A few days ago I finished reading the most authoritative biography of Steve Jobs, written by Walter Isaacson (a great biographer, written the biography of Einstein too).
The biography is really long, 526 pages. But after I finished reading the biography, I wish there was more written about specific things in Steve’s life, such as his Zen habits and his casual life. Still the book covered a lot of details in Steve’s life.
I wanted to read the book since it was published in 2011. But I got it in November of last year, and since I was busy with exams, I again put it on the shelf. I have not read many biographies, in fact I think this is the first biography I have ever read of anyone, but I think it is one of the best biographies ever written. Although I wanted and want more details, I don’t think Walter Isaacson has left any important details out of the book. The writing is simple and beautiful in it’s own way. And anyone who is a fan of Steve Jobs should read this. Walter Isaacson conducted over 40 interview with Steve Jobs in his house and in long walks (which Steve always preferred) for this book. And I don’t think there is another authoritative biography of Steve Jobs out there such as this.
Now a few words about the contents of the book :
I learned many things. Not just about Steve Jobs, but things in life. Things that matter. Things that makes life worthwhile. Sort of life lessons. Steve always said that….life is fragile…And when you read the biography it makes sense.
If you think Steve Jobs was in for the money, you are thinking wrong. If it was like that we wouldn’t have any tablet or smartphone right now. There would be these “unfriendly” looking computers all around. In many interviews Steve says that he never did anything for the money but money is amazing thing that enables you to do things. Making products isn’t about making some money, and then selling that company to another company.
One thing that is interesting is that he always looked on to create products that no one else thought would have a market, example : iPod, iPad, iPhone. He said and I am quoting this : “People don’t know what they want, until you show them” The target was always innovating at Apple. The only company that brought something really new to the market that never existed before was and is Apple. The first computer to have webcam was Apple’s powerbook. The first notebook computer to have wireless built-in was one of Apple’s notebooks. With all of this Apple became the most valuable company in the world in 2011. Money was never the target, other companies like Dell and HP would have that as a target. At Apple every employee likes to think of themselves as artists, not money makers.
Again it was not only that he created great products at Apple but if you count it he changed 6 industries : personal computers, animated movies (the company pixar), music (iPod and iTunes), phones (iPhone), tablet computing (iPad) and digital publishing (magazines and newspapers using computers).
He was a master perfectionist. When he got fired from Apple and started his new computer company NExT, when manufacturing one of his products he noticed that computer cases came with little lines on the corners, you know that little lines that is created with moulding plastic, that annoyed him and he flew down to the factory and made it correct. I wouldn’t think any other CEO would do that.
Aside from all this, the most important thing he wanted to do was created products that were simple to use and was art. In his words : I want to make a dent in the universe.
He had a way with the people around him. When the board at Apple decided to appoint a new CEO in the company he wanted to hire John Sculley (CEO of Pepsico at the time) as the new CEO, so after a lot of talks he finally said : Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life? or do you want to change the world?
There is a lot more. But you have to read the biography to get the full effect of his life. So go on and read it. The book also features many rare personal photos of Steve Jobs too.