Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson
2010 / 627 pages
Rating 10

This is really an amazing book!  I accidentally bought it months ago when it was still a new release and rather than return it,  I kept it even though I’m not even fond of hard cover books anymore.   It sat on my tbr shelf – and sat – and sat.  I  just wasn’t all that keen about reading about how bad Steve Jobs was right after his death.

So this past week I found myself between books and started in on ye olde tbr pile.   I finished Women’s Diaries which was pretty good and then a current interest with some literary criticism on Doctor Zhivago.  Then I cracked the Isaacson book thinking I’d read a couple chapters and put it away.

Wrong!

I was almost immediately sucked into a well written,  hugely informative narrative.  About 200 pages later I came up for air.  The story is good and  Isaacson does very, very well with it.  It’s quite even-handed imo,  Jobs gets a whole lot of blame – but he’s never “trashed”  and he’s also given due credit. I knew a fair amount about Jobs and his childhood – to the set-up of Apple.  I know and truly love my Mac and other devices (I’ve been a fan since 1996).   I’d read a bit about his behavior and antics and I also knew some about his family life – his daughter and natural parents, his wife.

But the best parts have been the enormous amount of stuff I didn’t know – how much Gates and Jobs communicated,  how bad Jobs was,  how good Jobs was,  how he finally got kicked out of Apple, his girlfriends.  I knew the bare outlines – this book contains the substance.

So now,  and this is before I’m even really finished with the Jobs book,  I want a similar book about Bill Gates or more books by Isaacson.   It’s that good.

A major theme seems to be that Jobs’ creativity worked at the intersection of aesthetics and technology along with the demand for end-to-end control.  This is underscored many times in the book – from his refusal to shop his OS around to his involvement in every aspect of the developmental process.

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