Book Review – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Made Us All Feel Inadequate About Our Gadgets

Two weeks ago, I decided to take a break from my usual fantasy novels and picked up Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Because, why not? Everyone was raving about it. And by everyone, I mean the tech enthusiasts and wannabe entrepreneurs who think buying the book will magically transfer some of Jobs’ genius into their brains. Spoiler alert: it won’t. But it’s still an interesting read, and here’s why.

Steve Jobs was a visionary. He revolutionized multiple industries: personal computing, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Isaacson’s biography doesn’t just say this – it shouts it from the rooftops. The man could see the future and wasn’t afraid to drag the rest of us kicking and screaming into it.

Jobs had this magical ability to bend reality to his will. Isaacson calls it the “Reality Distortion Field.” I call it being an egotistical maniac with a god complex. But hey, it worked for him. Whether it was convincing Wozniak to work on a project for a fraction of its value or making employees believe they could achieve the impossible, Jobs had a knack for pushing people to their limits – and often beyond.

Let’s talk about Jobs’ infamous perfectionism. The guy was obsessed with detail. Every pixel, every curve, every shade of grey had to be perfect. Sounds admirable, right? Until you realize it meant berating and belittling his employees for the smallest of mistakes. The book gives us plenty of examples of Jobs’ explosive temper and relentless pursuit of excellence.

Isaacson doesn’t shy away from showing Jobs’ flaws. His relationship with his family, particularly his daughter Lisa, was complicated, to say the least. Abandonment issues, denial of paternity, and finally, an attempt at reconciliation – it’s all there. Jobs’ treatment of his family starkly contrasts with his professional life. The same guy who would obsess over the font on a screen could be utterly neglectful of his loved ones. Go figure.

The rise, fall, and rise again of Apple under Jobs is the stuff of legend. Isaacson captures this rollercoaster ride with all its ups and downs. From the humble beginnings in a garage to the massive success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, the book provides a detailed look at how Jobs’ vision (and stubbornness) shaped Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world.

One of the biggest myths Isaacson debunks is the idea of Jobs as a lone genius. Yes, Jobs was a visionary, but he didn’t do it all by himself. He had an incredible team at Apple and Pixar who helped bring his ideas to life. The book does a good job of highlighting the contributions of key figures like Steve Wozniak, Jonathan Ive, and Ed Catmull, reminding us that even the most brilliant minds need a little help from their friends.

Jobs’ leadership style was, to put it mildly, controversial. He was known for his intense focus, demanding nature, and a knack for getting what he wanted. Some called him a genius; others, a tyrant. Isaacson’s biography presents both sides, allowing readers to make up their own minds. Personally, I think he was a bit of both. A brilliant visionary who could also be a colossal pain in the a$&.

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Jobs’ impact on the world. From the sleek design of Apple products to the way we consume media, his influence is everywhere. Isaacson’s biography captures this legacy in all its complexity, providing a comprehensive look at a man who was anything but simple.

As for Isaacson’s writing. It’s thorough, well-researched, and packed with detail. But sometimes, it’s a bit too thorough. The book can feel dense and slow, especially if you’re not a die-hard Apple fan. There are times when you might find yourself skimming through the minutiae of corporate negotiations or product development. But if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll love it.

So, should you read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson? If you’re interested in the man behind the Mac, the myth of the iPhone, and the legend of Apple, then absolutely. It’s a fascinating look at a complex individual who changed the world. Just be prepared for a bumpy ride, because Steve Jobs was anything but smooth sailing.

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