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Steve Jobs | [Walter Isaacson]

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Much has been written about Apple’s late CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, but Walter Isaacson’s definitive bio is the only one authorized by Jobs himself. Based on interviews with Jobs and the people closest to him – including his wife and kids – this is an honest, revealing look at one of the greatest innovators of our time (and revolutionaries in the way we listen to books). — Diana M.

Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Chris Woodland Hills, CA, United States 10-27-11
    Chris Woodland Hills, CA, United States 10-27-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Good Biography, Fine narrator"

    I'm a little less than a third of the way through and find the book quite interesting. It seems to be a fair portrait of Jobs, blemishes and all. I'm writing this before finishing, though, in defense of the narrator, who seems to be taking quite a few hits on this page for, apparently, not sounding enough like Steve Jobs.

    Here's my take: The narrator is just fine, and does a clean, professional job, comparable to what you get in many of the best biographies. I've heard "terrible" narrators; this fellow is not one. His reading is nothing that would normally raise complaints. He does not do a Steve Jobs impersonation, which is exactly the way I, personally, would like him to approach it. But Jobs was such a public personality, with a nearly cult-like following, that some listeners seem to be taking their obsession with Jobs out on the narrator because he is not Jobs. I don't think that is reasonable.

    So, I'm enjoying the book. I hope you will as well.

    151 of 160 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne Parowan, UT, United States 11-13-11
    Jeanne Parowan, UT, United States 11-13-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Interesting man"

    Steve Jobs life was interesting from day one. The book is well written and well read. I did not want the book to end. I did not want Steve Jobs' life to end. He was a unique individual with a passion for perfection. The book was well worth twenty five hours of my life.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 01-17-12
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 01-17-12 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to Audible since 2009

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    "One of the Best"

    I have no interest in Steve Jobs, Apple or computers or business in general, however, this book is about an innovator, who changed the world and his story is amazing. I consider this to be one of the best books I've listened too and Isaacson is an outstanding writer as well!

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Williamsville, NY, United States 11-02-11
    Michael Williamsville, NY, United States 11-02-11 Member Since 2001
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    "Fascinating"

    If you've ever wondered what Steve Jobs was really like, this book is for you. Isaacson's holds nothing back in describing both the genius and the jerk that was Steve Jobs. Overall, despite the brutal honesty regarding Jobs' MANY quirks, I think the book was favorable to Jobs. I came out of it admiring him as a visionary, but also thankful that I never had to work for him.

    Steve Jobs is our generation's Walt Disney: a brilliant innovator who beautifully blended art and technology while building some of the most enduring and iconic companies in human history. Other parallels to Disney: they both had complete control over their companies' direction; they were both highly visible spokesmen (even icons) for both the company and the brand; they both left behind a changed world (Disney with animation and theme parks, Jobs with the iPod/iPad/iPhone/Pixar); they were both astute businessmen in addition to being visionaries; both were pioneers in revolutionizing animation in feature films; and of course, sadly, both died too young of cancer. I've also enjoyed Disney biographies, particularly the ones, like this bio, which took an honest look at the flaws as well as the genius.

    I am not a huge Apple fan but I loved this book, and I love Steve Jobs; not because of who he was but for what he did. His greatest achievements -- iPod, iPad, iPhone, and Pixar -- were all revolutionary inventions, literally creating something new out of nothing. What would be the state of portable consumer devices today without Jobs? Would we still be using clunky flip phones with atrocious software? Would we have elegant graphical interfaces on our computers or devices?

    And what about family films? Would we be taking our kids to see abysmal Disney movies like Treasure Planet, rather than beautiful, inspired, emotional epics like the Toy Story trilogy and Finding Nemo?

    Even for those of us who aren't "Apple people" can thank Jobs' vision for pushing our culture in the direction of beauty and quality.

    This book highlights Jobs' vital role in all these revolutions. Particularly compelling are how Jobs was able to conquer both the music studios AND Eisner-led Disney in the span of a few short years. The details of those conquests are priceless, and this audiobook is worth it for those two tales alone. I also liked the details of his relationship to Bill Gates, and how it evolved through the years (hint: it was not as contentious as I'd always believed).

    But there is also much more. I found myself thinking "what a jerk" one second, and "what a genious" the next -- and then quickly back to "what a jerk" again. He is a study in extremes. I came into this book not knowing WHAT I'd think of Jobs in the end given some of the shocking excerpts in the press. I thought it was a good possibility that I'd hate the guy. But Isaacson effectively shows the humanity behind the insanity, and by the end, I can honestly say I genuinely liked him. I was even a little choked up by his cancer plight. It's so sad that the pre-eminent visionary of our time was taken from us in his prime -- not unlike Walt Disney was taken from us almost 50 years ago.

    So I guess in the end, Steve's impeccable taste served him well. In choosing Isaacson and giving him open access to his past, Jobs succeeded in putting out one last perfect product: a lasting image of himself that perfectly demonstrated his humanity, his deep flaws, and his enduring genius. I think he would have loved the result, and I did too.

    Dylan Baker's narration is excellent. Baker has a little sarcastic twang that I think is perfect for this man, and for this material. Wise choice.

    54 of 59 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-30-11
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-30-11 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Interesting book"

    This was a interesting bio. Dylan Baker did good job narrating. I was particularly interested in the part about Pixar. I noted that book Jobs and his sister were very smart and had creative talent even though they were raised by different people. Fascinating to read about some one who lived in the same area and time as one self. You will not be disappointed in this book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    angelacaruso WOODSTOCK, GA, United States 11-15-11
    angelacaruso WOODSTOCK, GA, United States 11-15-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Really Enjoyed This Book"

    Steve Jobs Unabridged by Walter Isaacon is very well written. I thought the narrator Dylan Baker was above average despite some of the poor reviews I read on him. I am a tech- enthusiast and theologian. Steve Job's was a complex man and Isaacson captured his very essence in this book. Having read (listened) to his so close after the passing of Job’s his book takes Steve off the high devine pedestal that we put people shortly after they have past and brings us smack back into the humanity of Jobs.
    What I loved most about this book is how Issacson not only displayed Job's journey in developing business & technology but also in his spirituality & personal relationship and how each part of the journey intertwined with all aspects of his life. What I thought would be a dry tech book turned out to be both a very inspirational book about the advancement of humanity and leaves the reader to self-reflection about one’s own identity and personal growth. Jobs’ innovations and legacy will live on for many generations to come. This is a must read.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 11-02-11
    Melinda UT 11-02-11 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

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    "Teetering On the Edge"

    A brave and very candid look at an icon that has changed our world probably even more than we can yet grasp (think of the images of international political upheavals, mistreatments, the disasters in Japan...). I don't think superior intellect or ability excuses bad or unkind behavior of any kind, and his absolute forthrightness regarding these improprieties made this all the more fascinating to listen to. There's a lot of mischief and down right mean behaviors revealed about Jobs' personal and professional road to legendom. Years ago I went to a conference that focused on the psychology of a possible connection between some great thinkers (inventors, artists, etc.) and insanity, what we might label "mad geniuses"; I don't know if Mr. Jobs was in this category, but he definitely was a genius that often behaved erractically in his imposing journey that has left a monumental impact on the world. Extremely well researched; performance passable for a non-teckie, but if you listen, you'll have no doubt what Mr. Jobs would have thought about the performance!

    27 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ernest BROOKLYN, NY, United States 10-28-11
    Ernest BROOKLYN, NY, United States 10-28-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Masterful, honest, and insane"

    I love Apple so by default I love Jobs. I say this as a disclaimer but also because after reading this book it is my honest opinion that Steve Jobs was probably insane but that makes him no different that most people of amazing genius. You will find in this book a great bio of a man you will find complex and strange and after finishing you will respect him, but I am not sure if you like him or even want him in your life, just his products.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Pittsfield, MA, United States 11-01-11
    Rick Pittsfield, MA, United States 11-01-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Fine narration and a compelling story."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and, as I cannot improve on the many positive comments, I write in defense of the narrator. As a longtime Audible subscriber, I've listened to many of the best (and some of the worst) narrators in the Audible world. Frankly, I find some of the negative comments for this book's narration to be over the top and a few are downright mean spirited. That said, all are entitled to their own opinion. I found the narrator to be well-paced with a clear, pleasant voice and nice inflection, Do not be put off. This is a great book about a true visionary in our own time. Narrator, Dylan Baker, does a fine job with this much anticipated Audible release. Enjoy!

    25 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel Mill Valley, CA, United States 05-21-12
    Joel Mill Valley, CA, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2011

    Me, myself, and I.

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    "I Had to Listen...Glad I Did"

    After many, many, recommendations, I gave in. For whatever reason, I had spoken with at least a half dozen people within a week who had either recently finished the book, or were close to finishing it. I originally thought that I might get around to this someday, mostly because the idea of reading a biography of someone so recently alive seemed mundane compared to the backlog of great biographies that I would like to get to.

    I am very happy that I did get to it now. This was a wonderful biography of a sometimes horrific, often brilliant, and almost always headstrong man. Isaacson does a great job balancing the competing storylines that could be attached to Steve Jobs. While it feels like Isaacson does side with Jobs' worldview a bit too often, he does ensure that there is a bright spotlight on the foibles of a man who most of us knew only through the press. It is a difficult job to portray someone whose echo through history has only just begun. So many of us have opinions about Jobs, and Isaacson really makes no attempt to sway us. He gives plenty of ammunition to both supporters and detractors. In the end, I think he means to say that it doesn't matter if you were for or against Steve Jobs, the man. Instead, it is about the kinds of legacies we wish to leave, and how one man shaped his own.

    Highly recommended, especially when so many of your friends have already read this.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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