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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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Steve Jobs (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Walter Isaacson

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4,839201956 (4.15)62
Member:MAKBerlin
Title:Steve Jobs
Authors:Walter Isaacson
Info:Mondadori (2012), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:biography

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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
If you lived thru it, then read it to make sure that you knew what really went on. If not, then read if you want to hear the life of yet another arrogant asshole who changed the world. I keep thinking at least he didn't go into politics or the military. We were much safer with him running a computer company than a country with an army and big bombs. ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Brilliantly balanced portrayal of an extremely complicated character. Written in such an engaging manner, I couldn't wait to come back to it. Fascinating portrait; highly recommend. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
For the past three months I have had this book playing in 10 minute increments in the Jetta when I commute the 4 miles to campus. I like Walter Issacson and his other biographies, but this one seemed a bit forced. Maybe it was the fact that I was listening to it and I wasn't a big fan of the voice which seemed to miss some of the nuanced phrases. Still, it was an informative read if not a bit sad.
More likely though, my discomfort with the book had more to do with the fact that it's about Steve Jobs. For all his accomplishments, Steve was kind of a jerk to almost everyone in his life. He was a jerk, but a jerk who got really good results. The book focuses on this dichotomy and Isaccson doesn't really pull a lot of punches when it comes to painting a picture for the reader. Even though Jobs commissioned Isaccson to write this biography (a typical egoist move on Jobs part), Jobs never really saw the finished product nor did Jobs ask Isaacson to edit out the nasty parts. In effect, what we get is a list of Jobs' leadership accomplishments, which are many, but also a list of the hurt people around him. Issacson interviews everyone, multiple times. The family, the enemies, the frenemies, and they are mostly all frenemies.
It's a bit of a Faustian tale really. What if I told you that you could create a company which created incredible gizmos and networking structures which would completely reshape the world? The only catch is that you will most likely be a dick to everyone. History has many examples of this paradox for us to reflect on. Jobs' "reality distortion field" is not a new thing. But was his social inadequacies necessary to push the boundaries of what was possible? I don't want to say yes, but I think most people would be happy for someone else to take that bargain.
I am grateful for Jobs' work but it is still sad to hear about some of the side effects of his peculiar way of dealing with people. It's also tragic that the "reality distortion field" that enabled Jobs to will his vision into existence also betrayed him in the end. When Jobs was diagnosed with cancer, he ignored it for months and months trying to will it away with Zen Buddhism and bizarro pseudoscience. He couldn't follow his doctor's advice when it came to dieting and ultimately he wasted away. I hate to speak ill of the dead but I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelieve when I listened to this part of the book. The man was so brilliant but also believed in the most bizarre hogwash. Carrot diets? I sort of understand where he was coming from, I was vegan for eight years, but when Jobs refused to add protein to his diet after his pancreas was removed I was so angry at him. He has a family depending on him, his company, his shareholders. We want those gizmos so bad. There were several times when I was driving down Northern Lights yelling at the car "Damn it Jobs, just eat the fricking meat! You're killing yourself!" But I knew it was over for him.
Regardless, now we have imacs, apple laptops, ipods, iphones, ipads, icloud, itunes, Pixar, and probably a bunch of other things that are going to come out in the future. Jobs didn't really invent all these things but he was at the helm. I think the world is mostly better off with these devices and technologies. My iphone is extremely useful. I love Pixar movies. My macbook is very handy. Sadly though, reading this book and learning about what it took for Jobs to push it all through is a bit like watching the sausage getting made. ( )
  BenjaminHahn | Jul 12, 2016 |
Very interesting book. It was neat to hear about the behind the scenes activities of Apple. I knew Steve Jobs was a genius but I always thought maybe he was a really cool guy. Instead I find out he was a bully, tyrant and seemed like he didn't have great people skills. I would not have wanted him as a boss. That part of the story is a little surprising at how self-centered and selfish he was. But again, he was a genius who was a wonderful visionary and pushed people outside their comfort zone all the time. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 12, 2016 |
Very interesting book. It was neat to hear about the behind the scenes activities of Apple. I knew Steve Jobs was a genius but I always thought maybe he was a really cool guy. Instead I find out he was a bully, tyrant and seemed like he didn't have great people skills. I would not have wanted him as a boss. That part of the story is a little surprising at how self-centered and selfish he was. But again, he was a genius who was a wonderful visionary and pushed people outside their comfort zone all the time. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
Steve Jobs dreamed of a legacy that awed people. He wanted to be in the pantheon of great product innovators, indeed surpassing Edwin Land and even his early icons William Hewitt and David Packard. But, Jobs created more than great products. Just as significant was his ability to create great companies with valuable brands. And, he created two of the best of his era: Apple and Pixar.
 
Isaacson’s book is long, dull, often flat-footed, and humorless. It hammers on one nail, incessantly: that Steve Jobs was an awful man, but awful in the service of products people really liked (and eventually bought lots of) and so in the end his awfulness was probably OK. It is not Isaacson’s fault that Jobs from early on had a “admixture of sensitivity and insensitivity, bristliness and detachment,” as Isaacson describes it, or that Jobs abandoned friends, thought almost everyone else was a shithead, showed little interest in his daughters, and made life generally miserable for anyone who had to provide a good or service to him. But it is Isaacson’s fault that the biography is so narrowly focused on one moral theme. The reader is left to judge, with plenty of evidence both ways—and a clear idea of where Isaacson’s sympathies lie—whether Jobs deserves the Artist’s Exemption.
added by Shortride | editn+1, Gary Sernovitz (Dec 20, 2011)
 
As Walter Isaacson says in this incisive biography, Jobs behaved like a Nietzschean superman, using his will – transmitted through an unblinking stare – as a remote-control device that compelled others to do his bidding.
added by SqueakyChu | editThe Guardian, Peter Conrad (Oct 30, 2011)
 
While Jobs was a vigorous competitor, he also came to view himself as an elder statesman with a responsibility for giving advice to Google’s Page, Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other emerging technology executives, according to “Steve Jobs,” an authorized biography by Walter Isaacson and published by CBS Corp. (CBS)’s Simon & Schuster. It goes on sale Oct. 24.
added by Serviette | editBloomberg, Adam Satariano (Oct 22, 2011)
 
Mr. Isaacson treats “Steve Jobs” as the biography of record, which means that it is a strange book to read so soon after its subject’s death. Some of it is an essential Silicon Valley chronicle, compiling stories well known to tech aficionados but interesting to a broad audience. Some of it is already quaint. Mr. Jobs’s first job was at Atari, and it involved the game Pong. (“If you’re under 30, ask your parents,” Mr. Isaacson writes.) Some, like an account of the release of the iPad 2, is so recent that it is hard to appreciate yet, even if Mr. Isaacson says the device comes to life “like the face of a tickled baby.”
added by LiteraryFiction | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (pay site) (Oct 21, 2011)
 
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Epigraph
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. -- Apple's "Think Different" commercial, 1997
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(Introduction - How This Book Came to Be) In the early summer of 2004, I got a phone call from Steve Jobs.
When Paul Jobs was mustered out of the Coast Guard after World War II, he made a wager with his crewmates.
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À partir d'une quarantaine d'interviews exclusives et de multiples rencontres avec sa famille , ses proches , ses collaborateurs , ses amis comme ses adversaires , l'auteur a constitué d'une façon magistrale et passionnée la vie , l'œuvre et la pensée d'un des plus grands innovateurs et visionnaires de notre époque .

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.
Haiku summary
Steven P. Jobs/Innovative, genius mind/Rough around the edge(njvroom)

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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, the author 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. -- From publisher.… (more)

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