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Steve Jobs (2011)

by Walter Isaacson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,670261900 (4.14)77
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)
Recently added byGregg444, rstenson, bragiv, Aki_Stepinska, aprilhill, private library, KooDuvall, Brienno, bibliolevin
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Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
Very easy to read. ( )
  JamieRedmond | Dec 16, 2021 |
Brilliant biography. Fascinating subject. Personality issues aside, should be required reading for anyone wanting to understand what business/capitalism should be or could be if anyone cared about products instead of profits. Profit as an end in itself perpetuates greed and gives nothing in return. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
Steve Jobs can sometimes be a big asshole and I personally don't agree with the closed approach of Apple's products like the iPhone but you can't deny he was easily one of the greatest visionaries of our lifetime and had a great eye on design, he would fit perfectly in Apple's own Think Different campaign.

This book is a great in-depth look at both sides of the coin, the amazing visionary and the terrible asshole behind the vision. The narration by Dylan Baker in the audiobook version is well done and the writing by Walter Issacson is very well worded. This book is 100% worth a read at least once even if you don't agree with Apple or Steve's visions. ( )
  BrandonGiesing | Oct 20, 2021 |
Before I'd started Isaacson's Steve Jobs, I'd never really known what Steve Jobs' capacity at Apple was. I actually still don't really know. Was the only thing he did as CEO screaming at his employees that their work was "shit"? Shit, shit, shit? I don't think they were shit. SJ’s perfectionism was downright arbitrary at times, and perhaps that’s why he succeeded so well. His dictatorship, ruled out of a pair of guerilla-glued-on reality distortion goggles, took its inspiration from Stalinist Russia’s governance structures of Five-Year Plans and forced industrialization. The kind of efficiency he mined out of his workers reminds me eerily of an anecdote my Current Global Macroeconomic Challenges professor David Wyss kept resorting to when discussing China’s growth: One day a government official tells a neighborhood block to find a new home, and the next day there’s a highway in its place. Apple didn’t get things done because of an inherently efficient structure of talent; it got things done because Steve Jobs’ taste buds ruled over Apple like Vladimir over Russia.

Commendable taste buds they were. His web of philosophies, all poking out of a center of zennish Simplicity, guided his every move – though, in the end, it was his gut feeling that really seemed to intuit whether he liked a product or not. Well, duh. CEOs should have gut feelings about things and should usually let their gut feelings dictate those things. Or the gut should, at least, act in an editorial capacity. And I think most of Steve Jobs’ role as Apple CEO could be translated into EAL: editor-at-large – he’d pour over a product, examine it, let his gut grunt its yeas or nays, and either scream his fucking head off or take credit for the idea’s beautiful success.

More than the fact that SJ was a complete asshole, I learned a few things. I learned that life philosophy can drive people in their quests for better products. I learned that customers don't know what they want. Like, graphical user interfaces on computers? Those were not a thing -- not even an intuitive thought, until someone (I forget who) came up with it three decades ago. I learned that CEOs and company executives and engineers and designers bicker. A lot. They bicker about the price of the product, the materials of the product, the way the products looks, feels, the way it's marketed and advertised, the way it's packaged and sold even.

Overall, this book was pretty illuminating in the way it delved into all of Apple's personalities and products and organizational structures. It was a fast, simple, if not as completely elegant as one of Steve's products.
( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
Pretty interesting guy. the best take away was his intense focus on doing a few things great. Still disagree on the value of a closed end to end system. Makes me want to read more biographies. ( )
  royragsdale | Sep 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (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)
 

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walter Isaacsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baker, DylanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Defert, DominiqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delporte, CaroleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gittinger, AntoinetteÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grasmück, OliverÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mallett, DagmarÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, ElfiÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stumpf, AndreaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werbeck, GabrieleÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
Dedication
First words
(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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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.

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Book description
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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