Cover image for Steve Jobs
Title:
Steve Jobs
Title:
Steve Jobs
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2011.
Physical Description:
xxi, 630 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Abstract:
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, the author 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. -- From publisher.
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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Walter Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received a B. A. in history and literature from Harvard College. He then attended the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College and read philosophy, politics, and economics.

He began his career in journalism at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's editor in 1996. He became Chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

He has written numerous books including American Sketches, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Kissinger: A Biography, Steve Jobs, and The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. He is the co-author, with Evan Thomas, of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Isaacson's authorized biography of the founder of Apple Computers draws upon 40 interviews with Steve Jobs as well as 100 interviews with Jobs's friends, co-workers, and adversaries. Surprisingly, the notoriously secretive Jobs was the biography's biggest advocate, lobbying Isaacson repeatedly to work on the project. Besides Jobs's personal development, Isaacson also charts the growth of the tech industry in Northern California and the numerous moguls who worked alongside and clashed with Jobs. Dylan Baker's narration is straightforward and precise, and maintains listener interest throughout-even during sections of text that detail the dryer aspects of the industry. Though numerous individuals discuss Jobs, Baker doesn't attempt to differentiate their voices. Still, it's always clear who is speaking, which proves a testament to Baker's abilities as a reader and Isaacson's clarity as a writer. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Now we all know how the story ends. But that only adds a certain frisson to this biography of the man who was determined to make a dent in reality. Shaping reality was what Jobs was about, not only in his extraordinary vision of how personal computers could remake the world but also in his personal life, where early forays into Eastern mysticism led to belief in what Star Trek called a reality distortion field Jobs believed reality was malleable and made others believe it, too. The book is filled with examples of projects that seemed impossible to complete but were completed and goals that appeared unachievable but were achieved all because Jobs insisted it could be done. Yet Jobs was no saint. Isaacson (along with many of Jobs' friends) posits that being given up for adoption gave him a brittle, callous edge, which likely led him to abandon a daughter he had out of wedlock. Juxatposed against Jobs' story are contrasting profiles of Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, the actual engineer, who would benignly have given away the specs for designing personal computers (he did give low-level associates some of his Apple shares before it it went public), and Bill Gates, at different times Jobs' partner and rival. Isaacson, who has previously written about long-gone geniuses Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, benefits this time from contact with his subject. Jobs gave the author 40 interviews for this book and asked his family and associates to cooperate. The result is a wonderfully robust biography that not only tracks Jobs' life but also serves as a history of digital technology. What makes the book come alive, though, is Isaacson's ability to shape the story as a kind of archetypal fantasy: the flawed hero, the noble quest, the holy grail, the death of the king.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist


Choice Review

Isaacson (CEO, Aspen Institute; Einstein, CH, Sep'07, 45-0247; Benjamin Franklin, CH, Jan'04, 41-2999) provides an exhaustive examination of Steve Jobs as individual, innovator, and entrepreneur. Recurring themes are Jobs's belief, in contrast to those of Bill Gates and other peers, that a closed software and hardware infrastructure were the key to quality and success; Jobs's embodiment of Robert Friedland's "reality distortion field"--believing that he could force or, in some cases, avoid reality (e.g., his nine-month delay to accept the need to remove a cancerous tumor); and Jobs's overarching principle that his companies and products stay at the forefront of the intersection between the liberal arts and technology. He strongly felt that without exception, Apple, NeXT, and Pixar embraced this philosophy more than any competitor. Isaacson examines Jobs's successes from the development of the Apple I with engineer Steve Wozniak to essentially rescuing the failing digital-age music industry with iTunes. He also addresses Jobs's miscalculations, such as the inability of NeXT hardware to make a splash in the academic market, or his initial reluctance to allow third-party applications on Apple devices. This fascinating tour de force on the world of Steve Jobs would be an excellent addition to computer science and business collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. K. D. Winward Central College


Library Journal Review

Isaacson's (Einstein: His Life and Universe) new biography of Steve Jobs (1955-2011) will satisfy the curiosity of all those looking to delve into the nitty-gritty details of the tech titan's life. Though it begins with a traditional sketch of his parents (both biological and adopted) and birth, the book quickly gets down to business: readers see the creation of the Apple I within the first 60 pages. Isaacson's primary focus is on Jobs's professional life, and chapters are often organized around a single product, e.g., the Mac or the iPod. Jobs emerges a man who cares deeply about the wares he sells and the companies he builds, but one who (famously) is all but unbearable for it. Starting his career smelly and shoeless, the eccentric Jobs even at the end of his life eschewed cancer treatment for nine crucial months on behalf of a strict, carrot-juice-heavy diet. Verdict Isaacson has produced a full, detailed account of an influential man's life, but the style never rises above that of a well-graded research paper. As for Jobs, readers will newly admire their iPhones but not the near-sadistic management style that produced them. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/11.]-Molly McArdle, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

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." Excerpted from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Charactersp. xiii
Introduction: How This Book Came to Bep. xvii
Chapter 1 Childhood: Abandoned and Chosenp. 1
Chapter 2 Odd Couple: The Two Stevesp. 21
Chapter 3 The Dropout: Turn On, Tune In ...p. 31
Chapter 4 Atari and India: Zen and the Art of Game Designp. 42
Chapter 5 The Apple I: Turn On, Boot Up, Jack In ...p. 56
Chapter 6 The Apple II: Dawn of a New Agep. 71
Chapter 7 Chrisann and Lisa: He Who Is Abandoned ...p. 86
Chapter 8 Xerox and Lisa: Graphical User Interfacesp. 92
Chapter 9 Going Public: A Man of Wealth and Famep. 102
Chapter 10 The Mac Is Born: You Say You Want a Revolutionp. 108
Chapter 11 The Reality Distortion Field: Playing by His Own Set of Rulesp. 117
Chapter 12 The Design: Real Artists Simplifyp. 125
Chapter 13 Building the Mac: The Journey Is the Rewardp. 135
Chapter 14 Enter Sculley: The Pepsi Challengep. 148
Chapter 15 The Launch: A Dent in the Universep. 159
Chapter 16 Gates and Jobs: When Orbits Intersectp. 171
Chapter 17 Icarus: What Goes Up ...p. 180
Chapter 18 Next: Prometheus Unboundp. 211
Chapter 19 Pixar: Technology Meets Artp. 238
Chapter 20 A Regular Guy: Love Is Just a Four-Letter Wordp. 250
Chapter 21 Family Man: At Home with the Jobs Clanp. 267
Chapter 22 Toy Story: Buzz and Woody to the Rescuep. 284
Chapter 23 The Second Coming: What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last ...p. 293
Chapter 24 The Restoration: The Loser Now Will Be Later to Winp. 305
Chapter 25 Think Different: Jobs as iCEOp. 327
Chapter 26 Design Principles: The Studio of Jobs and Ivep. 340
Chapter 27 The iMac: Hello (Again)p. 348
Chapter 28 CEO: Still Crazy after All These Yearsp. 358
Chapter 29 Apple Stores: Genius Bars and Siena Sandstonep. 368
Chapter 30 The Digital Hub: From iTunes to the iPodp. 378
Chapter 31 The iTunes Store: I'm the Pied Piperp. 394
Chapter 32 Music Man: The Sound Track of His Lifep. 411
Chapter 33 Pixar's Friends: ... and Foesp. 426
Chapter 34 Twenty-first-century Macs: Setting Apple Apartp. 444
Chapter 35 Round One: Memento Morip. 452
Chapter 36 The iPhone: Three Revolutionary Products in Onep. 465
Chapter 37 Round Two: The Cancer Recursp. 476
Chapter 38 The iPad: Into the Post-PC Erap. 490
Chapter 39 New Battles: And Echoes of Old Onesp. 511
Chapter 40 To Infinity: The Cloud, the Spaceship, and Beyondp. 525
Chapter 41 Round Three: The Twilight Strugglep. 538
Chapter 42 Legacy: The Brightest Heaven of Inventionp. 560
Acknowledgmentsp. 573
Sourcesp. 575
Notesp. 579
Indexp. 599