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103 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Did It My Way
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...
Published on Oct. 26 2011 by L. Power

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gives short shrift to a central influence in Jobs' life
Completely misses the boat about the key influence of psychedelics on Steve Jobs! A failure to manifest journalistic curiosity about the central source of creative motivation in Jobs' life. Steve himself claimed that those who had not taken LSD would never understand him. Maybe Walter Isaacson didn't, but then what possessed Jobs to choose him as a biographer?
Published 1 month ago by Richard Yensen


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103 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Did It My Way, Oct. 26 2011
By 
L. Power "nlp trainer" (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
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.

Certainly, Isaacson's unvarnished portrait, means many people will not find Jobs the man appealing, and will not condone certain of his behaviors, and I commend Jobs for his honesty in allowing that. Perhaps the biggest surprise that he let go of his controlling tendencies, and did not seek to approve the book.

Ironically at age 22, he would find himself in the exact same position as his adoptive parents at that age, and would not acknowledge his out of wedlock child Lisa. He would eventually reverse that position before Apple went public agreeing to a DNA test, and making an arrangement. I was interested to discover that he has a lost sister Mona Simpson, an author who has written a book, A Regular Guy : A Novel, the main character based on Jobs and the relationship with his daughter Lisa.

Nemesis follows hubris with punishing fall from grace at Apple, betrayed by his hand picked underling, fired by the company he founded, exiled, buying Pixar off George Lucas for $5 million, selling it to Disney for a reputed $500 million, eventually returning as conquering hero to regain his throne, after many lean years the kingdom would once again prosper.

Among his influences were The Beatles, particularly John Lennon, also rejected by both his parents, and raised by an aunt. The Beatles being greater than the sum of the individual parts would inpsire his own management style of making better products through teamwork. Perhaps more surprising was his relating to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, and that despotic tyrant King Lear.

The strength of this book, unfettered access to Jobs, the uncensored commentary and insights, of family, friends, business associates, even enemies, and critics.

I enjoyed the story of how he met his wife Laurene Powell. Her name is quite similar to my name, Laurence Power, and she has a degree in Economics. I enjoyed the humor and pranks of the early days with Wosniak. I particularly like calling the Vatican prank pretending to be Kissinger, collecting bootleg Dylan recordings, and illicitly mimicing the long distance beeps. I also enjoyed reading of the reality distortion field sometimes employed effectively, sometimes not. He would one day meet his father in a restaurant but neither would be aware that they met.

The book did answer most of my questions, yet I do not give it five stars. Here is why:

Recently, I have bought several quotation books, and when I learned Jobs illness was fatal, I started looking up quotes by Jobs.

Some quotation books such as Bartlett, Forbes Business quotes, and so forth do not have any Jobs quotes. Oxford and Yale each have two. In fact most quote books do not have many if any quotes by business leaders. Hopefully, this will be addressed. In fact, the The Ultimate Book of Investment Quotations (The Ultimate Series) book I found to be the only decent book that quotes business leaders and investment experts.

If you look at the Stanford commencement speech for example, available where video clips are seen, Jobs has many good quotes, and has great presentation skills. In fact, I understand there are about 100 books due to be published about Jobs.

While Isaacson's book contains many good quotes, most of these are by other people about Jobs, by Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Andy Grove, Al Gore and many others. Perhaps my favorite was the Herman Hermits quote by Bono. What I found curiously lacking were so few great quotes by Jobs himself. When I watched the Stanford speech on youtube, I wrote down six or seven quotes from that speech alone. Isaacson references the speech but barely quotes it.

Certainly, he could have sprinkled some of Jobs best quotes throughout the book. If he had done this I would definitely give the book five stars. Hopefully, this will be addressed in future editions and printings. That would make both an honest depiction and a fitting tribute to a great visionary.

Jobs: The Beatles all want to be on iTunes, but they and EMI are like an old married couple. They hate each other but can't get divorced.

Jobs: Picasso had a saying, good artists copy, great artists steal.

Alan Kay maxim adopted by Jobs: The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Tim Cook: I realised very early that if you didn't voice your opinion he would mow you down. He takes contrary positions to create more discussion because it may lead to a better result. So, if you don't feel comfortable disagreeing, then you'll never survive.

As I read the book, three quotes by George Bernard Shaw came to mind:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.

If I give you an apple, and you give me an apple we each have an apple. If I give you an idea, and you give me an idea, we each have two ideas. Jobs certainly turned apples and ideas into dollars).

Some people see things as they are and ask why. Steve Jobs dreamed things that never were and asked, why not?

As a result we have iPad, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iMac, iBooks.

I think you will enjoy it, if you choose to get it, and I hope this was helpful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Inspiring Read!, March 22 2012
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This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely great!, Nov. 15 2011
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gives short shrift to a central influence in Jobs' life, Oct. 15 2014
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This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
Completely misses the boat about the key influence of psychedelics on Steve Jobs! A failure to manifest journalistic curiosity about the central source of creative motivation in Jobs' life. Steve himself claimed that those who had not taken LSD would never understand him. Maybe Walter Isaacson didn't, but then what possessed Jobs to choose him as a biographer?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely Great Read, Aug. 24 2014
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This review is from: Steve Jobs (Kindle Edition)
I give this 5 Stars because I couldn't put it down: it was very, very well presented & it grants the reader a glimpse inside the esoteric processes of creating those 'dents in the universe' that define Steve Jobs.

There are, however, missing pieces...for example, I get the sense that I got to know Steve the business man but barely penetrate Steve the human. I attribute this to Steve himself, I see his desire to keep our 'fingers out of his machines' as a reflection of his own guarded inner life.

Issacson did do a great job of skimming the surface of Jobs the human. Maybe one day in the future we will find out more about this man's inner life.

A remarkable & inspiring read. Much like the subject himself.
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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 (West Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Steve Jobs (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. For one of the most successful business leaders in history, Jobs also had an unusual indifference to money. When Apple purchased a plane for his use, it was not ostentation, but rather an attempt to give some balance to Jobs’ work and family life. A small detail in a grand life story, but like so many details Isaacson includes, a telling one. The jet, modeled after one owned by his close friend and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, was modified to Jobs’ exacting design standards - the same standards he applied to Apple products. Ellison offers a telling comment about the jet’s completion. “I look at his airplane and mine, and everything he changed was better.” Not more bigger, not faster, not more gold plating ... just “better”, through design.

Isaacson’s biography will seem to the new, fresh minds of future generations even more remarkable than it does to us today. It is rare to have an authoritative and unvarnished biography of such a luminary, and it is difficult to imagine any other biographers adding to what Isaacson has written. Unsurprisingly, Steve Jobs is the best selling biography in history. A biography - the biography - that will be read for decades to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read about an interesting life, Dec 5 2011
By 
Darkin20 "Darkin" (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
I love hearing about people who just don't quite no matter what the odds and succeed. Everyone has a dark side, it is just how you deal with your deamons that makes you whom you are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serendipity, Dec 3 2011
By 
Brian F. Toney (Kingston, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
I am a long-term Macintosh user and Apple supporter and Steve Jobs has always held a particular fascination for me. So it was with eager anticipation that I looked forward to the publication of his biography. I was not disappointed. Jobs was an extraordinarily complex man and it is no surprise that his life was full of twists and turns, reflecting his volatile personality. The book is almost 600 pages long but clearly his biographer had to decide what to leave out or otherwise the work could not have been contained in a single volume. Jobs' role in the founding of and subsequent involvement in the story of Apple was a case of the right person being in the right place at the right time.
Walter Isaacson's book has the hallmark of having been carefully researched and his writing style is such that once I started to read it I had difficulty putting it down.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but, Nov. 3 2011
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
I found the book captivatingly brilliant. Isaacson gets a solid grade "A" for his homework, and the manner in which he structured his book. That said, the one thing that stood out to me like a sore thumb, perhaps because I'm a step father who hates it when people differentiate me as being something other than my daughter's "real" dad, is that a number of times in the book, when speaking of Steve's lifelong search for mentors, a reference is made to him "looking for a father figure". Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the lessons he learned from Paul Jobs shaped him for life. He had a father. We all seek out mentors, but we never consider those mentors as parents unless we missed out on parenting. Jobs did not. That said, from one author to another, It is a solid work that will stand the test of time. Thank you for being so painstakingly thorough.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think differently about how to Think Different, Dec 19 2011
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Steve Jobs (Hardcover)
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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Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Audio CD - Oct. 24 2011)
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