Over the next few weeks, you’ll read long, winding reviews of the Steve Jobs biography, penned by Walter Isaacson. Here, you’ll get my quick take on this mesmerizing read in bullet format:
- Isaacson pulls no punches. Jobs is regularly referred to as an a**hole and the f-bomb is dropped many, many (many) times. He portrays Jobs as job was. Of course, it’s not all bad. Often by the same people that have unsavory things to say, he’s also referred to as a genius and driven. My take: He was pretty complex as well as unpredictable. Those around them never knew which Jobs they’d get.
- The story of his rise then fall and then rise at Apple is incredible. A lot of what I read I already knew from news articles and other things I’d read. That said, there was a whole lot more here that has probably never seen the light of day before.
- Jobs’ illness was awful. The book describes in great detail what Jobs went through with his illness and also indicates that Jobs often ignored doctors, which may have cost him his life. Obviously, he eventually succumbed to his cancer. Although the book was finished shortly before his death, it does go into detail about what eventually forced Steve to step down as CEO. After reading the book, it is clear that death -- and only death -- was the only thing that would have forced Jobs to give up this position that so defined his life.
- Pixar. I knew Jobs was CEO of Pixar, but it was never one of those things that stuck in my mind. Reading the book, I realized just how much influence he had on the then-fledgling company. He was truly and artist and this was a technologically driven artistic outlet for him.
In all, my take is this: Steve Jobs was an incredible person, a genius and driven. But, he was also deeply flawed and that comes through very much in this book. Given the high level of privacy Steve demanded during his life, I greatly respect his decision to allow the author to write everything and hold nothing back. What struck me was that, while Steve achieved great things in his life, the methods by which he achieved these great things left something to be desired.