Customer Review

209 of 237 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steve is the star in a rushed, balanced biography, 26 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography (Kindle Edition)
As an avid tech news fan, and Steve admirer, I couldn't wait for the release and quickly finished the book in two days. Steve, not Isaacson, is the shining star and his life makes for a fascinating story regardless of who is telling it. Steve's accomplishments, boldness, twists and turns, wisdom, intelligence, abrasiveness and intuition all contribute to intriguing reading. However, how good a job did Isaacson do?

Isaacson's job was "fair" for a couple of reasons. On the plus side, Isaacson appeared mainly objective in describing Steve, which is an important and difficult task, giving the controversial nature of someone like Steve. Isaacson, reveals both Steve's brilliant and ugly sides (I was a bit skeptical Steve would insist on a biography only painting him in a positive light). It was great to see his human side and get an understanding of Steve's polarized personality.

However, it was a little frustrating how much Isaacson re-told of which was already out there. I knew much of what he wrote about Steve - elements of his business strategy, dealings and philosophies and the Apple products he helped create and market. Most of the book's contents I was aware of through watching his keynotes, AllThingsD interviews, Stanford address and reading the articles about him on Wired, Time and other tech news sites. In fact, Isaacson often used such sources which I found slightly disappointing - like getting second hand info. On the bright side, I have not noticed any contradiction in these sources with Isaacson's version of Steve - it's accurate.

Having said this, Isaacson does give a fair amount of novel insight into Steve's family life, relationships and younger years which is not readily available through other sources. There is also a fair amount of detail about his Pixar years which I'm sure many are unaware of. Otherwise, light is shed on his relationship with colleagues and much about his personality, health and lifestyle are revealed. I think those unfamiliar with Steve and Apple might find this biography particularly enlightening about this talented, eccentric individual.

Finally, I do have a sense of Isaacson rushing this biography. The early and mid years were well covered, however later years were lacking on fresh insight and thoroughness. Chunks of story seemed glossed over or un-researched such as his relationship with Cook, Mark Papermaster's ousting, the reaction to Steve's passing, the future of Apple and perhaps more about his final days.

Something worth mentioning, is that the book did reinforce lessons I had learnt from Steve, the ones which stand out I will summarise:

* Life is short, make the most of it.
* We stand on the shoulders of giants, and it's our job to extend their work further.
* Focus on a few things you do well.
* Conflict can be very helpful in driving things forward.
* Love what you do and don't do it for money. Money is helpful in that it is there to improve the product/service.
* Keep re-inventing yourself.

Overall I find the biography easy to read, fairly thorough, provides some novel insight and balanced commentary and contains some profound words from Steve too. Reading a book about a man with this amount of intuition, energy, perfectionism, persuasiveness and determination can only enrich your life.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Nov 2011 20:51:53 GMT
Tammy P. says:
Jobs is a classic example of The Wishing Well Test at work.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jun 2012 10:44:24 BDT
I found the human side of this book compelling. As someone who doesn't follow tech forums, I also found the technical info useful.

Posted on 6 Oct 2012 10:18:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Oct 2012 14:47:57 BDT
To be frank, I was going to buy this book for my wife but this review actually put me off.
I'm not a Jobs or Apple fan myself but I found the 'stand out' lessons so facile that it instantly marked the man out as trivial.
I certainly hope that the book demonstrates that the man had a bit more substance than is shown in those derivative and facile quotes.
Indeed, try 'we are all dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants' (medieval in origin?) or 'life is short but art is eternal' Socrates.
Just 'cos he was rich and successful, doesn't mean he was wise (a classic example of the 'Beckham Test' at work).
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