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Steve Jobs

March 16, 2012

Filed under: review — Terry Wohlers @ 08:49

I finished Steve Jobs, authored by Walter Isaacson, last week. Wow! He was one interesting guy. Brilliant, driven, meticulous, obsessive, emotional, and ruthless are a few of the words to describe him. His astoundingly successful products and businesses are like no other. And, I doubt we’ll ever see anyone like him again in our (or my) lifetime. As Isaacson put it, he leaves a legacy that is on par with the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. I hope future generations are made aware of the extraordinary impact Jobs had on computing, desktop publishing, animated movies, music, smart phones, and tablet computing.

The book takes you back to before the birth of Jobs, why he was adopted, and his years growing up. Jobs fully cooperated with Isaacson as he compiled astonishing detail and anecdotes for the book. And, Jobs never asked to see a draft of what he had written. Isaacson was brutally candid, revealing the great achievements of Jobs, as well as his many quirks, odd habits, and sometimes shocking personality. It ends with his most recent efforts at Apple a short time before he died in October 2011.

The book is one of the most intriguing I’ve read in a long time. What I found most interesting was how Jobs was so exceedingly engaged with almost every factor associated with the development of a new product. Even in his last years, he would get involved at the detailed level, such as a subtle curve on the external housing of the iPhone or iPad. He would agonize over the smallest of details, such as the shape of a simple button on a screen. Undeniably, he was as “hands-on” as any CEO can get and he influenced nearly everything associated with the company and its products and services.

I regret not meeting Jobs when I had a chance back in the late 1980s while attending a National Computer Graphics Association (NCGA) exposition. He was then CEO of Pixar, a company that produced Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and many other animated hits. Pixar had a large exhibit at the NCGA show and Jobs was present. I was visiting an adjacent exhibit, but didn’t make my way over to meet him, and I regret it to this day.

If you want to better understand Steve Jobs and what he did to make Apple arguably the most successful high tech company in the world, read this book. It had my attention the entire way through and I learned a lot from it. Steve Jobs is a book that I will probably read again someday. It’s that good.