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Steve Jobs [Kindle Edition]

Walter Isaacson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,413 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $20.00
Kindle Price: $6.99
You Save: $13.01 (65%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING BIOGRAPHIES OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND ALBERT EINSTEIN, THIS IS THE EXCLUSIVE BIOGRAPHY OF STEVE JOBS.

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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2011: It is difficult to read the opening pages of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs without feeling melancholic. Jobs retired at the end of August and died about six weeks later. Now, just weeks after his death, you can open the book that bears his name and read about his youth, his promise, and his relentless press to succeed. But the initial sadness in starting the book is soon replaced by something else, which is the intensity of the read--mirroring the intensity of Jobs’s focus and vision for his products. Few in history have transformed their time like Steve Jobs, and one could argue that he stands with the Fords, Edisons, and Gutenbergs of the world. This is a timely and complete portrait that pulls no punches and gives insight into a man whose contradictions were in many ways his greatest strength. --Chris Schluep


Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Walter Isaacson

Q: It's becoming well known that Jobs was able to create his Reality Distortion Field when it served him. Was it difficult for you to cut through the RDF and get beneath the narrative that he created? How did you do it?

Isaacson: Andy Hertzfeld, who worked with Steve on the original Macintosh team, said that even if you were aware of his Reality Distortion Field, you still got caught up in it. But that is why Steve was so successful: He willfully bent reality so that you became convinced you could do the impossible, so you did. I never felt he was intentionally misleading me, but I did try to check every story. I did more than a hundred interviews. And he urged me not just to hear his version, but to interview as many people as possible. It was one of his many odd contradictions: He could distort reality, yet he was also brutally honest most of the time. He impressed upon me the value of honesty, rather than trying to whitewash things.

Q: How were the interviews with Jobs conducted? Did you ask lots of questions, or did he just talk?

Isaacson: I asked very few questions. We would take long walks or drives, or sit in his garden, and I would raise a topic and let him expound on it. Even during the more formal sessions in his living room, I would just sit quietly and listen. He loved to tell stories, and he would get very emotional, especially when talking about people in his life whom he admired or disdained.

Q: He was a powerful man who could hold a grudge. Was it easy to get others to talk about Jobs willingly? Were they afraid to talk?

Isaacson: Everyone was eager to talk about Steve. They all had stories to tell, and they loved to tell them. Even those who told me about his rough manner put it in the context of how inspiring he could be.

Q: Jobs embraced the counterculture and Buddhism. Yet he was a billionaire businessman with his own jet. In what way did Jobs' contradictions contribute to his success?

Isaacson: Steve was filled with contradictions. He was a counterculture rebel who became a billionaire. He eschewed material objects yet made objects of desire. He talked, at times, about how he wrestled with these contradictions. His counterculture background combined with his love of electronics and business was key to the products he created. They combined artistry and technology.

Q: Jobs could be notoriously difficult. Did you wind up liking him in the end?

Isaacson: Yes, I liked him and was inspired by him. But I knew he could be unkind and rough. These things can go together. When my book first came out, some people skimmed it quickly and cherry-picked the examples of his being rude to people. But that was only half the story. Fortunately, as people read the whole book, they saw the theme of the narrative: He could be petulant and rough, but this was driven by his passion and pursuit of perfection. He liked people to stand up to him, and he said that brutal honesty was required to be part of his team. And the teams he built became extremely loyal and inspired.

Q: Do you believe he was a genius?

Isaacson: He was a genius at connecting art to technology, of making leaps based on intuition and imagination. He knew how to make emotional connections with those around him and with his customers.

Q: Did he have regrets?

Isaacson: He had some regrets, which he expressed in his interviews. For example, he said that he did not handle well the pregnancy of his first girlfriend. But he was deeply satisfied by the creativity he ingrained at Apple and the loyalty of both his close colleagues and his family.

Q: What do you think is his legacy?

Isaacson: His legacy is transforming seven industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, digital publishing, and retail stores. His legacy is creating what became the most valuable company on earth, one that stood at the intersection of the humanities and technology, and is the company most likely still to be doing that a generation from now. His legacy, as he said in his "Think Different" ad, was reminding us that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Photo credit: Patrice Gilbert Photography

Review

a must read Sunday Times astounding -- Mark Prigg Evening Standard richly entertaining -- Toby Young Mail on Sunday exemplary -- Michael Bywater Independent riveting -- Tim Martin Daily Telegraph

Product Details

  • File Size: 21739 KB
  • Print Length: 657 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W2UBYW
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,263 of 1,360 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but amazingly incomplete October 27, 2011
Format:Hardcover
This is a gripping journey into the life of an amazing individual. Despite its girth of nearly 600 pages, the book zips along at a torrid pace.

The interviews with Jobs are fascinating and revealing. We get a real sense for what it must have been like to be Steve, or to work with him. That earns the book five stars despite its flaws, in that it's definitely a must-read if you have any interest at all in the subject.

But there are places in the book where I have to say, "Huh?"

The book is written essentially as a series of stories about Steve. The book continuously held my interest, but some of the dramas of his life seem muted. For instance, he came close to going bust when both Next and Pixar were flailing. There was only the slightest hint that anything dramatic happened in those years. In one paragraph, Pixar is shown as nearly running him out of money. A few brief paragraphs later, Toy Story gets released and Jobs' finances are saved for good.

We hear a lot about Tony Fadell's role in the development of iPhone. Tony led the iPod group and was clearly a major source for the book. You may know from a recent Businessweek article that Tony was basically driven out of the company shortly after the final introduction of iPhone, due to personality conflicts between him and Scott Forestall, the person now in charge of iOS development. But the book doesn't say a word about it. Tony simply disappears from the rest of the book with no explanation, and Forestall is barely mentioned.

Another strange incident was the Jackling house, the house he spent a large part of his life in. A case could be made that the house is historic simply because Steve spent many of his formative years living in it.
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608 of 703 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Steve Jobs wanted to change the world, "put a dent in the universe." And he did. If you are interested in life and want to know how Jobs changed it right before our eyes, you should read this book.

No other book on Jobs has been based on first hand information from the Master himself, his colleagues and his detractors. There is no other way to know the man who changed the way we live and work. The fact that the book is engaging is a big bonus.

First Jobs' personal life, personality and beliefs. Like all fascinating people in history, Jobs was a bundle of contradictions. Born out of wedlock, he was an American icon and yet born of a Syrian Muslim whom he never knew, but had accidentally met. Adopted at birth by working class parents, he became skeptical of the Church as the all-knowing god did not help the starving children in Biafra and alternated between being a believer and a non-believer. He was, at different times, a vegan and a fruitarian (hence the name Apple). Jobs was influenced by the counter cultural ideas of the 60's and the 70's and yet become one of the most revered corporate figures of all time. He was a multi-billionaire who lived on a regular street with no high fenced compound, security or live-in servants; a Zen Buddhist who was obsessed with Zen-like simplicity but did not possess Zen-like tranquility; a son who tried to abandon his child like the way he had thought he was abandoned; a leader who was highly demanding of his colleagues and coworkers; a vastly influential figure in computing who neither built computers not wrote codes himself; a genius who was mean to many people. All these factoids had to have some influence on who he was and who he became and may keep interested psychologists busy for years.
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271 of 314 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
INTRODUCTION
Apple has always meant more to me than as a computer company, because of my early experiences in the late 1970's and early 1980's from age 8 using the Apple ][, //e, and later the Mac. They represented amazing products that I could understand even as a child, that this was the direction of the future. It was odd to me then, that the world was still embracing the MS-DOS command line interface and the IBM PC/AT machines. When in the late 1990's, Apple neared bankruptcy, with Microsoft Windows dominating the market, it taught me as a young man that companies that try to make the very best can be under appreciated by the masses, just as the adults near me in the 1980's could not see the amazing nature of my Apple //e and Mac back then. Good guys, it seemed, do finish last. It was disheartening.

Since the return of Steve Jobs to Apple, the world now knows of his genius and brilliance.

This biography is utterly amazing. I could not stop reading the entire biography and finished in less than 2 days.

WHAT I LIKED
1. Extraordinarily comprehensive - The book covers an immense number of different "phases" of his life from his famous adoption story to the start of Apple Computer, to NeXt, Pixar, love life, development of his iconic products, to the time before his death (although his death is actually never mentioned).
2. Ruthlessly objective - As a fan of Steve Jobs, I cringed at all the negative descriptions of Jobs's conduct with strangers, his management team, other CEO's, etc. I knew of his candor and lack of sensitivity towards others, but the degree to which this is depicted made me cringe and even wonder if Jobs should not be garnering so much world-wide respect.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epitome of Reminiscent
As I type this review on my iPad, having split the readings of Isaacson's pages across various machinery - iDevices, PC, and Kindle - I arrive at the sad conclusion that there is... Read more
Published 1 day ago by M. Blume
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
It is inspiring to see how Steve Jobs can put Liberal Arts and Technology so beautifully together in the products he makes at Apple! Absolutely brilliant!
Published 1 day ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book is accurate
I have been a Mac user since 1988. In the 90s I made friends with a Systems Engineer and joined a User group. Read more
Published 2 days ago by David N. Krafchick
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is Steve Jobs.
From the very first computer I've ever bought, I've had Macintosh's only. The first was in 1987. That is what prompted me to buy the book about him, but I am too busy right now to... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Millie Guinn
5.0 out of 5 stars Jobs
Mr. Isaacson is one of my favorite authors. Again, he has captured the life of an important person in American history. Read more
Published 3 days ago by George R. Amey
5.0 out of 5 stars a lot of quote that helps
I love this book as it approaches the life of Mr. Jobs from a high-level perspective. It tells a lot about the meaning of life and some quotes are really helpful for me personally,... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars This is worth reading (just skip the illness stuff)
I didn't give it 5 stars as there was too much time spent on his health issues. With that left out, the rest gives a view into how Steve thinks, and the events in history that... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Rich Colvin
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read for everyone
The best! And this is a book that stays with you, and you're reminded of his genius every day seeing technology jump ahead. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Aimee M. Suhie
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating
great book. great story. inspiring. I would recommend this book to my grandmother. Everyone should read this. lorem ipsum dolo set...
Published 4 days ago by Barrett P. Kenney
4.0 out of 5 stars .
Enlightening.

It's my choice how many words I use to review a book, not yours. Blah blah blah blah blah
Published 4 days ago by Smokes
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More About the Author

Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and of Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

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Can't read on Kindle Cloud Reader
I bought a book on programming. I need it up on one screen so I can refer to it while I code on another.

Except, I can't have it on my screen unless I, uh, buy a Kindle Fire and duct tape it in place I guess???

Amazon, this is stupid. Fix it. I didn't spend money on that book so you could... Read more
Feb 2, 2013 by Huns |  See all 46 posts
Will e-book be released on October 24, 2011?
$17.99 for a Kindle version? Seriously? Library, here I come!
Oct 6, 2011 by Andrea J. Swirka |  See all 9 posts
Kindle version $16.99 on front page, $20.72 inside?
The Kindle edition is more than the hardcover or the audiobook. Just won't pay that, no matter how topical the subject or how much I like the author. It's offensive e-pricing ... or e-gouging, if you will.
Oct 21, 2011 by Tuiliq |  See all 22 posts
Why don't more authors publish with Amazon directly?
Amazon is a middleman. The publishers do set the price, but Amazon takes a fairly big cut out of every e-book purchase, but hopefully it's worth it to authors. However, it's kind of simplistic to call publishers greedy middlemen. Publishing is not a very profitable business in general, and... Read more
Oct 24, 2011 by Amazon User |  See all 7 posts
These Kindle prices are getting stupid
Agreed. How is it that a printed hardcover of the same book is only $1 more? I know it's got to be because the demand will likely be very high so they can charge that price, but I'm hoping it'll drop, and I'll be more likely to grab a copy.
Oct 23, 2011 by Brian Olson |  See all 25 posts
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