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Steve Jobs [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Walter Isaacson , Dylan Baker
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 24 2011

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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“. . . 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.” — starred, Booklist “Isaacson’s exhaustively researched but well-paced, candid and gripping narrative gives us a great warts-and-all portrait of an entrepreneurial spirit – and one of the best accounts yet of the human side of the computer biz.” — Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Inspiring Read! March 22 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I already knew a fair bit about jobs but this book is a true biography of a true legend. His story had to be documented and documented well. I am glad Walter Isaacson wrote this book. I doubt anyone else could have told the story in a better way. It does not try to sugarcoat Jobs' personality and takes you on a journey through a brilliant yet crazy mind of Jobs. Oscar Levant once said 'There is a thin line between genius and insanity'. Nothing personifies jobs better.

Any person in business must read this book. The most successful CEO of all times - this is a story of how self-belief, tenacity and iron-will can change the impossible into possible. Focus and follow your vision rest is mere distraction. If you are sane enough you'll disapprove of him, if you are crazy enough, you'll understand him. Here's to the crazies...
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102 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Did It My Way Oct. 26 2011
If you're like me the first thing that strikes in reading this book is how mythological it is.

Put up for closed adoption by unmarried parents who eventually married, rejected by the first would be adoptive parents, then adopted by working class parents, it would be difficult to imagine a more inauspicious beginning, or a more auspicious outcome. Steve Jobs would grow up to prove that an apple can fall quite far from the tree, and still blossom. Abandoned, the chosen one, special.

Firstly, I don't think there is any such thing as an illegitimate child, only illegitimate parents.

The public life and business achievements have been well chronicled, and I didn't want to read a book about Apple. I wondered about the family life, the relationship with Bill Gates, were they collaborators or competitors, some of the other cast of characters. I wondered how much of Apple's great accomplishments were due to Jobs, what effect his passing would have on the future of Apple. I wondered about how he got the Beatles music, and the reputedly fractious relationship with Apple records.

Isaacson has put together a narrative never less than fascinating about a mercurial man. My opinion of Jobs did not change as a result of reading this book. He already struck me as being a highly driven type A personality, narcissistic, aggressive, perfectionistic. Certainly these traits contributed to both his successes and his setbacks, and made him a difficult man to get along with, but those high standards imposed by a drive for perfection, and a demanding lack of compassion, would also draw out of people abilities, creativity, and great accomplishments.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely great! Nov. 15 2011
This book is highly detailed because the writer did over 200 interviews with Steve Jobs, I would strongly recommend this book to people who enjoy biographies and non-fiction books!
Its insanely great!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think differently about how to Think Different Dec 19 2011
In my opinion, this is among the most important business biographies ever written. Given the number of other reviews that have already appeared, there really isn't much left for me to say that has not already been said. However, I thought it might be helpful to those who have not as yet read the book to share my thoughts about the lessons to be learned from what Walter Issacson reveals about Steve Jobs as another calendar year begins.

o Perfection is a journey, not a destination, and it should be pursued intensely in every domain of one's life
o There are no insignificant details
o Very Good is the enemy of Great
o Great is the enemy of Insanely Great
o Steal only the best from the best and then make it better

Among the treasures he "borrowed":

Make everything as simple as possible...but no simpler (Albert Einstein)
Vision without execution is hallucination (Thomas Edison)
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing (Helen Keller)
The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do (Michael Porter)
God (or Whatever) is in the details and Less is more (Mies van der Rohe
The Devil is in vague generalities (Gustave Flaubert)
Graphical user interface or GUI (Xerox PARC)

Issacson visited Jobs just before he died. They discussed death and the possibility of an afterlife. "I'll like to think that something survives after you die." Then he fell silent for a very long time. "But on the other hand, perhaps it's like an on-off switch," he said. [begin italics] Click! [end italics] And you're gone. "Maybe that's why I never wanted to put on-off switches on Apple devices."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Biography of Steve Jobs June 8 2013
By Ian Robertson TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The best biographies plunge us into the life and times of the subject with the page-turning aspects of a novel. They convey the facts of a subject’s life in a compelling narrative, and with extraordinarily famous people, in such a way that we hardly notice we already know many of the details.

Steve Jobs is very much one of those extraordinarily famous people. We already know much of the chronology and the accomplishments of his life, and from media we already have a strong sense of his personality. All the more remarkable then, that noted biographer Walter Isaacson has delivered such a fascinating, compelling and moving portrait.

Jobs asked Isaacson to write the book - he had already written excellent biographies on Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Kissinger - and Isaacson has used his considerable biographical skills to produce a fascinating, compelling and moving picture. Unlike many authorized biographies it faced no revisions or restrictions by Mr. Jobs. What you see is what you get, and what you get is a truly remarkable tale of a truly remarkable visionary, innovator, and business leader.

The book unfolds chronologically, and from an early age Jobs is shown to have smarts, moxy, and unusual personality traits. His string of business successes (Apple, NeXT, Pixar), and his string of product successes (MacIntosh, iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad) is legendary, but only time will tell if he accomplished his primary goal - to build a company that would last, a company that would reinvent itself and remain an innovative leader.

Jobs’ odd traits permeate the pages, but Isaacson is non-judgemental, and the book never descends into the voyeuristic sideshow that is a hallmark of so many lesser biographers.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great condition
Published 17 days ago by Sacha McCollum
4.0 out of 5 stars i baught this book in a store
i got this book in a store, it is a wonderfull look at the life of steve jobs. the only reason i gave it 4 stars is because it left out some important things in his life, like how... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Donald Hibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
I am not a business professional nor am I particularly interested in the Apple company. I do own a Mac computer, an Iphone and an Ipad which makes me somewhat of a fan already. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary Sawyer author ;Beyond Me
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
What can one say that's not said, I'm biased and admire the guy for what he did... This book add some perspective and its one of the best I read about SJ
Published 3 months ago by Ras
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
A very well written biopic from Walter. Gives you deep insight on how the products that have changed and modernized out daily lives came to be. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alex Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars life of a terrible genius
Great book, fascinating look into a figure that left a huge imprint on the world. Impressed with unflattering but true story of Jobs.
Published 5 months ago by Ebz30
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Jobs
Book was a gift for our Son-In-Law. I had previously read it and thought it was amazing. I have a whole new take on who he really was. A very quirky genius. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Janette Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting study of a unique individual
I found his life story from beginning to end fascinating. Begs the question are we are shaped by our genes or environment? The book answers this question about Steve. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ethel Niessen
5.0 out of 5 stars a good explanation of the rise of Apple
Learned a lot about Apple and its products as well as the legend behind Steve Jobs.

I liked the honesty of the Author.
Published 7 months ago by ---
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost Interest
It didn't keep my interest long enough to finish it. In my view a biography's greatest asset is to inspire and perhaps this did not because Steve Jobs is not inspirational. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Richard Unger
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