Book Review: Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’

Steve Jobs will forever be known as prime force behind Apple. ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson is his definitive biography, requested and authorised by Jobs himself.

Having read quite a few biographies, Isaacson’s biography stands out as excellent. Isaacson is a good storyteller, and combined with Jobs’ energetic and polarized personality, this book was never difficult to read despite its length.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of this book his how Jobs ruled Apple’s product development. Despite not being either technical or a programmer, he had an amazing sense of product usability and aesthetic, and he applied this with an amazing relentless energy to many fine details over the years of product development at Apple. His management style of yelling at people, which seems so common in tech development in various guises, is not something I would want to work under but is nonetheless fascinating to observe from a distance.

I believe the beauty of this biography is that Isaacson manages to create a perfect balance between the personal and the technological. There is great detail on Jobs as a person, which is to be expected. But what makes this biography stand out is that it describes his influence on technology with sufficient detail so that the book doesn’t become just a list of biographical facts. For instance, I really enjoyed the descriptions of how Jobs was involved with the evolution of a product from a design and usability perspective.

Isaacson also manages to give just the right amount of detail of the supporting characters so that we see Jobs’ life in its social entirety, without too much character introduction or diversions. Highly recommended.

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