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Steve Jobs Hardcover – Big Book, October 24, 2011
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Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than 100 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. Isaacson’s portrait touched millions of readers.
At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, 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 the author, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. He himself spoke candidly about the people he worked with and competed against.
His friends, foes, and colleagues offer 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.
His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.
Steve Jobs is the inspiration for the movie of the same name starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels, directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.
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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
About the Author
Walter Isaacson is the bestselling author of The Code Breaker; Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He is a professor of history at Tulane and was CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. Isaacson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2023. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (October 24, 2011)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 656 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1451648537
- ISBN-13 : 978-1451648539
- Lexile measure : 1080L
- Item Weight : 2.16 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.9 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #14 in Computers & Technology Industry
- #22 in Business Professional's Biographies
- #134 in Leadership & Motivation
- Customer Reviews:
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1- "I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics," he said. "Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that's what I wanted to do." It was as if he were suggesting themes for his biography (and in this instance, at least, the theme turned out to be valid). The creativity that can occur where both the humanities and the sciences combine in one strong personality was the topic that most interested me in my biographies of Franklin and Einstein, and I believe that it will be a key to creating innovative economies in the twenty-first century."
2- "His wife also did not request restrictions or control, nor did she ask to see in advance what I would publish. In fact she strongly encouraged me to be honest about his failings as well as his strengths. She is one of the smartest and most grounded people I have ever met. "There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy. and that's the truth," she told me early on. "You shouldn't whitewash it. He's good at spin, but he also has a remarkable story, and I'd like to see that it's all told truthfully" I leave it to the reader to assess whether I have succeeded in this mission. I'm sure there are players in this drama who will remember some of the events differently or think that I sometimes got trapped in Jobs's distortion field."
3- "Jobs said that his appreciation for Eichler homes instilled in him a passion for making nicely designed products for the mass market. I Jove it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn't cost much," he said as he pointed out the clean elegance of the houses. "It was the original vision for Apple. That's what we tried to do with the first Mac. That's what we did with the iPod.""
4- "The Blue Box adventure established a template for a partnership that would soon be born. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention that he would have been happy just to give away. and Jobs would figure out how to make it user-friendly, put it together in a package, market it, and make a few bucks."
5- "Coming back to America was, for me, much more of a cultural shock than going to India. The people in the Indian countryside don't use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That's had a big impact on my work."
6- "Jobs is a complex person, he said, and being manipulative is just the darker facet of the traits that make him successful. Wozniak would never have been that way, but as he points out, he also could never have built Apple. "I would rather let it pass," he said when I pressed the point. "It's not something I want to judge Steve by.""
7- "Apple. It was a smart choice. The word instantly signaled friendliness and simplicity. It managed to be both slightly off-beat and as normal as a slice of pie. There was a whiff of counterculture, back-to-nature earthiness to it, yet nothing could be more American. And the two words together—Apple Computer—provided an amusing disjuncture. "
8- "Jobs's father had once taught him that a drive for perfection meant caring about the craftsmanship even of the parts unseen. Jobs applied that to the layout of the circuit board inside the Apple II. He rejected the initial design because the lines were not straight enough. This passion for perfection led him to indulge his instinct to control. Most hackers and hobbyists liked to customize, modify, and jack various things into their computers. To Jobs, this was a threat to a seamless end-to-end user experience."
9- "Markkula would become a father figure to Jobs. Like Jobs's adoptive father, he would indulge Jobs's strong will, and like his biological father, he would end up abandoning him. "Markkula was as much a father-son relationship as Steve ever had," said the venture capitalist Arthur Rock. He began to teach Jobs about marketing and sales. "Mike really took me under his wing," Jobs recalled. "His values were much aligned with mine. He emphasized that you should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.""
10- "Was Jobs's unfiltered behavior caused by a lack of emotional sensitivity? No. Almost the opposite. He was very emotionally attuned. able to read people and know their psychological strengths and vulnerabilities. He could stun an unsuspecting: victim with an emotional towel-snap, perfectly aimed. He intuitively knew when someone was faking it or truly knew something. This made him masterful at cajoling, stroking, persuading, flattering, and intimidating people."
11- "But even though Jobs's style could be demoralizing, it could also be oddly inspiring. It infused Apple employees with an abiding passion to create groundbreaking products and a belief that they could accomplish what seemed impossible."
12- "The best products, he believed, were "whole widgets" that were designed end-to-end, with the software closely tailored to the hardware and vice versa. This is what would distinguish the Macintosh, which had an operating system that worked only on its own hardware, from the environment that Microsoft was creating, in which its operating system could be used on hardware made by many different companies."
13- "Their differences in personality and character would lead them to opposite sides of what would become the fundamental divide in the digital age. Jobs was a perfectionist who craved control and indulged in the uncompromising temperament of an artist; he and Apple became the exemplars of a digital strategy that tightly integrated hardware. software, and content into a seamless package. Gates was a smart, calculating, and pragmatic analyst of business and technology; he was )pen to licensing Microsoft's operating system and software to a variety of manufacturers."
14- "I'll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I'll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I'm not there, but I'U always come back. If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you've done and whoever you were and throw them away. The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times. artists have to say. "Bye. I have to go now. I'm going crazy and I'm getting out of here." And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently."
15- "Jobs sometimes avoided the truth. Helmut Sonnenfeldt once said of Henry Kissinger, "He lies not because it's in his interest. he lies because it's in his nature." It was in Jobs's nature to mislead or be secretive when he felt it was warranted. But he also indulged in being brutally honest at times, telling the truths that most of us sugarcoat or suppress. Both the dissembling and the truth-telling were simply different aspects of his Nietzschean attitude that ordinary rules didn't apply to him."
16- "For all of his willfulness and insatiable desire to control things. Jobs was indecisive and reticent when he felt unsure about something. He craved perfection, and he was not always good at figuring out how to settle for something less. He did not like to wrestle with complexity or make accommodations. This was true in products, design, and furnishings for the house. It was also true when it came to personal for the house. It was also true when it came to personal commitments. If he knew for sure a course of action was right. he was unstoppable. But if he had doubts, he sometimes withdrew, preferring not to think about things that did not perfectly suit him."
17- "Ever since he left the apple commune, Jobs had defined himself and by extension Apple, as a child of the counterculture. In ads such as "Think Different" and "1984," he positioned the Apple brand so that it reaffirmed his own rebel streak, even after he became a billionaire, and it allowed other baby boomers and their kids to do the same. "From when I first met him as a young guy, he's had the greatest of the impact he wants his brand to have on people," said Clow. Very few other companies or corporate leaders—perhaps none— could have gotten away with the brilliant audacity of associating their brand with Gandhi, Einstein, Picasso, and the Dalai Lama. Jobs was able to encourage people to define themselves as anti-corporate, creative. innovative rebels simply by the computer they used. "Steve created the only lifestyle brand in the tech industry," Larry Ellison said. "There are cars people are proud to have—Porsche, Ferrari, Prius—because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product."
18- "One of his motivating passions was to build a lasting company. At age twelve, when he got a summer job at Hewlett-Packard, he learned that a properly run company could spawn innovation far more than any single creative individual. "I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company," he recalled. "The whole notion of how you build a company is fascinating. When I got the chance to come back to Apple, I realized that I would be useless without the company, and that's why I decided to stay and rebuild it."
19- "Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products. we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn't just a -visual style. It's not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. X involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it's manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential."
20- "Despite his autocratic nature—he never worshiped at the altar of consensus—Jobs worked hard to foster a culture of collaboration at Apple. Many companies pride themselves on having few meetings. Jobs had many."
21- ""From the earliest days at Apple, I realized that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software, we'd be out of business. If it weren't protected, there'd be no incentive for us to make new software or product designs. If protection of intellectual property begins to disappear, creative companies will disappear or never get Started. But there's a simpler reason: It's wrong to steal. It hurts other people. And it hurts your own character." He knew, however, that the best way to stop piracy—in fact the only way—was to offer an alternative that was more attractive than the brain-dead services that music companies were concocting."
22- "But Sony couldn't. It had pioneered portable music with the Walkman, it had a great record company, and it had a long history of making beautiful consumer devices. It had all of the assets to compete with Jobs's Strategy of integration of hardware, software, devices, and content sales. Why did it fail? Partly because it was a company, like AOL Time Warner that was organized into divisions (that word itself was ominous) with their own bottom lines; the goal of achieving synergy in such companies by prodding the divisions to work together was usually elusive. Jobs did not organize Apple into semi-autonomous divisions; he closely controlled all of his teams and pushed them to work as one cohesive and flexible company, with one profit-and-loss bottom fine. "We don't have 'divisions' with their own P&L," said Tim Cook. "We run one P&L for the company.""
23- "Despite being- a denizen of the digital world, or maybe because he knew all too well its isolating potential, Jobs was a strong believer in face-to-face meetings. "There's a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat," he said. "That's crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they're doing, you say 'Wow,' and soon you're cooking up all sorts of ideas." So he had the Pixar building- designed to promote encounters and unplanned collaborations. "If a building doesn't encourage that, you'll lose a lot of innovation and the magic that's sparked by serendipity," he said. "So we designed the building to make people get out of their offices and mingle in the central atrium with people they might not otherwise see.""
24- "Jobs insisted that Apple focus on just two or three priorities at a time. "There is no one better at turning off the noise that is going on around him," Cook said. "That allows him to focus on a few things and say no to many things. Few people are really good at that." In order to institutionalize the lessons that he and his team were learning. Jobs started an in-house center called Apple University. He hired Joel Podolny, who was dean of the Yale School of Management, to compile a series of case studies analyzing important decisions the company had made, including the switch to the Intel microprocessor and the decision to open the Apple Stores. Top executives spent time teaching the cases to new employees, so that the Apple style of decision making would be embedded in the culture."
25- ""Steve has a particular way that he wants to run Apple, and it's the same as it was twenty years ago, which is that Apple is a brilliant innovator of closed systems." Schmidt later told me. "They don't want people to be on their platform without permission. The benefits of a closed platform is control. But Google has a specific belief that open is the better approach, because it leads to more options and competition and consumer choice.""
26- "The nasty edge to his personality was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him. But it did, at times, serve a purpose. Polite and velvety leaders, who take care to avoid bruising others, are generally not as effective at forcing change. Dozens of the colleagues whom Jobs most abused ended their litany of horror stories by saying that he got them to do things they never dreamed possible. And he created a corporation crammed with A players."
27- "The saga of Steve Jobs is the Silicon Valley creation myth writ large: launching a start-up in his parents' garage and building it into the world's most valuable company. He didn't invent many things outright. but he was a master at putting together ideas, art, and technology in ways that invented the feature. He designed the Mac after appreciating the power of graphical interfaces in a way that Xerox was unable to do. and he created the iPod after grasping the joy of having a thousand in your pocket in a way that Sony, which had all the assets and heritage, never could accomplish. Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture. Others do so by mastering details. Jobs did both, relentlessly. As a result he launched a series of products over three decades that transformed whole industries..."
28- "Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. He was, indeed, an example of what the mathematician Mark Kac called a magician genius, someone whose insights come out of the blue and require intuition more than mere mental processing power. Like a pathfinder, he could absorb information, sniff the winds, and sense what lay ahead. Steve Jobs thus became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world's most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now. the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology."
It would be 2009, five years later when Isaacson would be talking with Jobs' wife Laurene Powell and she would tell him that you really should write this book. The author would then receive a call that same year on New Year's Eve day from Jobs and once again the issue was raised. Finally, Jobs being persuasive told the author that he the writer would have complete editorial control. Jobs did not even want to read the draft when it was done. He would encourage all his associates, friends, and even those antagonistic to him to be completely candid and open with Isaacson. Ultimately the only objection Jobs would raise was to the photograph that the publisher came up with for the cover. In the end, Jobs got the cover he thought was more appropriate and who could begrudge him that.
If the reader has read any of the author's previous works dealing with Einstein, Ben Franklin, or Henry Kissinger, you will recognize that he is methodical, thorough, and very demanding in his choice of language, and what he presents as facts. In the case of Steve Jobs he conducted 40 interviews over 2 years, plus over 100 interactions with friends, adversaries, family members, and colleagues. The book bears witness to the thoroughness of the author's technique.
What the Book is Telling the Reader
This is very simply the story of a boy or was abandoned by his birth parents, raised by loving and caring adoptive parents, and went on in spite of the demons that accompanied him throughout his life to change the world on his own terms in a positive fashion. What a wonderful legacy to leave the world with. He demonstrated to humanity that regardless of how you come onto this planet, you can choose to have your own impact. You do not have to accept what is. Everything originates with an internalized idea or fantasy, and then from there it is the reader's choice as to whether to process it into a reality, and Jobs created many realities.
In every book, there is that one page, or paragraph, sometimes just a sentence or even a phrase that is MAGICAL, that makes the entire book worth reading. For some readers it will be in the title of Chapter 11, which is called The Reality Distortion Field. What Jobs has created in this tight short, but priceless phrase is that there is always reality, what truly is. In the minds however are prejudices or distortions, or sometimes delete other truths. What this means is that in the end, each reader, each inventory has their own version of reality. Although this individually created reality is not the reality that everyone shares, it is still reality to that individual person. This is the Reality Distortion Field, and it well might be the most amazing concept in the book and could well change your understanding of how to change your own world. The reader might consider reading Chapter 11 thoroughly.
After reading the book, the question arises whether there was anyone else like him past or present. In the last 100 years or so you have had other inventors like Thomas Edison, Nikolai Tesla, and more recently Edwin Land of Polaroid (the instant processing camera). When you read the Isaacson book, Jobs specifically mentions that Edwin Land was a childhood hero of his. What develops out of this is that even the masters have masters. It is understood that none of us do it alone. Steve Jobs shows us how to achieve something truly worthwhile, and his biography is a guidebook to the useful life. Like others who have stood On the Shoulders of Giants (OTSOG), Jobs took us to new heights as a civilization. Throughout the book is his continual embrace of the technology of the moment, combining it with art, humanity, and engineering prowess to bring about a whole new way of living and interacting while touching hundreds of millions of people and then the whole planet.
He did something so strange, so unique by re-inventing Apple after the success of the personal computer. Once a company leads a revolution as did Apple back in the 1980's, never, ever does the same corporation lead another revolution again. This is precisely what Steve Jobs did. He led several more business revolutions. Whether it was music, or movie pictures, or Tablet, even the cell phone, if he embraced the technology, he changed it, and by changing it he changed civilization and life on the planet. Just look at the six industries that the book points out that he revolutionized:
* Movies with PIXAR
* The Phone itself
* Tablet Computing
* Digital Publishing
* Retail Stores
All the time he is being driven by demons, by a past that haunts him, by a father that disavowed him, by business failures including betrayal by his handpicked CEO at Apple who then proceeds to force an unwilling Jobs out of Apple. In spite of the demons, the hardship, the failures, Jobs builds a life, an unbelievable life based on inventiveness, imagination, and sustained innovation or as he states in the book; he built my life around the intersection of science and the humanities. Many others have done this successfully in the last century, in their minds only. Only Jobs was able to bring these thoughts, dreams, and images into a physically reality with the creation of computers, phones, musical machines, and movies that revolutionized how the reader look at things, how people hear them, and feel them.
PIXAR is a case in point. As explained by Isaacson, George Lucas owned PIXAR. A potential divorce settlement forced Lucas to sell off a great deal of his ownership it to Jobs for $10 million, $5 million of which was for capital. Disney was offered the deal first, and walked away without even taking a real look. Jobs recognized the new reality of PIXAR immediately and wrote a check buying it for what amounted to peanuts.
Less than a decade later, Jobs would sell his ownership to Disney for billions of dollars, making perhaps 500 times on his investment to the same guys who passed the first time. This man was not motivated by money (even though he was an excellent businessman), but by creation, that is clear. The active process of invention is what moved him. In the book he says that Apple does no market research, for he creates for people what they want before they even realize what they want. They only realize it when they see it, after he has created it. How neat is that?
In the very beginning of the book in the Table of Contents, Isaacson demonstrates that he has put together a very special book. The author would give a title to each chapter that would be short and to the point, but then he would add a scripted phrase. As examples:
Chapter 1: Childhood: Abandoned and Chosen
Chapter 2: Odd Couple: The Two Steve's
Chapter 3: The Dropout: Turn On, Tune In
The chapter titles demonstrated so much thought and brilliance, and appropriateness for the topic covered that Isaacson demonstrates that he had spent enormous amounts of time covering every base, making sure that he had his subject down pat. In reading this book, the reader learns more than about the life of an extraordinary man, for there are many extraordinary men and women. You have the story of an entire revolution, the last 30 or 40 years of Silicon Valley are covered here. What made America the tech leader of the world, the envy of the earth is covered here? Focusing, and executing, and simply getting things done is covered here.
Perhaps more importantly than anything else, Jobs and this book is a testament to every human being's struggle to become. To fulfill the individual and unique destiny's each person has, regardless of how much time that person is allotted to fulfill them. In the case of Steve Jobs, it was much too short, but then there is still time for the rest of us. Thank you for reading this review, and do please give yourself the chance to read this remarkable book by a remarkable author about a man who gave his all, and then kept coming back to give more, profoundly shaping and reshaping the way humans think and act, and live our lives.
Top reviews from other countries
I recommend to read this, to those who love apple and Jobs but I insist to those who hate him. You will love him by the time you reach the end and wish there was more to read.
A surprising man for a surprising time.
Believed first and foremost in making great things before making money. Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are. The goal of starting a company is to make something you believe in and that will last, not to get rich. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - "less but better". To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. Design must reflect a product's essence. Good execution is as important as a great idea. A-players like to work together, not tolerate B-players. You can't afford to tolerate the B-players. Even the aspects that remain hidden should be done beautifully - a great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet just because it isn't seen (how many CEO's behave like that as opposed to finding cost-cuts?). Don't accept "no" for an answer, even if it means adopting a "reality distortion field". Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint. If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say "we'll fix it later" - that's what other companies do! Motivations really matter - if you don't love music, don't create a music product. The best way to begin a speech is to say "let me tell you a story", because nobody wants a lecture. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose: memento mori. "Here's to the crazy ones".
Like he did with Franklin and Einstein, Isaacson has done a masterful job of weaving the myriad, intertwining threads of a lifetime into a cohesive and coherent narrative. I can only begin to fathom the colossal amount of work that went into organising the contents of 40+ interviews into robust prose such as this.
Steve Jobs was a complicated, conflicted, genius, he was an abusive, unpredictable, visionary pioneer. Narcissistic and egotistical, but also determined and passionate about moving humanity forward. In brief, Jobs was a lot of things.
Prior to my reading this book, I did not fully grasp the degree to which Jobs and his company revolutionised so many industries, ranging from personal computers to music to tablets and software.
Coming out of this book, I'm still uncertain as to whether I should view Steve as flawed hero or a likeable villain -- but perhaps the hallmark of a truly great biography is that it conveys the true depth of every individual, one which surpasses unidimensional categories and value judgements.
Massive, massive recommend from me!
After reading this book, I am full of admiration for the genius of this man and the incredible legacy he has left behind for us all. I was fortunate, in that we chose it for our Self Development bookclub, and were therefore able to stretch it over 5 sessions. It allowed us to do justice to the book.