- Hardcover: 656 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown (24 October 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781408703748
- ISBN-13: 978-1408703748
- ASIN: 1408703742
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 5.1 x 23.4 cm
- Customer Reviews: 6,477 customer ratings
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography (Old Edition) Hardcover – 24 October 2011
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I recommend to read this, to those who love apple and Jobs but I insist to those who hate him. You will love him by the time you reach the end and wish there was more to read.
I like the part which describes Steve’s Distortion Reality Field and simplicity is ultimate sophistication.
I recommend this book to the Apple product users. I am a big fan and used of most Apple product (and now became fan of Steve Jobs) while reading this book I could correlated all the sequence of event happened in Apple and how the great products were made.
Well written Walter.
This book goes through all the ups and downs of his social and professional life, covering all the intricacies involved during his lifetime which led to the birth of Apple as it is today. It also explains his reality distortion field which played a very crucial role in developing a remarkable user friendly products.
He revolutionized whole music, journalism and book publishing industries through the digitalization of music, magazines, books and news, which itself led to the creation of multibillion dollars app industry as we all see today.
He always believed in end-to-end control of right from the device design (which includes both hardware and user interface), raw materials used and manufacturing process to its marketing and sales of devices till it reaches hand of the users. He always strive to perfect every aspect of device even if the user didn't notice it.
All he cares about is perfection in everything he ever did or ever wanted to do, his creations has unambiguously pushed the human race forward.
Now talking about the book built and overview, then let me tell you that the pages quality is low but won't tear away even after a rugged use. Yes, the paperback is of a low quality then a usual quality in other books, but it is still ok for me (but not necessarily the same in your case). Overall I found the book a perfect reader's choice for everyone. So, just move ahead of the cons and focus on the ultimate pro that is inscribed in the book.
The book is divided in two parts - Page 1 to 300 covers Steve's early life, battles, tantrums, courting & appointment of Sculley, Steve being removed, and joining Pixar. This is all rather drab and widely available information in print & web so nothing new. Its slow going and I kept the book down several times as the slow pace wore me out.
However, page 300 onward when Steve returns to Apple is when the book makes up for the first half. A - we understand the motivation for the 'i' series of products, B - we understand his need for simplicity, and C - we understand his micro managing every function to the nth degree. Steve drew his inspiration from several sources and all of them converged on the customer as the focal point. Simplicity came from purity or his definition of practical issues that a customer would face and how to solve them. Micro management is important and some people may say its a bad thing however when your vision runs several years ahead, you have to micro manage to get the best out of people and also for them to realize that they can achieve it. It's part of the process to make things better for everyone.
Apple is a great consumer product company and despite the naysayers, it has been built to last. The innovativeness that people predicted will die with Steve just has not happened and nor will it ever as long as the culture of innovation continues at Apple. 3M had an innovative culture and when James McNerney brought in processes to manage innovation, 3M became a laggard. Once the CEO changed and the innovation culture was reignited, 3M is back and doing extremely well. Same is the case with Apple.
They will continue with Innovation, Simplicity, Customer Delight, and make products that create a burning desire to own them.
Top international reviews
Steve Jobs was one crazy guy. He was into spirituality, but he didn't seem to be spiritual at all really. In a weird way he spiritualised products while denigrating fellow human beings. He served humanity by making elegant technology, not by maintaining healthy relationships with those around him.
From a business perspective, it was inspiring to read about his commitment to the vision: the passion for simplicity. The founding of the Apple store, the drive and courage to produce the iPod, iPad and iPhone, the stories are powerful and uplifting . Indeed the story is a big part of his business success - Ross Perot paraphrased it and got a lot of it wrong, but people wanted to retell it because it inspired people.
His genius for selling manifested at his product launches. He was at ease making multi-million dollar deals. He didn't try and play God - there were loads of people who felt cheated by him, but he wasn't bothered. The Pixar subplot was astonishing. To have played such a role in animation, on top of everything else, was just incredible.
But as a human being, he was an untreated compulsive. He was insanely fussy in his demands of Apple technologists, but he showed the same attitude to the people who cooked for him, or treated him for his illness.
I loved the book and read it in a week. I feel I need to have a bigger vision for my life and business for the next 10 years - so I'm grateful for that.
Believed first and foremost in making great things before making money. Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are. The goal of starting a company is to make something you believe in and that will last, not to get rich. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - "less but better". To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. Design must reflect a product's essence. Good execution is as important as a great idea. A-players like to work together, not tolerate B-players. You can't afford to tolerate the B-players. Even the aspects that remain hidden should be done beautifully - a great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet just because it isn't seen (how many CEO's behave like that as opposed to finding cost-cuts?). Don't accept "no" for an answer, even if it means adopting a "reality distortion field". Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint. If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say "we'll fix it later" - that's what other companies do! Motivations really matter - if you don't love music, don't create a music product. The best way to begin a speech is to say "let me tell you a story", because nobody wants a lecture. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose: memento mori. "Here's to the crazy ones".
After reading this book, I am full of admiration for the genius of this man and the incredible legacy he has left behind for us all. I was fortunate, in that we chose it for our Self Development bookclub, and were therefore able to stretch it over 5 sessions. It allowed us to do justice to the book.
A surprising man for a surprising time.
What shines through is Jobs’ unique personality which enabled him to achieve great things, namely ground breaking digital products combined with ground breaking designs with an emphasis on purity and simplicity. Uniquely Jobs worked at the interface of art and technology.
Oh, and did I fail to mention that he also, and at the same time! developed a world-class animation film company that slapped Disney around the face.
Now of course Jobs did not achieve all of these single-handedly he made great partnerships and then selected A players to be on his team. Jobs’ uniqueness is the way that he brought out the best of people’s abilities; he regularly made them go further than they thought they as people could go and that it was possible to go period. How he did this is not particularly pretty with a combination of staring, timed silences and simply telling somebody that what they had produced what s**t and that they could do a whole load better. Jobs’ world was black or white, something was either great or s**t and his opinion on a person or their work could vacillate between the two within the space of one working day! He said it like it was and regarded it as his job to do this.
He must have been a boss from hell but yet so great was his enthusiasm and so great was the product that was being developed that people stepped up to the plate to deliver. Their job satisfaction was in the delivery and getting that final ounce of praise, even if on occasion Jobs’ took all of the credit.
He was also a charismatic and fearless negotiator who would charm and bully the necessary people to get the best deal.
By him not shilly-shallying around and taking people’s feelings into account and being fearless he was able to achieve greatness.
Jobs’ attention to finite detail and laser-like focus was such that he would not baulk from going to a major re-design, just weeks away from the launch of a product. Design meant everything to him.
His laser-like focus enabled him to block out of his life things that he did not want to deal with. Most notably this occurred in his personal life when he was deciding whether to marry Laurenne Powel, or, most dramatically his own health. We’ll never know whether if Jobs had had the surgery on his pancreas when his doctors first advised him to have it, he would still be here continuing to develop great products.
The last one hundred pages left me with a heavy heart. It is within these pages that Jobs’ battle with cancer is recounted. I found myself willing him to beat the cancer, whilst knowing that he was already dead. His passing is a great loss because of the uniqueness that I have described above, namely the dove-tailing of art and technology.
So even if you’re a non-techy you will still enjoy this book. I highly commend it to you.
First of all, I think Walter Isaacson did a great job putting this together. I covers all the major aspects of Steve's life and as much as I can tell, it's a fairly objective presentation of the man as he really was. I am a big fan of Apple and have been since the mid nineties. That said, one of my great frustrations is when people in business talk about the need to be "more like Apple", as if it's a tangible choice. It's like saying to win the 100 metres at the Olympics, you just need to run like Usain Bolt - it's not untrue but it's not especially helpful. In my view the book gave some insight into what made Steve Jobs and Apple successful and it also illustrated some of the behaviors that nearly destroyed Apple, many of them manifested personally by Steve Jobs. I find myself asking if you can reach the highest heights in business without burning bridges as you go. It always takes me back to Bernard Shaw..."The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man." To be the "unreasonable man" (and Steve Jobs could clearly be unreasonable), is an easy enough strategy to take. However, success depends on so much more than choosing to be unreasonable by itself and for many of us perhaps it's a sure fire strategy to achieving less.
So if you have an interest in Apple, Steve Jobs, innovation or building business, this book will definitely have something in it for you!
The books provides an intriguing and fascinating insight into Jobs' life, from birth right through to the terminal cancer that riddled his body. At first, the book seems well-balanced and impartial, but the more I read, the more I felt Isaacson was at the mercy of Jobs' reality distortion field. And by this I mean that while the book was meant to be balanced, it's ended up skewed strongly in favour of Jobs. The people Isaacson interviewed were happy to discuss the times when they were in direct conflict with Jobs, but it was always followed by "but, he was a genius" or "but, that's Steve" - as if they were absolving Jobs of any blame. I'm not sure when they were interviewed, but towards the end of the book, I felt that they knew Jobs' condition was terminal and that it would be wrong to say anything negative about him.
I was hoping Jony Ive and the Apple board would have had more exposure in the book (more quotes and interviews), but that's not been the case - it was almost a family and they wouldn't have said anything. It would also have helped if there were interviews with people who didn't get along with Jobs. Hence, I feel the book is heavily skewed in Jobs' favour - despite the promise of being impartial. It also felt like the book was rushed at the end. Jobs' death isn't covered, rather the final chapter provides a summary of all the great things he did - which I didn't really need to go over again. There's no sense of what will happen at Apple with his death, and the impact it's had on family, friends etc. Indeed, the last third of the book glosses over many details and doesn't seem as well-researched as first two thirds - and I say this in the sense that the quotes and interviews got few and far between, and there was more filler text than new material. Isaacson must be praised for exploring Jobs' relationship with his family and colleagues, and in particular his children, those closest to him at Apple, and the Pixar team, but I think the book is let down towards the end.
If you're into technology, business, or biographies, then this should be in your collection. If you're a business leader looking for management tips and how to lead a company, then you won't find them in here. For me, when I've read biographies, I've come away feeling inspired - in this instance I came away feeling admiration for what Jobs achieved rather than inspiration.
1) I was slightly surprised to learn about him as a person. Sharp contrasts, slightly eccentric and quite difficult for his co-workers and family. A stubborn man, lots of energy and sharp as a knife
2) I would have liked to read a little bit more about his professional style. The storyteller puts emphasis on what he did, and where he did it, but not so much how he worked and pushed himself to great highs. Interesting is him Monday morning meeting and his approach to some of the big deals he made.
3) His philosophy is well laid-out: Integrated hardware and software, the importance of design and his obsession with the quality, even on parts hidden from the public eye.
4) The companies he created (Apple, Next, Pixar). Quite an impressive track record.
5) And of course the inventions Apple made. Not only through its devices but also the impact it had on whole industries such as the music business and the online book business. The Mac home computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Four insanely beautiful and successful inventions. Some companies would die to have one miracle hit like that. Steve and his people created four!
Makes one wonder where he would have gone had he not died. Overall a pretty good overview of his career although I might have appreciated more attention to the business side of Jobs instead of his obsession with food and Zen.
The story of Steve Jobs and Apple is an mind-boggling spectacular one, and for the extraordinary insight into the man and the company this book is superb. Jobs was, in many ways, a monstrous personality, prone to extreme bullying, abuse and ludicrously unreasonable behaviour. And yet clearly he possessed a magic and a charisma that not only drew people, despite those traits, to him, but inspired profound loyalty and indeed affection.
On those terms, I really enjoyed the book, and I'd definitely recommend to anybody business or entrepreneurially minded, and more generally if you're interested in technology, or just flawed humanity.
All that being said, as a general read I found it plodding and dull, with extremely pedestrian and flat prose. Jobs was a mysterious, almost mystical, figure in many ways, and the absence of even the tiniest element of poetry from the writing loses something, I think. This happened, that happened, he said this, they said that, they met here, he went there. Dull dull dull.
Still, the writing wasn't by any means enough to put me off, and it certainly doesn't get in the way, it just doesn't add anything beyond the factual representations.
All told, definitely recommended for an insight into one of the worlds most extraordinary businessmen.
Writing his story is therefor something most biographers would dream of. The opportunity to tell such a tale comes once a generation.
So I was surprised to discover that the angle Isaacson took was to emphasise again and again and again and again the perceived character flaws of the greatest innovator of our time.
It was as if the author expected this man to be just like the rest of us and was shocked to the core to discover a person who was very different to the typical man.
But of course that's the point. A typical man barely scratches the surface of his full potential. He is bound by social norms, constrained by his desire to be accepted and liked and tempered by his need to balance his life.
A typical man doesn't build an Apple or a Pixar. He reads about it and dreams of what it would be like to flush out his constraints and let loose on the world.
So like most typical men, I was shocked to read this biography. Rather than celebrate the quirks, the drive, the temper, the demands, the fight, the spark, the seething, the aggression and the torment, Steve Jobs is constantly present as deeply flawed.
Almost every page seems to beg the reader to imagine how successful Steve would have been had he been kinder, more nice, more caring, more softly spoken, less opinionated, less focused, less uncompromising.
But I don't buy it. It was his "flaws" that made the guy so damn good. If you throw them away you can throw away the rest as well.
After reading "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell I'd come to believe that guys like Steve Jobs were mostly successful because they were born in the right time at the right place, had the right lucky breaks and then did the work.
Much of that is true but what this book shows is that Steve Jobs added a whole new dimension because he was willing to fight a big fight for his vision and for every detail along the way. Any other person with normal inclinations would have backed down over 1000 of the things Steve stood for and the edge would be lost.
I'm grateful to the author (and the Jobs/Powell family) for the opportunity to read about his life but I must say I would have told the tale with a different emphasis. With such a rich story as inspiration I wouldn't focus so much scrutiny on Steve Jobs as flawed character who lacked the ability to fit in.
I would have liked a more celebratory tone that called on me to be a bit more of a misfit and a rebel. After all, when it comes to a guy like Steve Jobs you can quote him, disagree with him, glorify or vilify him. About the only thing you can't do is ignore him because he changed things.
Jobs' somewhat strange personal behaviour was something I did not know about until I read this book and overall I felt the Author has produced an excellent, comprehensive and well rounded portrait of a man whose influence on our lives still reverberates years after his death and in all probability will continue to do so for many years to come.
This book is very insightful about the person who has been an enigma of sorts throughout his life. It has great details about his life both from his perspective and from people who knew him at various stages of his life. I like this book as this is the only book that Steve himself contributed to. I mean there are personal questions asked and answers given by Steve. Now, whether those answers are 100% genuine or not is not a point of discussion here. Who is to know. We can only form an image based on what other contributors had to say about questions that were put to both Steve and them. I have read this book once and listened to it in audiobook format couple of times and for some reason the book keeps be hooked. A great book about a great guy who changed the world
Why did I choose the rating?
A Great book about a great guy who genuinely made a difference to the world.
Who would I recommend the product to?
Anyone who cares to know about the real Steve Jobs