Steve Jobs: A Biography by Walter IsaacsonSteve Jobs: A Biography by Walter Isaacsonsticker-burst

Steve Jobs: A Biography

byWalter Isaacson

Hardcover | October 24, 2011

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From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive, New York Times bestselling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

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.
Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C., wi...
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Title:Steve Jobs: A BiographyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:656 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.9 inPublished:October 24, 2011Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1451648537

ISBN - 13:9781451648539

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from MAGNIFICIENT!!! Thorough examination of a brilliant mind!!!! This man changed the world as we know it!!
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved it! great read. amazing tribute to such an influential being!
Date published: 2017-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! A great biography of a very brilliant but very flawed man. Before reading this, I didn't really have much respect for Steve Jobs, but this book has made me understand his worldview and where he comes from #plumreview
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! I love reading biographies and this was by far the BEST
Date published: 2017-11-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok nonetheless, it was entertaining and definitely kept me interested
Date published: 2017-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great biography Detailed and thorough, this is a great biography of one of the biggest if not the biggest technology innovators of our time #plumreview
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read One of the best biographies I've read. Detailed, thorough, yet well-paced.
Date published: 2017-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing! Wonderful biography. Bought two, one to give as present
Date published: 2017-10-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Jobs Gives a fairly rounded account of Jobs intense personality, character and personal life. Jobs focus was on perfection for all aspects of invention, that connected with the computer world. Jobs was a symbol of inventiveness and imagination, instinctively knowing how to create technology. His character is left to the decision of the reader. A movie was made in 2015 which is explosive in the life of this man.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! A well rounded depiction of a fascinating man. Even the technical parts were clearly written and easy to understand.
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Detailed and Incredible Many associate Steve Jobs with Apple, but he has also had a tremendous influence on the upbringing of Pixar. This book not only provides the accomplishments of Jobs, but also his unique character and behaviour. Usually I find biographies a little on the boring side, but this one had me immersed throughout.
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Bio Story Gives you a fairly deep insight into the life and mind of Steve Jobs, who co-founded and build what is now currently the most valuable company in the world. Very Inspiring.
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from interesting book this book is quite interesting and gives you an overview on how apple products came to life
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Maybe not as great as I have hoped but its nice to read authors view of this amazing visionary. I loved it! Very absorbing read, hard to stop wanting more.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really detailed People will have a comprehensive understanding of the life and work of Steve Jobs after reading this book. The author went to a lot of trouble to make sure he included all the important details. I love that pictures were added in the middle of Steve Jobs and his family.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insightful Insightful book about the man who changed how we communicate
Date published: 2017-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Apple is awesome This is a pretty good book, but apple is more than just Steve Jobs. Lots of people contributed to the iphone
Date published: 2015-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable read. A great insight into the real man. The man and the company ... What we thought we knew and suspected!
Date published: 2015-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Steve Jobs Amazing Insightful and very well written. Enjoyed the historical knowledge of St eve's personal life.
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must read for any tech enthusiast If you are interested in technology and entrepreneurship, I really recommend this book. It was a long read, but all required to understand the development of Apple and their products.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Steve Jobs A very compelling biography of one of the most important personalities of this century. The innovations brought to the world by this man have changed the way we relate to one another and to all of the things we consider entertainment. There are few aspects of living that are not influenced by Jobs and his developments, these are well chronicled in this book
Date published: 2014-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good Read the book and loved it
Date published: 2014-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Story & Portrayal I purposely waited to read this as I did not want to be influenced by sentiment after his death & I'm glad I did. It gave me a better perspective on his true genius. As an Apple disciple for the past 10 years, I can only hope that Apple continues Steve's pursuit of perfection rather than profit in the years to come. Sure he may have been an A-hole at times but who isn't. He seemed to reconcile with those closest before he died & all who worked with him felt he brought out the best in them so, it couldn't be all bad. RIP Steve Jobs & great portrayal Walter Isaacson.
Date published: 2014-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Story & Portrayal I purposely waited to read this as I did not want to be influenced by sentiment after his death & I'm glad I did. It gave me a better perspective on his true genius. As an Apple disciple for the past 10 years, I can only hope that Apple continues Steve's pursuit of perfection rather than profit in the years to come. Sure he may have been an A-hole at times but who isn't. He seemed to reconcile with those closest before he died & all who worked with him felt he brought out the best in them so, it couldn't be all bad. RIP Steve Jobs & great portrayal Walter Isaacson.
Date published: 2014-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful This book is a complete and detailed account of one of the most creative geniuses that ever traversed the planet. Entertaining and inspirational.
Date published: 2014-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book It's a privilege to read such an honest biography
Date published: 2014-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Steve Jobs An amazing story , somewhat inspiring ,very easy to read. Enjoyed every page if it
Date published: 2014-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great man Wholly one of tech industry. Too bad people like him instinct. We need more of them.
Date published: 2014-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great man This is an excellent book. If you love Apple products, it provides an excellent history of the development of Apple. If you love interesting biographies, this may also appeal. Steve Jobs was a very complicated and interesting person and Isaacson does an excellent job of providing a well-rounded picture of who he was. Highly recommend, thoroughly enjoyed it!
Date published: 2014-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great man Fascinating. I could not put it down.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great man Interesting insight into a man that uses resources available, and is able to bring these parts together to bring visionary products to the market. The book was both interesting and insightful.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great man Good read on lessons on life. I would recommend this book to all.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great man I thoroughly enjoyed this account of Steve Jobs' life. It was interesting to read about what kind of person cN change the world the way he has.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great man Eye opening and insightful. Isaacson gives the reader a very well written look into the life of the most famous tech person in history. A recommended read for any Apple lover.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great man I enjoyed this marvelous well written book. It was most interesting biography I've ever read. There were definitely 2 sides of Steve Job that aren't recognized until you read this biography. He was definitely a very caring person.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great man A fine example of what a person can accomplish if he possesses the wisdom and the ability to look ahead into the future. His vision was so forward thinking. A must read for youngsters with an idea and a dream.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jobs Changed the World! I am not a tecno-geek but I could not help but loving this bio of Steve Jobs and the rise of Apple. The man was an artist who believed that technology and humanity could merge into beautifully designed products. The book despite its many pages is a page-turner as we see the development of Apple's beloved product line. It will be interesting to see Apple's future growth without Jobs. Hopefully it will continue to live up to the legacy he left behind,
Date published: 2013-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Driven, Passionate, Obsessed As a dedicated, avid and long-time Apple user, I felt obliged to read this bio-retrospective of the man responsible for facilitating so much of my personal and professional electronic communications world. Unlike his products, which are intuitive and user-friendly, this intimate reveal of Steve Jobs provides a unique and often difficult-to-fathom glimpse into the compellingly private, emotionally complex existence of the man behind a global icon. Like so many truly renowned 'artists', defined so often by their proximity to madness, Steve Jobs: A Biography allows readers to feel the madness, the passion, the internalized fermenting turmoil that might just have been Apple's catalyst to becoming a global game changer in the fiercely unemotional industry of electronic communications ... and quite likely contributed to this great visionary's ultimate demise. His vision will likely never be replicated, but this must read, well-told page-turner should do much to keep a light on his legacy and never-ending spirit and drive to achieve simplicity in perfection.
Date published: 2013-08-22

Read from the Book

Excerpt 1 His personality was reflected in the products he created. Just as the core of Apple’s philosophy, from the original Macintosh in 1984 to the iPad a generation later, was the end-to-end integration of hardware and software, so too was it the case with Steve Jobs: His passions, perfectionism, demons, desires, artistry, devilry, and obsession for control were integrally connected to his approach to business and the products that resulted. The unified field theory that ties together Jobs’s personality and products begins with his most salient trait: his intensity. His silences could be as searing as his rants; he had taught himself to stare without blinking. Sometimes this intensity was charming, in a geeky way, such as when he was explaining the profundity of Bob Dylan’s music or why whatever product he was unveiling at that moment was the most amazing thing that Apple had ever made. At other times it could be terrifying, such as when he was fulminating about Google or Microsoft ripping off Apple. This intensity encouraged a binary view of the world. Colleagues referred to the hero/shithead dichotomy. You were either one or the other, sometimes on the same day. The same was true of products, ideas, even food: Something was either “the best thing ever,” or it was shitty, brain-dead, inedible. As a result, any perceived flaw could set off a rant. The finish on a piece of metal, the curve of the head of a screw, the shade of blue on a box, the intuitiveness of a navigation screen—he would declare them to “completely suck” until that moment when he suddenly pronounced them “absolutely perfect.” He thought of himself as an artist, which he was, and he indulged in the temperament of one. His quest for perfection led to his compulsion for Apple to have end-to-end control of every product that it made. He got hives, or worse, when contemplating great Apple software running on another company’s crappy hardware, and he likewise was allergic to the thought of unapproved apps or content polluting the perfection of an Apple device. This ability to integrate hardware and software and content into one unified system enabled him to impose simplicity. The astronomer Johannes Kepler declared that “nature loves simplicity and unity.” So did Steve Jobs. Excerpt 2 For Jobs, belief in an integrated approach was a matter of righteousness. “We do these things not because we are control freaks,” he explained. “We do them because we want to make great products, because we care about the user, and because we like to take responsibility for the entire experience rather than turn out the crap that other people make.” He also believed he was doing people a service: “They’re busy doing whatever they do best, and they want us to do what we do best. Their lives are crowded; they have other things to do than think about how to integrate their computers and devices.” This approach sometimes went against Apple’s short-term business interests. But in a world filled with junky devices, inscrutable error messages, and annoying interfaces, it led to astonishing products marked by beguiling user experiences. Using an Apple product could be as sublime as walking in one of the Zen gardens of Kyoto that Jobs loved, and neither experience was created by worshipping at the altar of openness or by letting a thousand flowers bloom. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the hands of a control freak. Jobs’s intensity was also evident in his ability to focus. He would set priorities, aim his laser attention on them, and filter out distractions. If something engaged him—the user interface for the original Macintosh, the design of the iPod and iPhone, getting music companies into the iTunes Store—he was relentless. But if he did not want to deal with something—a legal annoyance, a business issue, his cancer diagnosis, a family tug—he would resolutely ignore it. That focus allowed him to say no. He got Apple back on track by cutting all except a few core products. He made devices simpler by eliminating buttons, software simpler by eliminating features, and interfaces simpler by eliminating options. He attributed his ability to focus and his love of simplicity to his Zen training. It honed his appreciation for intuition, showed him how to filter out anything that was distracting or unnecessary, and nurtured in him an aesthetic based on minimalism. Unfortunately his Zen training never quite produced in him a Zen-like calm or inner serenity, and that too is part of his legacy. He was often tightly coiled and impatient, traits he made no effort to hide. Most people have a regulator between their mind and mouth that modulates their brutish sentiments and spikiest impulses. Not Jobs. He made a point of being brutally honest. “My job is to say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it,” he said. This made him charismatic and inspiring, yet also, to use the technical term, an asshole at times. Andy Hertzfeld once told me, “The one question I’d truly love Steve to answer is, ‘Why are you sometimes so mean?’” Even his family members wondered whether he simply lacked the filter that restrains people from venting their wounding thoughts or willfully bypassed it. Jobs claimed it was the former. “This is who I am, and you can’t expect me to be someone I’m not,” he replied when I asked him the question. But I think he actually could have controlled himself, if he had wanted. When he hurt people, it was not because he was lacking in emotional awareness. Quite the contrary: He could size people up, understand their inner thoughts, and know how to relate to them, cajole them, or hurt them at will. The nasty edge to his personality was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him. But it did, at times, serve a purpose. Polite and velvety leaders, who take care to avoid bruising others, are generally not as effective at forcing change. Dozens of the colleagues whom Jobs most abused ended their litany of horror stories by saying that he got them to do things they never dreamed possible. Excerpt 3 The saga of Steve Jobs is the Silicon Valley creation myth writ large: launching a startup in his parents’ garage and building it into the world’s most valuable company. He didn’t invent many things outright, but he was a master at putting together ideas, art, and technology in ways that invented the future. He designed the Mac after appreciating the power of graphical interfaces in a way that Xerox was unable to do, and he created the iPod after grasping the joy of having a thousand songs in your pocket in a way that Sony, which had all the assets and heritage, never could accomplish. Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture. Others do so by mastering details. Jobs did both, relentlessly. As a result he launched a series of products over three decades that transformed whole industries. Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. He was, indeed, an example of what the mathematician Mark Kac called a magician genius, someone whose insights come out of the blue and require intuition more than mere mental processing power. Like a pathfinder, he could absorb information, sniff the winds, and sense what lay ahead. Steve Jobs thus became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology. Excerpt 4 The difference that Jony has made, not only at Apple but in the world, is huge. He is a wickedly intelligent person in all ways. He understands business concepts, marketing concepts. He picks stuff up just like that, click. He understands what we do at our core better than anyone. If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony. Jony and I think up most of the products together and then pull others in and say, “Hey, what do you think about this?” He gets the big picture as well as the most infinitesimal details about each product. And he understands that Apple is a product company. He’s not just a designer. That’s why he works directly for me. He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me. There’s no one who can tell him what to do, or to butt out. That’s the way I set it up. Excerpt 5 When Jobs gathered his top management for a pep talk just after he became iCEO in September 1997, sitting in the audience was a sensitive and passionate thirty-year-old Brit who was head of the company’s design team. Jonathan Ive, known to all as Jony, was planning to quit. He was sick of the company’s focus on profit maximization rather than product design. Jobs’s talk led him to reconsider. “I remember very clearly Steve announcing that our goal is not just to make money but to make great products,” Ive recalled. “The decisions you make based on that philosophy are fundamentally different from the ones we had been making at Apple.” Ive and Jobs would soon forge a bond that would lead to the greatest industrial design collaboration of their era. Ive grew up in Chingford, a town on the northeast edge of London. His father was a silversmith who taught at the local college. “He’s a fantastic craftsman,” Ive recalled. “His Christmas gift to me would be one day of his time in his college workshop, during the Christmas break when no one else was there, helping me make whatever I dreamed up.” The only condition was that Jony had to draw by hand what they planned to make. “I always understood the beauty of things made by hand. I came to realize that what was really important was the care that was put into it. What I really despise is when I sense some carelessness in a product.” Ive enrolled in Newcastle Polytechnic and spent his spare time and summers working at a design consultancy. One of his creations was a pen with a little ball on top that was fun to fiddle with. It helped give the owner a playful emotional connection to the pen. For his thesis he designed a microphone and earpiece—in purest white plastic—to communicate with hearing-impaired kids. His flat was filled with foam models he had made to help him perfect the design. He also designed an ATM machine and a curved phone, both of which won awards from the Royal Society of Arts. Unlike some designers, he didn’t just make beautiful sketches; he also focused on how the engineering and inner components would work. He had an epiphany in college when he was able to design on a Macintosh. “I discovered the Mac and felt I had a connection with the people who were making this product,” he recalled. “I suddenly understood what a company was, or was supposed to be.”