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Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography Hardcover – 24 Oct 2011
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* An extraordinary book which gives us a unique insight into the life and thinking of the man who has single-handedly transformed the way we live today
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Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years - as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues - this is the acclaimed, internationally bestselling biography of the ultimate icon of inventiveness. Walter Isaacson tells the story of the rollercoaster life and searingly intense personality of creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies,music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. 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.See all Product description
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Believed first and foremost in making great things before making money. Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are. The goal of starting a company is to make something you believe in and that will last, not to get rich. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - "less but better". To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. Design must reflect a product's essence. Good execution is as important as a great idea. A-players like to work together, not tolerate B-players. You can't afford to tolerate the B-players. Even the aspects that remain hidden should be done beautifully - a great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet just because it isn't seen (how many CEO's behave like that as opposed to finding cost-cuts?). Don't accept "no" for an answer, even if it means adopting a "reality distortion field". Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint. If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say "we'll fix it later" - that's what other companies do! Motivations really matter - if you don't love music, don't create a music product. The best way to begin a speech is to say "let me tell you a story", because nobody wants a lecture. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose: memento mori. "Here's to the crazy ones".
After reading this book, I am full of admiration for the genius of this man and the incredible legacy he has left behind for us all. I was fortunate, in that we chose it for our Self Development bookclub, and were therefore able to stretch it over 5 sessions. It allowed us to do justice to the book.
What shines through is Jobs’ unique personality which enabled him to achieve great things, namely ground breaking digital products combined with ground breaking designs with an emphasis on purity and simplicity. Uniquely Jobs worked at the interface of art and technology.
Oh, and did I fail to mention that he also, and at the same time! developed a world-class animation film company that slapped Disney around the face.
Now of course Jobs did not achieve all of these single-handedly he made great partnerships and then selected A players to be on his team. Jobs’ uniqueness is the way that he brought out the best of people’s abilities; he regularly made them go further than they thought they as people could go and that it was possible to go period. How he did this is not particularly pretty with a combination of staring, timed silences and simply telling somebody that what they had produced what s**t and that they could do a whole load better. Jobs’ world was black or white, something was either great or s**t and his opinion on a person or their work could vacillate between the two within the space of one working day! He said it like it was and regarded it as his job to do this.
He must have been a boss from hell but yet so great was his enthusiasm and so great was the product that was being developed that people stepped up to the plate to deliver. Their job satisfaction was in the delivery and getting that final ounce of praise, even if on occasion Jobs’ took all of the credit.
He was also a charismatic and fearless negotiator who would charm and bully the necessary people to get the best deal.
By him not shilly-shallying around and taking people’s feelings into account and being fearless he was able to achieve greatness.
Jobs’ attention to finite detail and laser-like focus was such that he would not baulk from going to a major re-design, just weeks away from the launch of a product. Design meant everything to him.
His laser-like focus enabled him to block out of his life things that he did not want to deal with. Most notably this occurred in his personal life when he was deciding whether to marry Laurenne Powel, or, most dramatically his own health. We’ll never know whether if Jobs had had the surgery on his pancreas when his doctors first advised him to have it, he would still be here continuing to develop great products.
The last one hundred pages left me with a heavy heart. It is within these pages that Jobs’ battle with cancer is recounted. I found myself willing him to beat the cancer, whilst knowing that he was already dead. His passing is a great loss because of the uniqueness that I have described above, namely the dove-tailing of art and technology.
So even if you’re a non-techy you will still enjoy this book. I highly commend it to you.