Thursday, September 10, 2020

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never knew much about Steve Jobs, other than he was the head and founding member of Apple, a company that didn't particularly interest me. When he died, it didn't affect me more than it would on hearing of anyone's untimely passing, but I watched in amazement as masses of people the world over mourned. What was I missing? By the end of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I understood. When Jobs' death was described, after I'd invested hundreds of pages getting to know him, I was sobbing for what was lost – both for him on a personal level, and all the things lost to the world that he might have created had he lived.

This well-written, intensely researched book depicts Jobs' life, warts and all, celebrating grand achievements and exposing crashing failures. It depicts him as a difficult personality that I wouldn't have cared to know or work with, but whose passion and dedication to his ideals created products that really did change the world, and did it with an eye for beauty and simplicity.

I never jumped on the Apple bandwagon. I own the first iPod shuffle, but only because it came free with a new credit card more than a decade ago. In the late '90s I used a Mac daily at work for newspaper design, but I gladly returned home to my bland-looking but fully functional Windows PC at night, free of the crashes I'd had all day with that beautifully designed, turquoise-colored Mac at the office. Papers I worked at after that didn't use a Mac in the newsroom at all (but the graphics departments usually had a gleaming supply). It's been years since I've sat down to an Apple keyboard.

I'm glad I never went down that expensive road of buying Apple computers, phones and tablets because I love the products I have and am not interested in paying premium prices, but after reading this book I have much more appreciation for what Jobs and Apple were doing and understand why some people love those products so much.

The cool thing about Apple's innovations is that all the wonderful, beautiful, easy-to-use products they made are now available cheaper from other companies who copied Apple's ideas, so again, they're available to all of us. I think that's part of Jobs contribution to the world – not just what he did at Apple, but how his work pushed other companies to compete and offer good products (and some of them at vastly lower prices than Apple has). Jobs really did change the world in many ways, and you'll get a fascinating, vivid picture of just how he accomplished that in this book.

Note: I read this book in 2015 shortly after I started book blogging, and have no idea why I put it on Goodreads only and not my blog! I'm belatedly adding the review of this engrossing book here.

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