January Book Review: Steve Jobs

As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I decided I wanted to read one book a month outside of my required readings for graduate school. Since my parents bought me Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson for Christmas, that seemed like a natural book to kick off 2012 with.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the book is holy shit, that’s a long freaking book. And it is. It took me almost exactly a month to get through it, and I’m typically a very fast reader. Due to the time investment, I would only recommend this book to people who are staunch Apple users and who are really fascinated about learning about the Apple products that they own and love.

The book is divided up by product and takes a deep look at how each one was conceptualized. To make things more interesting, they also intertwine the product development cycles with tidbits of Jobs’ oftentimes tumultuous personal and professional life. After reading this book, I’ve realized that Apple really could have failed years ago and the products I depend on everyday might not have ever come to existence. It’s such a strange thought.

Highlights of the book for me included:

  • Learning about what Jobs was like as a youth and what life events helped build his philosophies on life, products and business
  • Learning about Jobs’ strange habits such as going on ridiculously strict diets and being so picky about design that his home went unfurnished for months
  • Getting an inside look at what it would have been like to work for Jobs, who was a really big prick to the people who didn’t perform in the way he thought they should
  • Seeing just how many connections Jobs had… which shouldn’t have surprised me, but I didn’t realize Al Gore was on the board of Apple
  • Hearing from Bill Gates about what it was like to compete with Apple and learning more about their complicated relationship

All in all, I’m glad this was the book I chose for my first month. It was truly fascinating and I felt like it was pretty fair and balanced.

Next up: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

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