After 5 years interviewing and writing magazine articles on artists, mostly in the fashion world, I have been feeling the need to stretch myself by attempting to write a full biography. It's a yearning that keeps growing and I have been talking with several possible candidates about giving it a go. Mostly likely this is a commitment of a couple years, so it's a daunting prospect.
With that in mind I decided it would be a good idea to start reading more books of this type. I labored for a long time over whether to read the Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson as I was never a big Apple fan, but after doing a bit a research I decided to give it a go. MAJOR kudos to Walter Isaacson. There were tons of interviews, different projects and historical time lines to organize and he managed to do it in away that I didn't get lost. I am seriously impressed. As well, a round of applause for Steve Jobs and wife Laurene Powell for giving the writer full freedom to write an open and honest book and not read it before publication. That takes courage.
|Author Walter Isaacson
"Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues--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."
|Co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
Jobs was obsessive and wanted to control every little detail. Sometimes this made for a hugely successful product and other times it stood in his way. It also caused him to be cruel with anyone he felt was not brilliant (in his definition). I used to be really annoyed at the inability of the average person to be able to change the battery on an i-Phone. While it still bugs me, I now understand his reasoning behind this choice. There are other many small details in his devices you probably don't even notice that make them easier to pick up, handle or use that came about because of his compulsive need for perfection. He also had some resounding failures along the way because of his single-mindedness.
The book is also a historical timeline of the birth and path of so many technological innovations and companies. I learned about Microsoft, Apple, Pixar, Sony, Disney and more. It came as a real surprise that it was under his leadership that Pixar gained the status it has today. The story of how and why Jobs came to create the i-Pod is there - including how the music company handed it to him on a silver platter - as well as the i-Pad, another ground-breaking achievement.
Lastly the book offered insight into Steve Jobs as a brilliant but flawed human being. While he was devoted to Buddhism, ate a strict vegetarian diet - sometimes an over obsession that was worrysome - and always had the consumer in mind when developing products, he lacked a basic compassion and true kindness in his dealings with friends, family, co-workers and employees. He could encourage them, drive them, destroy them and warp their world around to meet his expectations.
|The Journey of Apple 1976 - 2007