Steve JobsBook - 2011 | 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
Based on more than forty 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 twenty-first 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 nor even the right to read it before it was published. 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.
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Be as passionate as possible with your career. Don't settle for less. Then build a team of only A players.
Isaacson received the exclusive chance of interviewing Jobs and the dozens of people closest to him. But at the end of the 600-some pages, offers up little analysis or depth into the real Steve Jobs. What made him tick? What gave him the razor sharp business acumen to predict consumer trends? Why WAS he so mean and pathological? Isaacson dances around main issues plenty of times and certainly offers some juicy anecdotal tales and guesses from friends and colleagues, but in the end, he himself never forms a composite answer. This biography reads like an never-ending interview as the interviewer moves from one quote to another and one source to another. That may have been fine as an interview piece for TIME (for which he used to write) but it's hardly enough for a lasting memoir. What upsets me the most is the fact that Jobs allowed Isaacson this rare chance into his personal circle so that he can understand Jobs like nobody can ever before. All this in order for Isaacson to write a biography that JOBS' CHILDREN CAN READ AND GET TO KNOW THEIR FATHER. Jobs himself admits that he's hardly the model father, more often than not neglecting their care for his companies, Pixar and Apple. This biography was suppose to be a chance for Jobs to show his children why he did the things he did and share his passion for his work. But Isaacson understands neither business nor Apple enough to fully capture this. Although the second half of the book is mostly about the growth of Apple in the last decade - relegating Jobs, the person, to a minute role in the book - Isaacson lacks the business capacity to fully analyze the full cause and effects of Apple's decisions, products and actions. So what you are left with is a hap hash mix of personal anecdotes on Jobs and rough dissections on Apple - not enough biography nor enough business case study. Even worse, what Isaacson wrote on the personality of Jobs is NOT a flattering one in the least. Even the most ardent Jobs/Apple fanatic will find it hard to like him after the picture Isaacson paints in his book. If the average reader is left wanting after reading this, I can only wonder what his children will think when they have a chance to read it.