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I'm not a fan of all of the approaches that Apple take to their products, but I do greatly appreciate and respect what they do well, and there's an awful lot they do exceptionally well.
With that proviso I found this book excellent and informative, I learnt things that I wasn't aware with regard to the links between Jobs / Wozniak and the early days of computing in the home, that I grew up with as a child. I also gained a great insight into the incredible attention to detail that has been part of everything Jobs has been involved in.
Jobs' utter dedication to perfection and driving those around him to achieve great things is brilliant, but is balanced by a character that, during his work life at least, has almost no empathy for others around him.
It's very much a warts 'n' all book in that sense, but the passion that Jobs and those that he surrounded himself with brought to their product design is inspiring to read, and leaves the reader wondering whether Apple would be what it is today if he'd been a little more sympathetic. I'm also left wondering whether the Apple he leaves behind will continue to create the new markets that now exist simply because of products Apple created, or improved, way beyond what others had done before.
The other sections of teh book are equally engaging, especially the sections about his time with Pixar where Jobs' more human side seems to come through and the genius of those around him is given more visibility.
I'm left with a view of a (literally) fatally flawed genius, whose passion drove some amazingly skilled people to do great things, but whose personality I dislike as much as I appreciate the products he helped to create.
34 of 34 people found this review helpful
The best audiobook (and book) I've ever heard (or read). Insightful and well written Jobs led a very colourful life and for those interested in business you'll learn more by listening to this book than you will from the equivalent time in lectures at business school (though I'd probably ignore anything to do with human resource management from the school of Jobs!)
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
At the end of this book Isaacson gives us some new information, especially relating to Job's family. This was great and makes the book worth the price.
But be clear that stuff up until 1985 is far better covered in the books Isaacson has taken the stories from (sometimes distorting them in the process).
Revolution in the Valley
Return to the Little Kingdom
for the source material of these stories.
Isaacson seems to lack the knowledge of the technical aspects and the curiosity to ask people who do know to tell the wheat from the chaff in these early stories. He will present stuff that doesn't matter and trim away stuff that does. If the only source you have for these stories is Isaacson's book you will have a distorted, and sometimes false, impression of what happened.
Now I suspect Isaacson would say he was interested in the man and the life lived and not so much these technical details. That's, in fact what I expected this book to be about with most of this tech stuff skimmed over. But Isaacson chooses to put in a substantial amount of details where he clearly doesn't know what they mean in themselves and fails to examine usefully what they tell us about the life being examined.
I don't want to give the impression this is a bad book. It is not. It is fine. But it is flawed in several ways because Isaacson seems to be disinterested in the tech and disinterested in examining what the tech means.
This could have been a better book if it was more about the man and floated past some of the tech bits that are inexact retellings of stories that Andy Hertzfeld and others have told better and, in my opinion, used better to paint what the man was like in his 20s.
I think Isaacson did not make the best use if the fact the he was given the power of 'exclusive'. As others have said, just as Steve chose the wrong guy for Apple when he chose Scully he chose the wrong guy for this book when he chose Isaacson. So many other people who had the writing skills aligned with a passionate interest in the subject could have done more with this unique opportunity. Isaacson's approach is solid, professional but pedestrian and uninspired given the amazing power he was given.
Anyway, get the book, it's well done an easily worth the money, However, do be careful about quoting too much of the details to those who are better informed on the subject because the list of corrections of technical fact and/or context you may get will be tedious for all concerned.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
Firstly, I don't really understand the complaints about the reader. I thought he was fine.
This is a great book, very timely and obviously one of Steve Jobs last works with him commissioning it so that his story would be told, warts and all. I couldn't put it down.
It so sad to think that we hoped Steve Jobs would show up for the announcement of the iPhone 4S when he was in fact so close to death. The book details the back story behind the releases of the iPhone and iPad and you get the impression that Jobs put all of his strength into them once he knew that his time was limited. The impending tragedy of his early death in some way contributed to some of his greatest achievements.
Only being a recent Mac convert, much of the early history was new to me. I probably disliked Steve Jobs and Bill Gates equally throughout the 90s but my impressions of them changed throughout the book. I really have a much greater respect for Bill Gates as a result of the character that is revealed in the book. I feel I have understood what Steve Jobs was about and what he was trying to achieve. Steve Wozniak comes across as the wonderful Tom Bombadill character that we know and love.
It' s hard to summarize what I feel about Steve Jobs. So much to admire, but such a flawed character. Very thought provoking story.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful