Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I just finished listening to/reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I have to say that audio books are without a doubt the best way to pass the time when you are on a road trip alone. Unfortunately, I don’t live that far from work, so listening came in very small chunks. In fact, at the end I had to check out the book to finish it.
Apple was that cool company that you wanted to work for if you were in the tech business, which I was in those days. That is, until you heard that Steve Jobs was kind of a scary dude. People avoided him in the hallways, the legend goes, for fear of being yelled at.
Walter Isaacson doesn’t do anything to dispel that myth, because it wasn’t one. According to this biography, Jobs yelled at people all the time, calling them stupid or their work crappy. In fact, one of the strongest impressions I got from this bio was that Steve Jobs was kind of a jerk (a nice way of saying what even he called himself). He was a control freak to the max, but he attributed it to his passion for perfection and simplicity.
And he wasn’t an engineer or a designer, although he listed himself on a number of patents that Apple filed. It turns out that Steve Jobs appreciated equally what those two disciplines brought to the table, and he made sure that both carried equal weight in the products that Apple delivered.
Just this month in an article in the Harvard Business Review, Isaacson summarized “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs” (To read it, go to the Library home page and enter Harvard Business Review under Search the Journals List toward the bottom of the page, then follow links to the April 2012 issue of HBR). Isaacson summarizes fourteen qualities Jobs possessed that other leaders could emulate, among them focus, simplify, push for perfection, take responsibility end to end, and many others.
Jobs was an odd guy, an enigma. But without his quirks and idiosyncrasies, we wouldn’t have the iPod, iPhone, iMac, iPad, or even the MacBook and its predecessors. It is a worthwhile read if you are interested in the early days of the PC industry and one of its most influential participants.
R. I. P. Steve Jobs.
Review written by Jennifer F.