Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs
Last Christmas I had asked Santa for a Samsung smart phone. Apart from an ipod, I don't own any other Apple products and felt the brand is trying to make you buy all of their devices. Would I have wanted an iphone after reading the book?
I had ordered the English version of the book online, something I strongly recommend. The computer related terms are English words anyway and the author's style is straightforward and without the use of complicated sentences.
It took me a couple of weeks to read through the 600 pages of the book. It is like reading a drama: somehow I was waiting to read about all the products we are so familiar with now: the ipod, iphone and ipad. Once the book reached these chapters, I slowed down a bit, as if a climax had been reached.
The book is amazing, probably the best biography I have ever read. The is partly due to the author and his style of writing, but mainly the life and personality of Steve Jobs is what makes that book stand out for me. I did not know much about Jobs before and was not too keen to find out about him either, but now I have started reading newspaper articles and watched old clips on Youtube about him and the Apple brand. The story is simply fascinating.
It all starts out in his garage and ends up in one of the biggest brands of our time. Jobs could achieve this by being the person he was. The last biography I read was about Picasso and it is amazing how similar they might have been. Genius on one side, cruel, manipulative and mean on the other side.
Jobs had asked Isaacson to write this book in 2004, probably aware that someone will write about him if he dies of cancer and by choosing Isaacson (former chairman and CEO of CNN, author of biographies of Einstein, Kissinger and Franklin) he made sure to have one of the best writing about him. This is the way he choose people he wanted to work with at Apple as well, he just calls up the person who he thinks is best for a certain job.
Jobs did not want any control over the book, fully aware that Isaacson will also write about how mean he could treat even his closest fiends. Over two years Isaacson collected the material, doing many interviews with Jobs and people close to him. The book covers his childhood, private life and his career.
What made a big impression on me:
Jobs attention (you could call it obsession) to detail in everything (food, clothes, architecture, design, presentations, advertising)
The way Jobs built his team (choosing the best, firing who is not good enough any more)
What surprised me:
Jobs deep love for Bob Dylan
What I missed:
I would have wished for more background information about what happened elsewhere at the time of the early computing since there was not only Apple. This is probably a lot to ask, since one book would not have been enough. I googled some people and companies Jobs had dealt with in order to find out more about them to complete the picture. To Isaacson's credit: all the big names seem to have a place in his book and a brief summary on what they were doing at the time (for example Bill Gates). Once I had finished the book there were no open questions, sometimes the author deals with a different person in a different chapter and you find out about it a little later in the book.
After all I can say: I am very happy with my smaller phone and the open strategy works for me.
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