Xip Blog

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Book Review)

Steve Jobs is the biography of the iconic Apple Executive & CEO, written by Walter Isaacson. I finished reading this book recently and thought why not write a review. So here I am 🙂

Steve Jobs’ Apple Computers redefined many technological products over the last few decades. Steve Wozniack, the co-founder of Apple (along with Steve Jobs) is the inventor of the computer as we know it now. Apple – I & Apple – II computers were popular. Macintosh introduced the GUI interface on computers. (Idea inspired from Xerox, but the latter did not intend to use it in a commercial product.)

Pixar, a company founded by Steve Jobs just after he was expelled from his own company (Apple), went on to produce many super-hit animation movies and was later acquired by Disney. Steve Jobs’ another company NEXT was absorbed into Apple, when Steve Jobs eventually returned. Once he returned, Steve created a revolution in the personal computing and entertainment space with his brave, innovative, and successful product introductions including iMac, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iPad, etc.

This is a fantastic book – to say the least. I loved the fact that someone has researched and presented a comprehensive account of Steve’s eventful and interesting life. Steve Jobs and Apple Computers have contributed a lot, and we should know the story of what, when, why, and how all that was possible.

Even if we don’t intend to build a company of that scale, the knowledge will inspire us to (attempt to) achieve perfection and elegance in whatever we are doing. Steve Jobs was obsessed with perfection and I guess some of that enthusiasm will stick on to us, readers, too.

Based on the biography, I think people who worked under Jobs should have found it difficult to adhere to his expectations, but as many of them admitted, his unrelenting demand brought the best out of them. No doubt he made powerful enemies due to his attitude and that made him lose his job, put him close to bankruptcy, etc. But I guess it helped him in the long run to become an unprecedented innovator.

If I need to mention two attributes of Steve that impressed me, they were his passion and eye for excellent design, which resulted in the marriage of art & technology; and his integrated approach to product development where he controlled the hardware, software, and applications to provide the best user experience. Or at least wanted to do so.

Frankly, before reading this book I was no fan of Steve Jobs and I thought Apple products were unnecessarily expensive. But now I am motivated to experience the magic and simplicity of at least one product – the iPad Mini, maybe? 🙂

I do have one gripe about this book – it’s long and feels long. But making it shorter may have been difficult. If anything, I feel, more information on his failed company (NEXT) and his initial days at Apple Computers (once he made the comeback) should have been included.

You should read this book – it will inspire you to (try to) achieve excellence and perfection in whatever field you are.