The book STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson

I received the book STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson as a Christmas gift and inhaled the 600-page tome in a week.  It’s an easy read, something I always appreciate.  I found it intriguing, inspiring, insightful and I highly recommend it.

Jobs was the mercurial co-founder and intermittently long-term CEO of Apple Computer, the company that has produced Apple, Macintosh, and iMac computers as well as iPhones, iPods and iPads.  The book is Jobs’ authorized but not interfered-with biography.  (No small feat.)  Jobs knew he was dying and wanted his story told.  (He passed away Oct. 5, 2011 at age 56.)

I’m a retired computer person and worked with the Microsoft Windows environment for over 20 years.  I’ve been a convert to Apple for the last 18 months.  (Macbook Pro laptop, iPhone4, and iPad2.)  I think anyone with even a mild interest in computers, modern technology, innovation and design, and/or modern corporations would like this book.

Steve Jobs was a supreme butthead.  The book more prevalently quotes the word a**hole.  He may have been bi-polar, though that is only mentioned once.  He was emotionally fragile and subject to extreme mood swings throughout his life.  He claimed co-workers ideas as his own.  He was beyond rude to nearly everyone.  I never would have been good enough to work for him or strong enough to last if I did.  I find little to admire about him other than his PERSISTENCE, his REFUSAL TO ACCEPT NO for an answer, and his insistence on SURROUNDING HIMSELF WITH “A” PLAYERS.  This appears to have led to more successes than failures.

Apple succeeded in spite of him and would definitely have failed without him IMO.  It was a rocky road that could have gone either way.  The book is as much a history of Apple as of Jobs.  It offers fascinating insights into corporate executive interactions.  It also discusses the closed/total system environment of Apple (hardware/software, relatively ‘sealed’ and Apple-controlled) versus the open PC system of Microsoft and multiple hardware vendors.

The story flows well and is thorough, although I felt it didn’t reveal enough of the personal side of Steve Jobs (other than the revealing contents of his iPod).  Yes, he was into Zen Buddhism and extreme vegan diets, but what did he read?  What did he do in whatever spare time he had?  What does a CEO do when he’s not yelling and screaming at people?!?  Though the book is chronological a minor complaint I had was that events would jump around a bit and I often was looking back to see what year was being discussed.  Regardless it’s a gripping, informative book on many levels.  Five out of five stars.  One of the very best books I’ve read in some time.  READ IT!

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