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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

I put off reading this book for what felt like a long time. I heard a lot of negative things about it from various podcasts and blogs when it first came out and I figured I would read it later. After awhile coworkers were referring to passages of the book and quoting it a lot, so I decided I finally needed to read it.

I got it as an audiobook from Audible narrated by Dylan Baker and it took me two weeks to listen to all 25 hours of it. Mister Baker did a great job narrating the book, I really enjoyed his performance.

Walter Isaacson had unprecedented access to Steve Jobs, his family, his friends, employees at Apple, and a lot of other people in Steve’s life. I don’t think any author has ever had that kind of access to a person like Jobs.

The details in the book are amazing, if you have an interest in the history of Apple and want to know much of its history, then this book is for you. If you are looking for a memoir, I don’t that will ever happen. Steve Jobs just wasn’t that kind of person. Maybe he didn’t have the type of personality that would let him share many of his real emotions. And maybe he just didn’t have the emotions and feelings that many people do.

There is so much in this book, I am still processing a lot of it.

At the moment my favorite insight from the book is about how Jobs used prototypes and mockups to determine what would work best. It was done with the iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple stores. I hope companies everywhere listen to that, quick prototypes put in front of users and decision makers early and often will save time and money and lead to better products every single time.

From the publisher:

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.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10, anyone interested in biographies, computer history, Apple Computer, or Steve Jobs will absolutely love this book.

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