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Icon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business [Hardcover]

Jeffrey S. Young , William L. Simon
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 May 2005
iCon takes a look at the most astounding figure in a business era noted for its mavericks, oddballs, and iconoclasts. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Jeffrey Young and William Simon provide new perspectives on the legendary creation of Apple, detail Jobs’s meteoric rise, and the devastating plunge that left him not only out of Apple, but out of the computer–making business entirely. This unflinching and completely unauthorized portrait reveals both sides of Jobs’s role in the remarkable rise of the Pixar animation studio, also re–creates the acrimony between Jobs and Disney’s Michael Eisner, and examines Jobs’s dramatic his rise from the ashes with his recapture of Apple. The authors examine the takeover and Jobs’s reinvention of the company with the popular iMac and his transformation of the industry with the revolutionary iPod. iCon is must reading for anyone who wants to understand how the modern digital age has been formed, shaped, and refined by the most influential figure of the age–a master of three industries: movies, music, and computers.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (20 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471720836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471720836
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 15.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 320,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

“… getAbstract.com …recommends it highly to all business readers…” ( Financial Times , 16 th January 2006) "...the writing is savvy and lively...even readers with a scant interest in computers, technology or animated movies will find the tale entertaining..." ( www.getabstract.com , 29 Aug. 2005) "...a story of the personalities behind the facts and figures...includes some interesting personal touches..." ( Liverpool Daily Post , 22 nd June 2005) “…rich in anecdotes and retellings of turning points in the lives of Jobs, Apple and Pixar…” ( Information Age, 1 st August 2005) "...the authors paint a vivid picture of Jobs as an occasional genius and a regular jerk. All of which makes for gripping reading for any Mac fan..." ( icreate , July–December 2005) “…Young and Simon are particularly good at telling the inside story…” ( Belfast Sunday Life , 3 July 2005) “…new perspectives on the creation of Apple…details Jobs’s meteoric rise, fall and rise again…” ( Moneywise , June 2005) “…a well–balanced look at an incredible life. The achievements are all catalogued in full, as are the personal idiosyncrasies and shortcomings…” ( Glasgow Sunday Herald , June 19 2005) "Provides insight into inner businer business strategies and power plays between larger–than–life personalities such as Disney boss Michael Eisner." ( USA Today ) Apparently, this book hit a nerve. Or several. According to media reports, Apple Computer removed all of the titles published by John Wiley & Sons from its retail stores to protest this book. Included were the successful Dummies series, as well as computer–related volumes from popular authors Andy Ihnatko and Bob LeVitus. So what′s the fuss? This biography of Apple′s co–founder is fairly well balanced. The authors keenly admire Jobs despite the many personal shortcomings they catalog, gleefully referring to sundry over–the–top idiosyncrasies as examples of Jobs′ ′′Stevian′′ hubris. But there′s much to admire about Jobs. An adopted child of a northern California working class couple, he parlayed rabid curiosity about electronics, preternatural entrepreneurial zeal and a fierce sense of self into a partnership with the brilliant Steve Wozniak and created the revolutionary Apple II, the first popular personal computer. The pair became multimillionaires, though Wozniak eventually left the company to pursue other interests –– including flying small airplanes –– after nearly dying in a plane crash. Jobs subsequently latched onto and took over a wayward project at Apple to develop the next generation machine, and the resulting Macintosh became the computer of choice for artists and other creative folks. Jobs′ prickly personality and immense ambition may have helped drive his success but also fueled clashes with executives, board members and others, and led to his forced departure from the company he co–founded. That was Jobs′ wild first act. But authors Jeffrey Young and William Simon also chronicle what came next. After leaving Apple, Jobs′ new computer company, NeXT, was a near–disaster. Though technologically advanced, the box was expensive and ill suited for its intended market, universities. Still, the operating system held great promise and the possibility for Jobs′ return to the spotlight. When divorce forced Star Wars auteur George Lucas to sell off his nascent computer animation company, Pixar, Jobs scooped it up at a fraction of the asking price. Soon, the production company allied with Disney and became a creative powerhouse in its own right, with smash films, Toy Story and Finding Nemo . When Pixar went public, Jobs became a billionaire. At the same time, Apple was having a rough time with its latest CEO, Gil Amelio, who slashed costs, consolidated product lines and seemed to be on the verge of turning the company around despite a lack of ′′Stevian′′ political prowess. His search for an appropriate operating system for a new, more powerful Macintosh attracted Jobs′ attention. His NeXT software was the ticket back to Apple. After some deft machinations, Amelio was sent packing and Jobs became ′′interim′′ CEO. Soon, some new, very cool computers were introduced by Apple and the company was again deemed successful and sexy, though Young and Simon suggest that Jobs was the beneficiary of the departed Amelio′s cost–cutting and new product development initiatives. Regardless, Jobs struck gold again with the introduction of the iPod music player, and the ′′interim′′ was removed from his title. The biography includes many personal details that surely embarrass Jobs, such as his early abandonment of a daughter born to an unmarried girlfriend (both of whom he later reconciled with and supported), along with endless examples of pride, egotism, venality, ruthlessness and conceit. But it′s still an interesting and engaging tale. Warts and all, for better or worse, Steve Jobs is undisputedly an American business icon. ( Miami Herald , June 6, 2005) "One of the most captivating business biographies of recent years. Young and Simon have done a masterful job." ( Ft. Worth Star–Telegram ) "A fascinating tale of an imaginative genius." ( BookPage )

“… getAbstract.com …recommends it highly to all business readers…” ( Financial Times , 16 th January 2006) "...the writing is savvy and lively...even readers with a scant interest in computers, technology or animated movies will find the tale entertaining..." ( www.getabstract.com , 29 Aug. 2005) "...a story of the personalities behind the facts and figures...includes some interesting personal touches..." ( Liverpool Daily Post , 22 nd June 2005) “…rich in anecdotes and retellings of turning points in the lives of Jobs, Apple and Pixar…” ( Information Age, 1 st August 2005) "...the authors paint a vivid picture of Jobs as an occasional genius and a regular jerk. All of which makes for gripping reading for any Mac fan..." ( icreate , July–December 2005) “…Young and Simon are particularly good at telling the inside story…” ( Belfast Sunday Life , 3 July 2005) “…new perspectives on the creation of Apple…details Jobs’s meteoric rise, fall and rise again…” ( Moneywise , June 2005) “…a well–balanced look at an incredible life. The achievements are all catalogued in full, as are the personal idiosyncrasies and shortcomings…” ( Glasgow Sunday Herald , June 19 2005) "Provides insight into inner businer business strategies and power plays between larger–than–life personalities such as Disney boss Michael Eisner." ( USA Today ) "One of the most captivating business biographies of recent years. Young and Simon have done a masterful job." ( Ft. Worth Star–Telegram ) "An interesting and engaging tale. Warts and all, for better or worse, Steve Jobs is undisputedly an American business icon." ( Miami Herald ) "A fascinating tale of an imaginative genius." ( BookPage )

Review

"My books are about the secret lives of hackers. This book is about the secret life of maybe the most influential person in technology. Who else can you think of that has put his stamp on three industries – computers, music, and movie animation? Once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down."–– Kevin Mitnick, security consultant, www.mitnicksecurity.com, author of The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion "Assembling the artifacts and stories to showcase the achievements of man is the work of museums like ours. But history also relies on authors like Young and Simon, who have done a memorable job compiling the biography of Steven Jobs from conversations with the people who have been players with this extraordinary technology pioneer. And this book is a fascinating read as well."–– John Toole, executive director and CEO, Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California "During the high–tech boom years when Steve Jobs gained global recognition, I was on the Silicon Valley scene to witness his rise to fame. We all admired his genius and became aware of his flaws, as well. You won’t want to miss this absorbing behind–the–scenes story." –– Steve Westly, controller of the state of California, former senior vice president, eBay "If technology was a competitive sport, Steve Jobs would be a combination of an NBA misbehaving superstar and an NHL player who high–sticks opponents whenever he thinks they’ve treated him badly. But he’d also be MVP. Fascinating and unforgettable." –– Carol Mitch, Best Damn Sports Show Period

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
We all tend to lose track of just how much change-as a country, a society, a civilization-Americans weathered in the twentieth century: the shock and chaos of two world wars, the hopeful uncertainty of the 1950s, the upheavals of the 1960s, the reconfigurations of the 1970s and 1980s, the technology-inspired turmoil of the 1990s. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars iRead 12 Nov 2005
Format:Hardcover
iCon got a bit of a thrashing when it came out. It was an unauthorised biography and the dispassionate and objective manner in which some quite sensitive topics are betrayed rightly annoyed the intolerant Mr Jobs. I am lead to believe by colleagues in the industry that many copies of iCon were sold under the banner of, “The biography that Steve Jobs did not want you to read.”
An attempted ban can be the best marketing device any author (although this book is co-authored by two extremely talented individuals) could wish for. Although I have to say this is completely unnecessary; the book stands up on its own merit. As well as being an insightful look into the crazy and quite frankly remarkable world of Mr Jobs, the book tells an amazing story about some of the biggest and most influential companies of the last thirty years. It also shows how, regardless of how damned talented Steve Jobs is, that luck undoubtedly played a part. The intriguing set of circumstances that led Steve back to Apple Computers Inc. after his initial fall from grace serves as a cold hard lesson in business as well as being an engaging read.
Once I started this, I could not stop turning the pages. It is a very well written book, and extremely entertaining on a number of levels. The book stands alone as an interesting story and a lesson in anthropology, psychology and politics. It is also a remarkable business text – but then again, what you expect from a well written biography about the man who reinvented computers, music and film?
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I have to declare I love Mac's, I love Ipods and I love every movie that Pixar have made - that should make me a fan of Steve Jobs.
This book tells the story of his life so far, from birth, through education and right up to the present day, it pulls no punches about both his personal flaws and his corporate failures - it is a real page-turner and left me as thrilled as I have been by any fiction by the likes of Clancy or Grisham.
If you love Jobs then read the book, if you hate him then read it, if you haven't heard of Jobs, Macs, Ipods or even Pixar, then read the book!
It should be compulsory reading for any business studies student and any would-be entraprenour.
Why, becuase it shows the reality of what real business is like in the real world - even if this version of reality is larger than life!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Knowledge! 23 Aug 2005
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Though unabashedly adulatory, this unauthorized biography of Steven Jobs - co-founder of Apple Computers and head of Pixar Studios - shows how he nearly squandered his career and fortune on ill-conceived and badly managed ventures. The writing is savvy and lively - if not always chronologically linear. The pace is quick and even readers with scant interest in computers, technology or animated movies will find the tale entertaining. Authors Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon wisely focus on how Jobs learned from his failures and became a success again by recognizing his own limitations. In that respect, we believe Jobs' journey holds important business and life lessons, and recommend it highly to all business readers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable 29 Aug 2006
Format:Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and once into it found it very hard to put down. Whilst an entertaining read I like other reviewers wonder whether we have been given a caricature of Steve Jobs as opposed to the real man. There are lots of relationships that I wished I knew more about such as his interaction with Woz.

Certainly worth looking at.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An account Steve Jobs may not want to read 5 Jan 2006
By Gino DB
Format:Hardcover
It's what an unauthorised biography should be, honest and as accurate as is "possibly" allowed without legal repercussions.
I found myself at points wondering “is this stuff too good to be true?” The answer is yes and no, the authors have done a fantastic job in researching Steve Jobs’ life and have been tactful in his most private life, however I felt that they were sometimes too biased towards the Steve Jobs ideology or rather "jobsian" attitude the authors refer to all the time. They almost seem too convinced of what they were writing was the truth, and how Steve Jobs would want it to be written rather than some of the raw and underlying truths of his personal and more publicised business life.
Overall the book was well written and as mentioned well researched, but beware, I am now convinced that I should save up for an iPod after reading how great and how revolutionary it has been to the music world.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Recently Steve Jobs has been named the CEO of the decade by Fortune magazine. The announcement was hardly surprising to anyone who has been following the business world over the last ten years. Apple Computer, the company that he cofounded and the one that his name will always be associated with the most, has gone from the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s to one of the most spectacularly successful companies in the World today and the top brand name. The announcement cemented his already stellar and legendary reputation.

Steve Jobs is a rare bird these days: an incredibly successful businessman whose personal life and adventures are almost as intriguing as his business dealings. This is especially true of young Steve, before he matured in a very sober and calculating professional. Stories of Steve's early life are masterfully narrated in "iCon," a very well written and intriguing book. The early chapters of the book are particularly fascinating, and anyone who is not familiar with the early days of Apple Computer and what led to its formation should absolutely read this story. It is filled with anecdotes and first-hand accounts that have since become an integral part of Silicon Valley lore. The creation of Apple Macintosh probably deserves a book of its own, and a very readable one can be found in Revolution in the Valley. This part of the book is a page-turner for any real Mac fan and was hard to put down.

The latter part of the book was rather disappointing. It was largely written from the outside perspective, and many of the stories presented there could have easily been gleaned from the newspaper accounts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book
I bought this as the Biography was a little expensive but it is a great book covers a lot of details which the biography covers though it goes on till 2006 only. Read more
Published 14 months ago by bl
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Jobs
I was saddened when Steve Jobs died as I felt it was the end of an era I had professionally been involved with, although I always was aware that he was an irascible character. Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Mr. M. Kostyrka
1.0 out of 5 stars Hero Worship!!
This is the worst kind of hagiography....forget about the 'warts and all' claims on the cover, this is basically just a homage to Steve Jobs. Read more
Published on 31 July 2010 by M . Purcell
1.0 out of 5 stars I got conned by the Author and one chapter
Bought this book at a normal store as I read the chapter of the clash of the Titans; Steve jobs vs Michael D Eisner. That was the best chapter in the book and the beginning. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2010 by Mistaray
5.0 out of 5 stars Just an Amazing Book
I bought this book and have not put it down or want to. If you want to understand steve jobs this is the book. Read more
Published on 19 Dec 2008 by Jason R. Content
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Person, Good Book
Being in my early thirties and working in technology, I've always had an interest in the early computing gang (Jobs, Woz, Gates etc.). Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2006 by Guy Williamson
3.0 out of 5 stars The story from college dropout to billionaire businessman.
The book tells a comprehensive story of the history of Steve Jobs business dealings. It says the subject is a driven, selfish sometimes rude person. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2006 by Bob Worth
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