept the advice of real scientists. His diets, purges and self endowed views of what the body needed just didn't cut it when it came to Cancer. You can bend some people to your will, but not the reality of medical science. It is what it is, and even Steve couldn't will it otherwise. He never was much of a listener.
Steve brought leadership to people who had the ideas and talents. They just needed someone monomaniacal enough to help them be the success they have become. And for that, he deserves the credit his legacy now enjoys.
I am and have been an Apple products person since the beginning. I wouldn't want to hang with Steve, but I'm sorry to see him leave us.
Good telling of the life of a very interesting and multi-faceted person. Who would have guessed that someone with such deep counter-culture tendencies could end up as CEO of the world's most valuable company. Isaacson presents a very balanced picture of Jobs in depicting both the positive and negative aspects of his personality and showing that Jobs himself was conflicted and troubled by these. The character who emerges generates empathy from the reader. There's also a thread of sadness throughout the book. Even though we all know what happens in the end, I found myself hoping that the cutting edge cancer treatments that Jobs sought and was able to afford would work and that he could continue as Apple's visionary leader, creating things that he knew people wanted before they themselves did.
I also enjoyed learning about the relationship between Jobs and Bill Gates - sometimes hot, sometimes cold,. Their orbits in the world were close and intersected frequently. The book depicts two men with extremely different temperaments and personalities, both of whom became wildly successful in the corporate world. I'd like to read a biography of Bill Gates, but I have an idea that it would be a bit boring compared to that of Jobs.
I felt that the book could have used a good bit of editing. There were endless descriptions of extended negotiations between various companies with which Jobs was involved. These could have been described more succinctly. I kept trying to skip over some of these parts without missing anything interesting.
A "must-read" for Apple aficionados - and I count myself as one. I started with an Ipod 6 or 7 years ago, progressed to Iphone and then a MacBook. I really want an Ipad - but hard to justify until I have money to burn. Sorry, Bill, but I wouldn't go back.
I would not try another book by Isascon. Verbal diarrhea. Message easily containable in one volume
Stephen King, The Stand
There was nothing a narrator could do to mollify the length of book except skip many chapters
I don't understand the question.
While Stephen Jobs was alive, why didn't the press know what an unkind man he was
Actually - my name is Brandi.... Jeff is my husband and he is learning to read something besides magazines and reviews about photography and Apple.
As a loyal Mac user for over two decades and part-time Apple employee, I was, of course, drawn to this book. Yes, we Apple loyalists can be a cultish obsesses group at times but listening to this book and you will understand why. Steve was not a brilliant writer of code or the most astute businessman. Yet nevertheless he built the most innovative, profitable and brand loyal company on the planet. How? A relentless drive for perfection. That more than anything else sums up Jobs' success. Isaacson does a brilliant job in letting the reader what made this very private man tick. The good, the bad and the ugly and there is plenty of all three in his life.
First time with him, but he did a great job. Never monotone, very pleasant to listen to.
A definititive biography, lots of detailed information from the capstone moments in Steve's life.
Does a great job
Much of the book was interesting, but it was overly long. This is one that I would recommend reading so you can skim very quickly. Aside from having way too much detail in some places, it was hard to get a feel for Jobs. Clearly, he was not a particularly nice person, but he had some very loyal friends even after he screwed them. He was described as having a great deal of charisma, but that primarily came across as words as opposed to feeling it. The style of the book was to intermix chronological with details of certain aspects of his life such as his illness. The transitions seemed located to build excitement rather than for the ease of understanding the narrative. Finally, the tone of the book changed when Jobs returned to Apple. Before that, very few of the stories gave me a positive feel for him. After the return, much more of the story was in a positive light. It felt like a switch was flipped for a rebirth and growth as a human. It was not until the last couple of chapters that I felt drawn into the feelings of the people in the book.
I am not opposed to long books, such as a recently completed 50 hour history, but this one dragged. The author clearly needed a better editor. As noted, there is a lot of interesting material, but it could have been much tighter.
Health care public relations agency owner
I'm not so sure that I'd ever listen to this again, but not because it was poor. Quite the opposite.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime story about a guy who only comes along once a century. I'm not sure there's ever been anyone quite like Steve Jobs. I was never a big fan, but always respected him.
Walter Isaacson has a tall order. How do you exceed expectations when your subject is a larger-than-life character such as Mr. Jobs?
Isaacson delivers superbly.
Isaacson expertly wove all the intricate parts together. Always moving, always sharing, always opening up new revelations about a marvelous man.
When we read about Steve Jobs proving his Dad wrong, innocently enough, with a demonstration of electronic conductivity in the family driveway that his Dad swore was impossible.
Think. (His Life.) Different.
I love this book because of the honesty about Steve Jobs including his failures and successes.
At times I felt stressed out and depressed when he went through his times of failure, but I was really impressed at how he stood his ground. Many things I would not agree with Steve Jobs about, but it was very interesting to see how he influenced the computer and animation markets and my generation. He was a character. A good read for anybody who loves thier Iphone. I was truly inspired.
With Steve things were either great or s--t. This book is great. A must read for anyone in business.
Yes - it is information dense and deserves to be heard / read more than once.
There are too many memorable moments to count in this nicely crafted story. This book is a jeweled study of an entrepreneur, a closeup view of how creativity emerges, a study in management, a reflection of both good and bad leadership, a message in how to find your flock, a story about persistence and belief in yourself, a look at the personality of a genius - his challenges, victories and flaws, a glimpse into industrial design at its best, a case study in marketing. It's a riveting story and encompasses the larger story as well - a history of the genesis and maturation of the information age. The book has more good information than I can list here. I was blown away at how a writer could weave all of it into one of the most interesting stories I've ever read.
Against the backdrop of Silicon Valley and the birth and maturation of the information age, Steve Jobs come alive -- his genius, his challenges, his unique accomplishments . . . .
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