Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson


by Barbara A. Topolosky (hoping4astory)

I’d always surmised that Steve Jobs was a difficult personality to deal with, but after reading his biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I realized I didn’t know the half of it. It was disappointing to learn Jobs was the ultimate control freak, and not that nice to people he considered inferior to him.

It was enough to make me want to sell my MacBook, and ipod and forget about buying a brand new iphone and ipad.

Why Jobs would want anyone to honestly document his life when he was such a spoiled, demanding person is difficult to fathom.

He gave free rein to Isaacson to write an objective biography and Isaacson delivered.

Life didn’t start out easily for Jobs. His biological mother put him up for adoption. Luckily, he was adopted by people who adored him and he developed a close relationship with his father who taught him about quality and craftsmanship.

After his parents sacrificed money so he could attend a pricey private university in Portland Oregon, Reed College, he doesn’t even allow them to accompany him on campus.

What is strange about Jobs is that he adopted Eastern Spirituality and identified with the Hippie Movement in the 60’s although he was hardly for ‘ peace, love, and happiness’―unless it benefited him.

Oddly enough he marketed brilliantly, and he motivated people to meet challenges and accomplish almost impossible goals. He used  and manipulated people. One day you were his best buddy, and the next were out the door.

He worked at an early age to perfect a stare to intimidate people. He insisted that a picture of his stare was on the cover of the book. (His only demand).

I almost wanted to cheer when he got thrown out of Apple. He didn’t  go without a fight.

He wasn’t completely malevolent. He seemed regretful about some of the people he hurt along the way.

His wife was devoted to him. His children respected and loved him. They understood why he didn’t spend a lot of  time with them.

I felt regretful when he didn’t get surgery when his cancer was first diagnosed. It seemed like his own arrogance ended his life prematurely. He wanted to use homeopathic means to control his cancer, but it didn’t work. He finally gave in to the surgery, but it was too late.

Jobs did create useful elegant products and was successful.  He co-founded Apple, and came up with one fantastic product after another. He put Pixar Studios on the map.  You wonder what great things he would’ve masterminded if he didn’t die an untimely death.

I recommend reading this book. You get the behind the scenes look at how Apple and Pixar evolved and the personalities involved. It is the story of a complicated genius.

Although the book is long, it does hold your interest, and is an easy read.

However, I am still wondering if I should ditch my computer.

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

  1. I started to read this book but am taking a break from it. Based on what I’ve read so far, and from what I’ve heard others say, I surmise that he may have been mentally ill and/or was on the autism spectrum. I would never give up my Apple products…I’ve been an Apple girl since the get-go and deciding now to “boycot” Apple products would only hurt me…not Steve Jobs!

  2. I believe this book reveals the inner workings of a brilliant mind. You can’t argue about Jobs’ talent to innovate. The author definitely didn’t hold back about all sides of Jobs and told his story with an even hand, exposing Jobs’ defects along with his aattphenomenal skill in getting the right people to execute his visions. He changed the world as much as Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. I would rather understand his motivations of a creative genius than have someone sugarcoat them.
    I found the book captivating to understand how his mind worked, and Isaacson did his homework thru interviews and researcihing his primary sources.

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