Friday, October 28, 2011

Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson [Kindle Edition]

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs [Kindle Edition]
By Walter Isaacson

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Average customer review:
(114 customer reviews)

Product Description

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING BIOGRAPHIES OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND ALBERT EINSTEIN, THIS IS THE EXCLUSIVE BIOGRAPHY OF STEVE JOBS.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.  

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple's hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2011-10-24
  • Released on: 2011-10-23
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and of Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

127 of 145 people found the following review helpful.
5Story of the man who put a dent in the universe. Well worth reading.
By Dr. Chuck Chakrapani
Steve Jobs wanted to change the world, "put a dent in the universe." And he did. If you are interested in life and want to know how Jobs changed it right before our eyes, you should read this book.

No other book on Jobs has been based on first hand information from the Master himself, his colleagues and his detractors. There is no other way to know the man who changed the way we live and work. The fact that the book is engaging is a big bonus.

First Jobs' personal life, personality and beliefs. Like all fascinating people in history, Jobs was a bundle of contradictions. Born out of wedlock, he was an American icon and yet born of a Syrian Muslim whom he never knew, but had accidentally met. Adopted at birth by working class parents, he became skeptical of the Church as the all-knowing god did not help the starving children in Biafra and alternated between being a believer and a non-believer. He was, at different times, a vegan and a fruitarian (hence the name Apple). Jobs was influenced by the counter cultural ideas of the 60's and the 70's and yet become one of the most revered corporate figures of all time. He was a multi-billionaire who lived on a regular street with no high fenced compound, security or live-in servants; a Zen Buddhist who was obsessed with Zen-like simplicity but did not possess Zen-like tranquility; a son who tried to abandon his child like the way he had thought he was abandoned; a leader who was highly demanding of his colleagues and coworkers; a vastly influential figure in computing who neither built computers not wrote codes himself; a genius who was mean to many people. All these factoids had to have some influence on who he was and who he became and may keep interested psychologists busy for years. Yet, it is not for these tabloid fodder that he is looked upon with awe. To get caught up in the contradictions of a man is to miss the man.

So who is the man then? Isaacson presents Jobs life and work as a play in three acts.

During the first act, two unlikely partners named Steves (Jobs and Woz) create the world's first commercially viable personal computer, Apple II. Jobs then creates the revolutionary but unsuccessful Lisa. Apple goes public, Jobs creates the Mac, which carves itself a distinct niche. He then brings in Pepsi's Scully to manage the company only to find himself ousted from the company he founded. During his exile Jobs creates another revolutionary but not-so-successful computer NeXT. But Jobs other venture, Pixar, an outstanding animation company, is a huge commercial success.

The second act is Jobs' return to Apple. Apple was in decline and it buys the money losing NeXT. Job returns to the company he founded as the interim CEO. Introduces a series of products: peppermint colored iMacs followed b y 21st Century Macs.

The third act is the post-pc revolution, the most dramatic of all: the creation of ipod (almost 10 years ago to the day), paradigm-changing iphone and the category-creating ipad, along with many other things and cloud computing. We can't imagine a world today without ipads, ipods and iphones. The rewards are high. Apple first surpasses Microsoft and becomes the most valuable tech company. Then Apple becomes, for brief periods of time, the most valuable company in the world.

But this is not the story of Apple, but of Job. What was happening in the background while the three act play is being staged - to his family, his health, his odd beliefs that might have cost him his life, and his relationships with other giants of technology - is the focus of this book. The story is told with many interesting anecdotes such as Bill Gates incredulously exclaiming "Do ALL of you live here?" when visiting for the first time Steve Jobs' modest house.

This is an "authorized biography" and I'm wary of "authorized" biographies. Always thought they were full-length PR pieces. This one is different. Jobs gave Isaacson complete freedom to write the book and Jobs didn't demand editorial control. He didn't even want to see the book before it was published. And it shows. You see Jobs as he was. Warts and all. This is Jobs' last gift to those of us who admired his vision of the world, but wondered about the essence of the man behind it all. Now we know.

As you finish reading Job's biography of nearly 600 pages, something strikes you as odd. Steve Jobs' death is not mentioned in the book. Not the date, not the time and not even the fact that he is no more. Strangely fascinating. Like the man himself.

210 of 262 people found the following review helpful.
3Adequate, but not excellent
By R. Bourne
This new, highly-anticipated bio is reasonably comprehensive in scope, but written in a plodding, subjectively fawning fashion that undercuts its impact. Mr. Isaacson doesn't hail from the technology world, and it shows; his feel for the real importance of Jobs' accomplishments is largely constrained to social impact (of the fuzzy, gee-whiz sort) rather than crucial areas of interface, functionality and convergence. Why do Apple's products really work? What impact will they have on how we interact with the digital world, tomorrow and after? Isaacson has no idea. All he seems to know is that 'simplicity' is good, and that 'design' is more than skin deep. And that the little things matter. Millions upon millions of people already know that; the opportunity missed here is to go deep on the subject, and unpack it. That doesn't happen here, because the writer is out of his element.

Apart from that, we learn that Jobs was basically an ass, and that he cried a lot when he didn't get his way. It's implied that he carried a narcissistic disorder, but that's never really explored -- to the book's detriment, as psychiatric context is pretty important to understand how a comprehensive tyrant could achieve so much, and improve the productivity and satisfaction of so many.

The book is also overlong -- a remarkable thing given the richness of the subject. It's written almost as a sequential fact-finding report, rather than as a truly insightful look at a man and his work. We come away with the impression that strong-willed CEOs can do what they want, as long as they make money for shareholders and impart a sense of accomplishment (however painfully won) to their underlings. Not exactly a revelation, but it takes more than 600 pages for Isaacson to drive the point home.

I'm glad we have this bio, but I suspect someone will come along and write a much better treatment of Jobs' life. For now, don't expect to learn any larger truths about Jobs and his world; just enjoy the anecdotes, and prepare to make your own conclusions about the book's fascinating subject.

111 of 141 people found the following review helpful.
5Kindle Version Well Executed
By Pete Dailey
Unlike so many books in the Kindle format, "Steve Jobs" loses absolutely nothing. The the jacket photos as well as the B&W photo section of SJ are bright and clear. Isaacson's color portrait is likewise tastefully sized. The links to book content as well as Simon & Shuster's web content are not intrusive. The lightly populated "book extras" with links to Shelfari.com and other SJ Kindle books is welcome. The Background Info section has a curious formatting error "Inside Steve's Brain (null)".

In a bit of irony, I chose the Kindle version over the iBook because Amazon provides a reader for my Mac.

http://astore.amazon.com/amazon-book-books-20/detail/B004W2UBYW

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