This beautifully written book first published in 2011 follows the life of an extra-ordinary man who wanted to change the world and in doing so created one of the world’s greatest companies. The book is an honest account of Steve Jobs’s life, both the good and the not so good.
I picked this book up not knowing what to expect. Having lived through the launch of the various Apple products of the 2000’s (I bought my first iPhone in 2014) I heard a lot about this man and yet knew nothing about him.
The book covers five decades of Jobs’s life, from his birth all the way up to his final days and his eventual death (this isn’t a spoiler as by now most of you probably know his fate).
Born on February 24, 1955 to a Catholic mother and Muslim father from Syria he was given up for adoption shortly after his birth. Their story, whilst briefly described in this book, is equally as fascinating and plays a core role in his emotional make up.
Adopted by what I would describe as “hippies” he was encouraged to find himself. He was very much part of and into the counterculture movement of his time – this played a massive role in his life and influenced his work. His devotion to all thing’s spiritual took him on a pilgrimage to India in his search for his guru – like I said this man was fascinating.
Isaacson’s book walks the reader through the early days of Apple, from its creation with his co-conspirator Steve Wozniak, who would remain a life-long colleague and dedicated friend despite the sometimes mistreatment of him by Jobs.
A good amount of the materials in this book is made up of first-hand accounts via interviews conducted by Isaacson of family, friends and colleagues including Bill Gates, Jobs’s arch nemesis. Whilst they all have their fair share of interesting anecdotes describing his temperament, you are often left with this underlying level of warmth, affection and admiration they had for him.
The book follows each product launch from the original Apple II through to the iPad and everything in between and his foray into the world of animation courtesy of Pixar. The reader also gets to learn about his failings including the launch of NeXT after being ousted from Apple and ultimately his glorious return to the company, he started in his parents’ garage.
At points I found some of the “tech” speak a little bit difficult to keep up with but that said it is all soundly balanced with deep character descriptions of this “odd” man…think soaking his feet in a toilet bowl kind of odd.
Isaacson’s book captures the almost maniacal obsession Jobs had for perfection in fantastic detail. Jobs’s eye for design is both the foundation of his genius and ultimate character flaw.
I gobbled the book up rapidly and as I was reaching the final pages, I found myself not wanting to read the last chapter because I knew how it would end. I was intrigued by his life I did not want him to die and in a strange way was willing him on to live just that little bit longer.
In conclusion, I loved everything about this book. Most importantly, I was completely taken in by the main subject of this book, Steve Jobs. What a truly fascinating life, an icon of our time.
If you think you are different, not like the rest or even a little odd…this book is for you, who knows one day you too may change the world.
For everyone else, get yourself a copy ASAP and I promise you will find a new level of appreciation for the product or products we so casually insert into our lives and come to rely upon without thinking about how they came to be!.
By Sanu Miah, Founder of CheekyLittleCareers