The Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaac is a fantastic read. Outstanding book on its own, and and outstanding example of what a biography SHOULD be. The book covers a lot of strengths and weaknesses of Jobs, as well as the technical and personal challenges he engaged in.
The best thing about this book is that it doesn’t try to sell you an agenda of Steve Jobs. I have often rolled my eyes when someone states, “Steve Jobs was a technical genius!” I have a hard time stomaching that statement about a man who wrote virtually no code. As this book correctly identifies, Steve Wozniak is the true source of technical success.
However Jobs was certainly an interesting guy. He had fascinating characteristics, but also was quite a narcissistic. My favorite description for his skillset was, “He had an uncanny ability to recognize when a market had products that sucked.”
I distinctly remember the late 90’s being in a college dorm room during the music library revolution as gigabytes of MP3’s flooded my hard drive. Yet I enjoyed working out to music, and was stuck still dragging around a cassette recorder! The technical gap between compressed music and portable music was unbelievable. When the iPod came out, it was exactly what the market so desperately needed.
I would definitely recommend anyone read this who is thinking starting a business or taking on a position of leadership, as the detailing over his relationships with others more fascinating to me than his technical history. I would almost consider not recommending this to someone under 30. Perhaps the renegade inspiration of Jobs might be too inspiring. I have a hard time seeing a Steve Jobs rise through the ranks in today’s world if he continued to showup for work late, with bad odor, swearing a lot, and didn’t take kindly to authority.
Final takeaway that I imagine I was one of the few people to notice. There was a brief mention of a discussion where Jobs was either talking to Bill Clinton or one of his representatives. Jobs essentially admitted to tasking Bill Clinton to “slow down Microsoft” with an anti-trust lawsuit. Such is the way of the world of power when you give the government the opportunity to persecute business for highly abstract concepts. Ultimately this only hurt consumers as Microsoft had to defend their diabolic plot of delivering an operating system that actually included a browser. Apparently this was something that too many people might want!
Anyway, a very interesting book.