Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Jun 25, 2012

In his book, Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson provides a fascinating fly-on-the-wall view of many of the defining moments in Steve Jobs life.  The author thoroughly researched his subject, conducting 40 in-depth interviews with Jobs and interviewing over a hundred people who were associated with Jobs – family, friends, colleagues, and peers.  From these many pieces of information, Isaacson has masterfully woven a detailed account of a person who was highly successful and deeply flawed.   The book, with Notes and Index is 630 pages long; the CD audio book consists of 20 disks.

Isaacson brings Jobs to life for the reader by reconstructing hundreds of private conversations.  He identifies ‘threads’ that ran through Job’s life that influenced his decisions and actions.  (For example, his obsession with control manifested itself in the closed design of the products he created and Apple’s vertical integration model of controlling every aspect of the product from the design to the sale of the products in Apple stores.)  The author draws comparisons and contrasts between Jobs and the other “technological wunderkind” who was born in the same year, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. (While each sometimes openly scoffed at the other’s philosophies and products, they seemed to have a begrudging admiration and respect for the other.)

Since Jobs’ life paralleled the development of personal technology devices, this biography also provides an account of the history of personal technology – from personal computers to cell phones to tablets.  I would especially recommend this book for those with an interest in technology and/or organizational leadership.

Reviewed by Marty J.
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