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Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography | [Walter Isaacson]

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Walter Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, this is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.
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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

With an introduction read by the author.

©2011 Walter Isaacson (P)2011 Simon & Schuster Inc

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  •  
    john Battery Point, Australia 11-24-11
    john Battery Point, Australia 11-24-11 Member Since 2011
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    "More man, less tech, might have made a better book"

    At the end of this book Isaacson gives us some new information, especially relating to Job's family. This was great and makes the book worth the price.

    But be clear that stuff up until 1985 is far better covered in the books Isaacson has taken the stories from (sometimes distorting them in the process).

    Check out:
    Revolution in the Valley
    Infinite Loop
    Return to the Little Kingdom
    for the source material of these stories.

    Isaacson seems to lack the knowledge of the technical aspects and the curiosity to ask people who do know to tell the wheat from the chaff in these early stories. He will present stuff that doesn't matter and trim away stuff that does. If the only source you have for these stories is Isaacson's book you will have a distorted, and sometimes false, impression of what happened.

    Now I suspect Isaacson would say he was interested in the man and the life lived and not so much these technical details. That's, in fact what I expected this book to be about with most of this tech stuff skimmed over. But Isaacson chooses to put in a substantial amount of details where he clearly doesn't know what they mean in themselves and fails to examine usefully what they tell us about the life being examined.

    I don't want to give the impression this is a bad book. It is not. It is fine. But it is flawed in several ways because Isaacson seems to be disinterested in the tech and disinterested in examining what the tech means.

    This could have been a better book if it was more about the man and floated past some of the tech bits that are inexact retellings of stories that Andy Hertzfeld and others have told better and, in my opinion, used better to paint what the man was like in his 20s.

    I think Isaacson did not make the best use if the fact the he was given the power of 'exclusive'. As others have said, just as Steve chose the wrong guy for Apple when he chose Scully he chose the wrong guy for this book when he chose Isaacson. So many other people who had the writing skills aligned with a passionate interest in the subject could have done more with this unique opportunity. Isaacson's approach is solid, professional but pedestrian and uninspired given the amazing power he was given.

    Anyway, get the book, it's well done an easily worth the money, However, do be careful about quoting too much of the details to those who are better informed on the subject because the list of corrections of technical fact and/or context you may get will be tedious for all concerned.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stuartcw Yokosuka, Japan 11-04-11
    stuartcw Yokosuka, Japan 11-04-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story, fine reader."

    Firstly, I don't really understand the complaints about the reader. I thought he was fine.

    This is a great book, very timely and obviously one of Steve Jobs last works with him commissioning it so that his story would be told, warts and all. I couldn't put it down.

    It so sad to think that we hoped Steve Jobs would show up for the announcement of the iPhone 4S when he was in fact so close to death. The book details the back story behind the releases of the iPhone and iPad and you get the impression that Jobs put all of his strength into them once he knew that his time was limited. The impending tragedy of his early death in some way contributed to some of his greatest achievements.

    Only being a recent Mac convert, much of the early history was new to me. I probably disliked Steve Jobs and Bill Gates equally throughout the 90s but my impressions of them changed throughout the book. I really have a much greater respect for Bill Gates as a result of the character that is revealed in the book. I feel I have understood what Steve Jobs was about and what he was trying to achieve. Steve Wozniak comes across as the wonderful Tom Bombadill character that we know and love.

    It' s hard to summarize what I feel about Steve Jobs. So much to admire, but such a flawed character. Very thought provoking story.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jp rochedale, brisbane, Australia 11-24-11
    Jp rochedale, brisbane, Australia 11-24-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic listening, finally a book that actually"

    I found this audio book to be one of the best books i have heard. It was refreshing to actually hear the real stories behind the man. There is no doubt that Walter Isaacson has truly got a very detailed behind the scene account of some of the dealings not only with Jobs, but with Apple, Pixar, Next, Mac plus much more. Fantastic book

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 01-26-12
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 01-26-12 Member Since 2009

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brat, Business man, Visionary?"

    Walter Isaacson has written an honest and thought provoking biography of Steve Jobs. He has been able to show how Steve Jobs' personality has evolved, although the trademarks of brat, business man and visionary were always lurking in the background. I think this biography do more than pay homage to Jobs, it also can serve as a history - be it from a specific point of view - of Silicon Valley and more so the Apple company.

    Dylan Baker reading didn't impressed me so much. It was fair, yet not as engaging as I would've expect. At times I had to rewind to relisten as I opted out, and it was definitely not because of the content.

    However, this biography comes highly recommended as Steve Jobs' story is one that deserves to be listened to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dontkickthebaby Tokyo 10-28-11
    dontkickthebaby Tokyo 10-28-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Just a loooong newspaper story"

    Walter Isaacson commits the Cardinal literary sin of telling us what Seve Jobs did with his life rather than showing us what he did. Instead of weaving a series of narratives -- rather than relating the stories that made up the life and times of Steve Jobs -- Isaacson throws a lot of quotes at us from Jobs and others. He fills in the spaces between these quotes with a few odd details, very few of which the reader/listener can really latch onto and use to build a moving narrative in the mind's eye.

    And that's a shame, considering Isaacson was writing about an evil genius who touched hundreds of millions of people, disrupted numerous industries and left behind a legacy that is already being compared to Leonardo Da Vinci.

    Fact is, there is a much, much better biography of Seve Jobs, and it is even available on audible: Alan Deutchman's "The Second Coming of Seve Jobs," published in 2001. Deutchman relates all the same tales, except he actually shows us the life of this man through the power of narrative. And except that Deutchman actually includes details that are rich in evocative power.

    Do yourself a favor: Download Deutchman's book; not this clunker.


    11 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marvin Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 10-25-11
    Marvin Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 10-25-11 Member Since 2009

    a mangyan who loves to hike, to walk, to run, and to read.

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    "iInspired"

    Very inspiring.. i love Steve's childhood with all the "pranks", and the Tom-&-Hack team of Oaf Tobark and Berkeley Blue with their Blue-Box adventure...calling the Vatican, i wish i was there with them! Very inspiring business/life's philosophy.... a page turner! Steve Jobs, simply magical! iInspired!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan LONDON, United Kingdom 12-03-11
    Jonathan LONDON, United Kingdom 12-03-11 Member Since 2011

    I like a good story, be it fiction or reality, it should inspire, entertain, and teach.

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    "Who was Steve jobs?"
    Would you listen to Steve Jobs again? Why?

    I would listen to this book again after a short time has passed, I worked for apple, and found it explained some of the thing I did not understand about the way the did something's, this helped me see the why in there actions. Also the book is the first real insight we get into Steve jobs, and as such it's a large book to be able to ingest all at once. There is much to discover in this books and for that I would read it again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Steve Jobs?

    There was not one moment, as I am well versed in the history of apple, but I do rambler the parts where he traveled to India and sort his guru, and how he followed the zen budaist way. This was the most memorable moment as I too was born in India, understand the sights and smell he must of seen, and my parents and to some exstent also my self believe in buda. So it was nice to see a massive tech giant deal with lifes conflicting decision and what would drive him to make great products.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    As stated above the part heading to India, but there many other nice moment that brought a smile to my face, like working for Atari, or building the iPhone, the next cube, but there was some moments that will frustrate you also, like the canca, and what he did around his kids, how he treated people, and so on, but in the end it's all one man's life and there is much that can be learn from it.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It is in possible to listen to in in one sitting, but I spend the corse of two week traveling back fourth from work, listening to the story unfold.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book to understand the man Steve Jobs, but not the book to understand apple, or how the company will and did create the products they have. It's not a book about a poor kid becomes good, it's a real life experience on some one who was greate and a complete arsshole at times. In short read and enjoy, but don't use it as some sort of study bible.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sai Singapore 11-16-11
    Sai Singapore 11-16-11
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    "Excellent audio book"

    Great audio book. This is one of the few books which would be much enjoyable listening than reading.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Iloilo, Philippines 10-24-11
    Amazon Customer Iloilo, Philippines 10-24-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Very Inspiring"

    His life story may not be different to some of us but he has contributed significant accomplishments to the digital world. He has proven to the world that any person can make a difference regardless of where he or she came from.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Beecroft, Australia 02-16-14
    Adam Beecroft, Australia 02-16-14
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    "A Diamond in the Rough"
    If you could sum up Steve Jobs in three words, what would they be?

    Grating, Genius & Determined


    Any additional comments?

    At first I almost stopped a third of the way in but am glad I persisted as the genius comes out more as you see why he did what he did, transforing not only the computing industry but also the music industry, not to mention the Pixar excellence.Its also an eye opener that high CEO's can be jerks and genius's all in one. He changed my world without me even knowing it, thank you, Steve Jobs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 100 results PREVIOUS1210NEXT
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  • Amazon Customer
    11/28/11
    Overall
    "A fascinating insight into a flawed genius"

    I'm not a fan of all of the approaches that Apple take to their products, but I do greatly appreciate and respect what they do well, and there's an awful lot they do exceptionally well.

    With that proviso I found this book excellent and informative, I learnt things that I wasn't aware with regard to the links between Jobs / Wozniak and the early days of computing in the home, that I grew up with as a child. I also gained a great insight into the incredible attention to detail that has been part of everything Jobs has been involved in.

    Jobs' utter dedication to perfection and driving those around him to achieve great things is brilliant, but is balanced by a character that, during his work life at least, has almost no empathy for others around him.

    It's very much a warts 'n' all book in that sense, but the passion that Jobs and those that he surrounded himself with brought to their product design is inspiring to read, and leaves the reader wondering whether Apple would be what it is today if he'd been a little more sympathetic. I'm also left wondering whether the Apple he leaves behind will continue to create the new markets that now exist simply because of products Apple created, or improved, way beyond what others had done before.

    The other sections of teh book are equally engaging, especially the sections about his time with Pixar where Jobs' more human side seems to come through and the genius of those around him is given more visibility.

    I'm left with a view of a (literally) fatally flawed genius, whose passion drove some amazingly skilled people to do great things, but whose personality I dislike as much as I appreciate the products he helped to create.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Adam
    Driffield, United Kingdom
    11/1/11
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    The best audiobook (and book) I've ever heard (or read). Insightful and well written Jobs led a very colourful life and for those interested in business you'll learn more by listening to this book than you will from the equivalent time in lectures at business school (though I'd probably ignore anything to do with human resource management from the school of Jobs!)

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Geoff
    Great Snoring, Fakenham, United Kingdom
    11/18/11
    Overall
    "Fantastic!"

    I didn't think I could manage 25hrs of an audio book, but I was enthralled with it. It confirms that Steve Jobs was not the kind of person many people would want to work for but was a genius who managed to put together Apple twice and Pixar. He was a visionary and he has changed the way many of us now work and play.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • MariuszJanas
    Warsaw, Poland
    10/31/11
    Overall
    "Great biography"

    Very well wtitten biography. I am not an apple fan or consumer, but I always admired Steve Jobs. Even though I dont think he was a good person, he revolutionised the world of technology.
    I was afraid that this might be a one-sided story, but it seems to give an objective image of Steve's life. The story is based on interviews with Jobs and a lot of other people who knew him.

    Highly recomended

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    Essex uk
    12/11/11
    Overall
    "Interesting, informative and inspiring"

    Must admit I've worked in IT for years, and only recently bought an iPhone and then a iPad so I was curious about Jobs - the man who became a bit of an IT legend. While the book won't fulfil everyone (esp. if you already know a lot about Jobs and his career), for me, it was an interesting insight into a truly inspiring character. I liked it. Not an earth shattering book - but the closest to the true person I'd expect.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    11/3/11
    Overall
    "Lessons learned and a great journey..."

    For anyone who finds business and the history of computers interesting, this is a must read. It has inspired me to do better both professionally and personally. An excellent book. Oh, and just one more thing, I listened to it on my iPhone.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    Musselburgh, United Kingdom
    11/23/11
    Overall
    "The best out there - essential reading."

    First the bad.. Essentially flawed - jumps around in time sometimes... Not as technical as I would have liked in important places. Accuracy of some things can be disputed. Feels written in a rush in places and could have done with more editing and rearranging.
    Now the good. This totally overcomes the bad. This is a gripping Bio and well worth the hours of time to listen to. It is entertaining and really makes you think. It holds nothing back. In years to come there will be other more balanced BIO's perhaps with a more technical lean to them. Until then, this is the book to read.
    I still give it 5 stars for effort.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Salbu
    Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
    11/4/11
    Overall
    "Amazing Life"

    No words to describe how much I enjoyed this. An ultimate classic for 'rebels' and 'odds'.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • James K
    Cardiff UK
    10/12/12
    Overall
    "Author pulls no punches"

    Really interesting look at jobs life and his achievements. The author pulls no punches when it comes to jobs reputation. A really interesting and enjoyable read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wojciech
    London, United Kingdom
    10/3/12
    Overall
    "I am not an Apple enthusiast"

    Even though I would not buy apple products I would recommend this book to everybody. Well written and narrated, gives an insight on the genius of Steve Jobs.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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