312 of 362 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary biography of a truly historical, one-of-a-kind man
, October 26, 2011
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
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. This sentiment was strong in the beginning of the biography, but by the end of the biography, I had actually become accustomed to Jobs's personality through the biography, almost as if I had personally known the man and adapted to him. The biography actually made me feel like I knew him.
3. Extraordinary historical perspective - Even if this biography were not to mention Steve Jobs, it would be fascinating. There is so much written about the history of Silicon Valley, other famous CEOs, musicians, artists, politicians, etc, that the book is enticing.
4. Extraordinary perspective on other famous leaders - Jobs spoke candidly about his opinions regarding virtually every important person that may have crossed his path. There are comments and stories regarding John Sculley, President Clinton, Obama, Bill Gates, Jeffrey Katzenberg (Disney), Michael Eisner (Disney), Bob Iger (Disney), Bono, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, Steve Wozniak, Larry Ellison (Oracle), Eric Schmidt (Google), Larry Page (Google), Andy Grove (Intel), etc.
5. Extremely detailed descriptions of Jobs's business decision-making processes - This is true throughout the biography, but especially so towards the last third, where there is an extraordinarily detailed account by Jobs of his thought process during development of the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and iCloud. In this latter third of the biography, whatever doubt may have existed of whether or not Jobs should be so revered is laid to rest when we witness his amazing decision-making ability.
6. Unexpectedly funny - Especially in the very beginning of the biography, you can't help but laugh when you read about John Sculley's first day at Apple and seeing Jobs sitting on a desk playing with his bare toes.
7. Jobs's personal life - This has always been an enigma and the most many knew of Jobs's personal life came from his 2005 Stanford commencement speech. We see into his early girlfriends' perspectives of Jobs, his current wife and children's perspective. The fascinating story of his biological parents, biological sister, daughter for whom he initially denied custody, three children and wife. There is much written about his perspective on Zen Buddhism and his trek to India.
8. Extremely detailed - For all the above points, there was an immense amount of detail that I never envisioned would exist in this biography.
9. Easy to read - The author makes reading each sentence effortless.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
1. Not enough photos - The few photos that were included were great, but it left you wanting more.
2. Possibly too much of the negative aspects of Jobs's personality were described - No doubt that the man could belittle others, but there was so much emphasis of this especially in the beginning of the bio, that I wondered if the author didn't try too hard to make this point for fear of being accused of being too soft in his description of Jobs
3. Some very slight repetition in the very beginning of the biography from passages found in the middle and end of the biography.
4. I wished for more of Steve Jobs's perspective - Every now and then, the author would mention what Jobs thought of a certain past event but I wish there were more of those. So much of the biography read more like a history book trying to be objective and accurate, but I really wanted to know what Jobs thought about everything. I wanted his perspective more, even if it would make the book less objective.
This biography is amazing because of the subject matter, but it is also well-written. It seemed to be such an effort at objectiveness, however, that it actually lacked what I wanted to read most, which was Jobs's perspective. I appreciated the author's efforts and painting an accurate historical picture, but I really wanted to know what was on Jobs's mind regarding everything that was written about him. There was not enough of that, which is unfortunate, because it is in my opinion, his perspective that mattered the most.
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