steve jobs by walter issacson

I have always been quite smitten by the design and aesthetic touch of Apple products. Naturally when the official biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson was in my hand, I was very curious to read more about the person who was behind all these great blockbuster products like iPod, iPhone and iPad. But the book left me with a few unpleasant  feelings.

Don’t get me wrong here when I say unpleasant feelings. There is nothing wrong in the book. In fact the author has done a remarkable job in the portrayal of the character of Steve Job. The narration is very gripping. Walter has cleverly quoted many people in the book which made the book engaging to read. It is one of the best biography I have read till date.

What disappointed me was the character of Steve Jobs. He has a very complex personality and a difficult person. One needs tons of caliber to handle a prickly and unpredictable person like Steve Jobs. No one doubts about the fact that Steve Jobs is a genius and has a great understanding of designs. He is greatly obsessed with the fact, to give exceptional user experience to the consumers which was one of the reason why Apple managed to produce such great products which no one in the industry has ever thought of.

As an individual, there are very few appreciator of his charismatic personality. This is so because Steve Jobs was an outright rude and ill-mannered. He has such volatile mood swings that he could end up giving tough time to anyone. People doesn’t have good words to say about Steve Jobs as a person and whoever comes in the touch would end up swallowing the bitter pills of his graceless and blunt behavior. None were immune from his callousness. He was straightforward without civility which is like surgeons knife effective but unpleasant.(Line taken from Autobiography Of A Yogi)

He is crazy about the products designs and had special place for electronic gadgets but not so much mellow feelings for the people around him. With the kind of personality he has, Steve Jobs is not fit to become a role model. Steve Jobs was a very sensitive person for his electronic devices but lacks empathy feelings for his fellow being. His ex girl friend Chrisann Brennan rightly sums up-“He was an enlightened being who was cruel.”

It is the biography of Steve Jobs but I end up admiring Stephen Wozniak who was the co founder of Apple and creator of Apple I and Apple II computers. Woz may lack the charismatic personality and salesmanship of Jobs but at the end of the day he was a better human being  and a person with a golden heart. He was a great engineer and Apple wouldn’t have been possible without him. He was very averse the way Steve Jobs used to handle co-workers but couldn’t do much to pacify Jobs behavior.

According to Walter, apart from producing the top notch products, Apple’s marketing strategy was also key to their success. There are three main points which are, as mentioned mentioned in the book, till date the pillars of Apple’s marketing strategy. They are “First was Empathy- an intimate connection with the feelings of the customers. Second was Focus- In order to do good job we must eliminate all the unimportant things. And Third was Impute- People do judge the book by its cover. We may have the best product, highest quality, the most useful software etc: if we present them in slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod. This was one of the reason Jobs was always obsessed with packaging of the product.

Walter has written the entire story about each and every product of Apple.  Right from the beginning of the germination of the idea, evolution of the idea, taking the shape of a product and other information related to it. Jobs was actively involved in each of the Apple’s product and the way he used to break all hell loose on his techies over minute designs and issues. Walter says that it was his ability to drive people hard and make them believe everything is possible to achieve enabled them to produce blockbuster products. Jobs has this prickly trait not to compromise products on time and budget and always to innovate is one of the reason for the success of the products.

I was fascinated to know that my all time favorite animation movie Toy Story was created by Pixar Movies which was owned by Steve Jobs. There is also great deal written about the movies released by Pixar in the collaboration with Disney. The showdown between Steve and Disney made an interesting read.

The Verdict:

Steve Jobs as a person might not be an inspiring figure but the his biography written by Walter Isaacson is brilliant. The author mention in the beginning itself that Jobs plays no upper hand and was given enough liberation and co-operation of Steve Jobs and rest to write the biography as he wished to. The book also has many pictures of Steve Jobs with his family and friends and other.

The author has portrayed all the traits of his personality and also tried to give an insight as well. The book has around 600 pages but each of them is worth a read. It is a must read biography of a Genius Asshole.

The last chapter of the book The Legacy was superb. Walter has brilliantly summed up Steve Jobs.


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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.

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