Steve Jobs: Book summary and reviews of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

By Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2011,
    656 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Jobs was an American original, and Isaacson's impeccably researched, vibrant biography - fully endorsed by his subject—does his legacy proud." - Kirkus

"Even if you have no interest at all in the lives of businessmen, this is worth reading, and no surprise it's the number one bestseller in the US. It's a - literally - epic story, superbly told by Isaacson with none of the breathlessness of the usual boring hatchet-faced Chief Executive's Tale. Jobs approved; when, as he was dying, he said he hadn't read it yet but would there be stuff he didn't like, Isaacson said yes. "Good", said Jobs, "then it won't read like an in-house book." Nor, despite Jobs's triumph, does it seem a particularly happy life. But the man left his mark." - The Independent

"Steve Jobs greatly admires its subject. But its most adulatory passages are not about people. Offering a combination of tech criticism and promotional hype, Mr. Isaacson describes the arrival of each new product right down to Mr. Jobs’s theatrical introductions and the advertising campaigns. But if the individual bits of hoopla seem excessive, their cumulative effect is staggering. Here is an encyclopedic survey of all that Mr. Jobs accomplished, replete with the passion and excitement that it deserves." - New York Times, Janet Maslin

"With little patience for technical details, I found myself skimming through some of the book's passages detailing the creation of the Apple I computer, the Macintosh and the i-gadgets of Jobs' later years... The intimate chapters, where Jobs' personal side shines through, with all his faults and craziness, leave a deep impression. There's humor, too, especially early on when Isaacson chronicles Jobs' lack of personal hygiene, the barefoot hippie who runs a corporation. And deeply moving are passages about Jobs' resignation as Apple's chief executive, and an afternoon he spent with Isaacson listening to music and reminiscing." - The Huffington Post

"Isaacson laments Jobs's infantile tantrums, while recognising that this childishness – exemplified by his Pixar blockbuster Toy Story – turned his products from tools into delightfully frisky playthings. When you remove the cover from the iPad 2, as Isaacson puts it, the screen "pops to life like the face of a tickled baby". That beautiful phrase sums up Jobs's bequest: he did redesign the universe and he reminded us to be amazed by it." - The Guardian

"Taken as a whole, though, this is a riveting book, with as much to say about the transformation of modern life in the information age as about its supernaturally gifted and driven subject for whom 'a person was either a hero or a bozo, a product was either amazing or s---' but who 'could be stymied by things that were more complex, shaded or nuanced: getting married, buying the right sofa, committing to run a company'. In the end we can’t help but agree with Isaacson’s assessment: 'Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius.'" - Telegraph

The information about Steve Jobs shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Walter Isaacson Author Biography

Photo: Mary Pfaff

Walter Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  After graduating from New Orleans' Isidore Newman School he spent a brief time at Deep Springs College before attending Harvard, graduating with a BA in history and literature.  From there he went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, gaining an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

He began his journalism career at The Sunday Times (UK) and then at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  He joined TIME Magazine in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's fourteenth managing editor in 1996.

He became Chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and in 2003 became president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, an international ...

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