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Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader Hardcover – March 24, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 594 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Steve Jobs is the person who most inspires the new generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In this deeply-researched book, you'll find the most honest portrait of the real Steve Jobs."
--Marc Andreessen

“One of the best things Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli do in writing about Jobs is undoing the ‘lone genius’ myth, and complicating his persona.”
 --Anil Dash, CEO of ThinkUp

"The book about Steve Jobs that the world deserves. Smart, accurate, informative, insightful and at times, utterly heartbreaking....Becoming Steve Jobs is going to be an essential reference for decades to come."
--John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli render a spectacular service with this book, giving fresh perspective on Steve Jobs’ journey from inspiring but immature entrepreneur into an inspired and mature company-builder.  Most important, they capture Jobs’ resilience, his refusal to capitulate, his restless drive to stay in the game, his voracious appetite to learn—this, far more than genius, is what made him great.  Becoming Steve Jobs gets the focus precisely right: not as a success story, but as a growth story.  Riveting, insightful, uplifting—read it and learn!”
--Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice
Becoming Steve Jobs is fantastic. After working with Steve for over 25 years, I feel this book captures with great insight the growth and complexity of a truly extraordinary person. I hope that it will be recognized as the definitive history.”
--Ed Catmull, president, Disney Animation and Pixar

“What makes their book important is that they contend — persuasively, I believe — that . . . [Jobs] was not the same man in his prime that he had been at the beginning of his career. The callow, impetuous, arrogant youth who co-founded Apple was very different from the mature and thoughtful man who returned to his struggling creation and turned it into a company that made breathtaking products while becoming the dominant technology company of our time."
--Joe Nocera, The New York Times

"Highly recommended."
--Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune.com 

"Square would not exist without the work and persistence of Steve Jobs. I am forever grateful. Amazing read."
--Jack Dorsey 

"...Will quicken the pulse of even obsessive Apple watchers....a layered portrait of the mercurial Jobs, whose style and personality...were constantly evolving, right up to his early death."
--Brad Stone, NYT Sunday Book Review 
 “A fascinating, insightful book that does a great job capturing what and who the man inside the public mask actually was. I’m pleased someone got to write it. It needed writing. Previous titles failed. Highly recommended.” 
–Jonny Evans, ComputerWorld
Becoming Steve Jobs especially shines when it serves up opportunities to get a fresh look at Jobs’ passion for always sticking to the intersection of technology and the humanities that animated his work.”
–Andy Meek, BGR
“Schlender is one of the very few journalists whom Steve Jobs favored with his trust over decades of coverage….only in Becoming Steve Jobs do I recognize the complexity and warmth that I saw first-hand in Jobs, particularly in the last few years of his life.”
–Steven Levy, Backchannel
“If you’re interested in learning more about Steve Jobs’ life, business strategies, successes and failures, the Becoming Steve Jobs book is certainly worth your time.” --Jeremy Horwitz, 9to5Mac
“Reveals lesser-known aspects of Jobs’ life….That’s really where Becoming Steve Jobs shines. It offers a unique take on the decisions (mistakes) Jobs made during his time at NeXT and Pixar.”
Harrison Weber, Venture Beat
“In some ways, this biography can be likened to a college level course in "Jobsology," one that through new information provides adequate insight to flip established doctrine on its head. Exactly what Schlender and Tetzeli intended….Schlender and Tetzeli proffer a measured and deliberate chronicling of Jobs' peaks and valleys painted in the words of those who knew him best. It is a record of an incredible life that has until now only been accessible through the prism of the media and what Jobs himself would allow. It forces us to think different.”
–Mikey Campbell, Apple Insider

Becoming Steve Jobs does not absolve the protagonist of his foibles, but shows that his accomplishments were indeed legion.”
–The Economist
“For a deeply felt account… of the qualities that earned Jobs the abiding respect and love of his closest associates… the Schlender and Tetzeli book is the best that’s currently available.”
Michael Cohen, TidBITS
"...Detailed and thorough...full of intimate and personal anecdotes from Jobs' life that demonstrate how he evolved from the Steve Jobs that was ousted from Apple in the early 1990s to the man that lead the company to release its most revolutionary products."
-- Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider    

About the Author

BRENT SCHLENDER is one of the premiere chroniclers of the personal computer revolution, writing about every major figure and company in the tech industry. He covered Steve Jobs for the Wall Street Journal and Fortune for nearly 25 years.

RICK TETZELI, executive editor of Fast Company, has covered technology for two decades. He is the former deputy editor of Fortune, and editor of Entertainment Weekly.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; First edition (March 24, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385347405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385347402
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (594 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phil (not) in Mågnoliá TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 24, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating biography that I enjoyed very much, but before getting into the details of the book itself I want to quickly go back in time to when Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011 (it's hard to believe that three and a half years have already gone by since that date). At that time, the Walter Isaacson biography (Steve Jobs) had already been written.

Jobs had agreed to be interviewed by Isaacson over the course of the final two years of his life, and when Isaacson's biography of Jobs was published less than three weeks after his death, on October 24, 2011, it immediately became a bestseller. His book was taken as the most thorough and authoritative description of Jobs that had been written. It did have the cooperation of Jobs himself, and did become the benchmark biography of Jobs (until today). It pulled few punches in describing Jobs volatility throughout his life and in managing his businesses. The view of most was probably that the Isaacson book was tough but fair, because the stories of how difficult Jobs could be were well known and undisputed.

Now that a couple of years have gone by and people have had a chance to adjust to Jobs death and reflect, it turns out that there was a need for a more balanced look at his life, one that doesn't overlook his failings but also gives more credit to not only his great technological leadership but also his humanity and his great talents as a leader of men and women. Especially interesting are the stories of his growth as a person, and how he did learn to be more understanding and compassionate in dealing with people. We learn through reading this book that this was something he acknowledged and worked hard at improving.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a big fan of the work of Apple and Jobs, and I have read other books and articles over the years about them. So I was very much looking forward to this book and pre-ordered and read it as soon as I could.

Overall I am not disappointed. That said, it was speculated in the press that the goal of this book was to shed Job's old image as a genius and sociopath, and the book does try hard to do this at the expense of being comprehensive about Jobs.

- Overall narrative focused on Jobs's personal growth over the years
- Shorter and easier to read and follow than the Bible-length bio by Isaacson
- Focused on relationships rather than products or events
- Includes plenty of quotes and anecdotes not seen before, especially from people close to Jobs during his second tenure at Apple
- Sheds light on his final years with cancer and the work on the iPhone and iPad (something Isaacson did not do as well)
- Good insights on Jobs's thinking about products and business decisions
- Shows Jobs's human side; I loved the stories about him helping someone jump start his car or being late for the Stanford commencement address

- Very incomplete and not comprehensive. This should not be your first or only book about Apple or Jobs. Isaacson, although too long, is better overall.
- Completely omits quotes and anecdotes from bad relationships. Why nothing from Job's girlfriend and mother of his estranged first daughter? Why nothing from Lisa, his first daughter? Why so little from Woz, the cofounder of Apple? Why nothing from Jobs's biological or adoptive parents?
- If family was really so important to Jobs (and I believe it), why not tell us more about them and how he chose to relate to them?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steve Jobs famously said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” *Becoming Steve Jobs*, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, does a wonderful job of connecting the dots of Steve Jobs’ passionate life.

With new first-hand accounts and insights into Jobs’ personal and professional growth, *Becoming Steve Jobs* offers a glimpse into the tremendous work it took for an “inconsiderate“ and “rash” young visionary to develop himself into a caring and deliberate leader who so deeply valued -- and inspired in others -- one thing above all else: a love of and dedication to creating the beautiful in work, in life.


In *Becoming Steve Jobs*, we see Jobs develop. At times, we encounter him at his worst: an emotionally erratic young man sitting in a parking lot, literally crying in shame after losing control of himself in a meeting; an arrogant 20-something who thinks “he could probably do anybody’s job better than they could” (Schlender & Tetzeli); a pained adult having to finally end production on his beloved NeXT computers. We see his beginnings, and his faults. But we also see the steps he takes to grow, to overcome weaknesses and learn from mistakes. For instance, we see him genuinely apologizing for inappropriate outbursts. We hear from colleagues such as John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, that he could inspire those around him “to do amazing things he knew he couldn’t do himself.” And of course we see his incredible comeback to Apple (after it purchases NeXT) and the fantastic computers he creates while there. Time and again, we see Steve Jobs neither as a lucky boy in the right place at the right time nor as a fully formed tech messiah with God-given talents.
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