I found myself listening every chance I could find – while doing dishes (which I actually volunteered to do just so I could slip on the headphones), running, driving (I always listen to podcasts or audio books while running or driving anyway), working outside, anytime I had an extra few minutes – it was that good.
In addition to being a highly inspirational book, it was also an honest look at who Steve Jobs was, flaws and all. Isaacson found that Jobs’ flaws were almost as destructive as his genius was successful.
The journey of Steve Jobs is filled with irony, but at the forefront of everything he did was a desire to change the world. He had a belief system that drove him, a need to control everything and a disdain for anyone who wanted to put profits above perfection. “It’s not about the money” was a common refrain.
You always know where you stand with Steve Jobs, Isaacson says “Steve Jobs had a tendency to see things in a binary way: A person was either a hero or a bozo, a product was either amazing or shit.” As Isaacson would point out on more than one occasion, a person could be a hero or bozo even on the same day. But as a rule, Jobs didn’t suffer fools.
Interestingly enough I’m not sure I would put Steve Jobs up as a role model. Don’t get me wrong, I love what he did at Apple and think that businesses would do better to attempt to emulate his outcomes, but he was not easy to get along with. He loved his family, but was not exactly there for them – even would he could be. His strange diets and ability to distort reality came with some side affects that hurt those closes to him.
But what a visionary he was. His ability to see what the customer needed, even before they did was unmatched. Few CEO’s embodied their companies like Jobs and his premature death is not just a loss to his family (who loved him dearly, despite his quirks), but to the world. We can only hope his spirit lives on in those he left behind at Apple.
I could write for hours about Jobs, but that would be giving away to much and taking the pleasure of reading this biography away from you. Rarely do I read biographies, but Isaacson’s Steve Jobs has changed my mind, I’m now reading his book on Einstein and plan to read at least four biographies a year.
It’s so cliche to say “pick this book up, you won’t be able to put it down,” but if it was ever true about anything, it’s true about Steve Jobs.
Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MSFP, AIF