Walter Isaacson Biography of Steve Jobs

  • October 25, 2011
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Walter Isaacson Biography of Steve Jobs

It didn’t take long after Steve Jobs, the renowned Apple CEO, died in his house at the beginning of October, that his official biography came out. This week, the book titled simply by his name, appeared in libraries and e-book readers everywhere. Written by Walter Isaacson, the book of 656 pages describes the life of Jobs, and his most personal thoughts, from the man himself, and throughout the book, many surprising facts came out.

The book starts with Steve as a young man, focusing on his relationship with his adopted father, and how much of his personality came from him. As an adopted child, he wanted to prove himself to him, and show that he could do great things. One of the passages for example describes how he was once painting a fence, and his father came to him, and told him that the back side of the fence, the one that was hidden and nobody would ever see, needed to be just as well painted as the front, because it proves that if something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well. It’s from things like this that Steve’s goal of perfection came, and what he brought with him to Apple.

A lot of his college years and his early time at Apple revolved around Wozniak, his business partner. Steve did not last long in school, but he did learn important lessons. For example, one passage, which Steve also said in a previous presentation, was a class he attended showed him how crucial type fonts were. And that’s why the Macintosh has had great fonts since day one, because he now knew to focus on details like that. There’s no question that reading this book, we know that Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, but he also demanded perfection from everyone around him. This made him a controversial figure, but helped deliver the products Apple made.

This demand for perfection also brings some surprising revelations. For example, he speaks of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, as someone who is unimaginative and has never invented anything. He sees him as someone who copies ideas. In the case of Google, he holds a very similar view, and is much harsher with words. He always believed Android was stolen from the iPhone, and says “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” He has quite an opinion of most other large technology companies out there, as well as some politicians. It’s revealed for example that he spoke to Bill Clinton during the Monika Lewinsky scandal, to whom he said “I don’t know if you did it, but if so, you’ve got to tell the country.”

There’s no question that Steve Jobs was a fascinating man, and the book is quite worth a read for anyone interested in Apple, or even technology as a whole. With the current sale figures, it’s very possible that this will end up being one of the most sold book of 2011.

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