Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs was a hero to many people - he had legions of fans of Apple die-hards who hung on every word he said. His products are in many homes and business throughout the world (about 10 in my house). Walter Isaacson has written a super biography based on Jobs, though it could be argued that it is also a history of technology and Apple the company since the 1970s.

Image link to
Simon & Schuster.
If you lived through the decades from the 1970s to today, and have been involved in technology - a lot of this story is familiar. Apple vs Microsoft, the Macintosh, open vs closed systems, the iPod/iPhone/iPad, the hoopla - but Isaacson adds a narrative that is entwined with Jobs' life that is fascinating, brilliant, historical, and delivers a "warts and all" account of Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs never got to read this book and I'm certain that his first reaction to it would be "This is shit" as he said about many things. Isaacson recounts all the rudeness, anger, stubborness, ignorance of rules, pettiness, as well as the more well-known obvious brilliance, creativity, and success that he had. He sure did cram a lot into his life, and will be remembered for many years to come. While there is no doubt that he was the dominant figure in Apple, he was certainly not a nice person. Isaacson does judge Jobs, though on page 565 he does state that "The nasty edge to his personality was not necessary", and on page 564, he calls him an "asshole". There is a quote on page 517 from who called him a "techno-dictator" - this is the description I liked best.

I like to learn something new from a biography and there is certainly a lot here for anyone interested in how one of the most successful companies ever was built up by Jobs (and thousands of other Apple employees). I did not know he was a nasty piece of work, and I am certain that he could have achieved much the same without being such a bollix. 

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with your summation "and I am certain that he could have achieved much the same without being such a bollix."
    I am 1/2 way through the book & to me it reads very like a bio of Gates that I read, where Gates was a hard arse that used others ideas.
    Yes I too did not know Jobs was such a B.But without Wozniak there would never have been an Apple.