Steve Jobs was a wonderful book. Because Jobs was a long time hero of mine I was familiar with many of the stories in the book. Yet Isaacson wove them into a complete biography and added in some personal background to flesh Jobs out into a complete person. I was particularly fascinated by how those around Jobs dealt with the Reality Distortion Field and his cruel nature. Jobs has a rare ability to seemingly warp reality by the power of his will. This was true when dealing with people, less so when dealing with inanimate objects, or his cancer. I find it odd that no one fought back in a physical manner. I think this was due to Jobs’ ability to read people and the easy going nature of those around him. I gained a new appreciation for Bill Gates. Gates’ ability to stand toe to toe with Jobs and neither be taken in nor repulsed by Steve was remarkable when compared to the way Jobs had his way with other industry heavy-weights.
This book made me giddy at times- the story of Jobs’ life illuminated patterns I’ve seen, opinions I’ve held, and reinforced theories I’ve come to call my own. An even better example of this was “U2 by U2“.
I purposely read this book in a different order. I started with his return to Apple Computer. After finishing the book, I returned to the beginning and read the first half. I found reading it in this order lessened the blow of his death, which is still fresh in my consciousness and let me leave Jobs at a nice junction of his life. The prodigal son returns.
My Kindle Notes
Rashomon effect: is the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it. -location 273
Hertzfeld, “We would learn to low pass filter his signals and not react to the extremes.” -location 2273
Hoffman ?, But if you were calmly confident, if Jobs sized you up and decided that you knew what you were doing, he would respect you. In both his personal and his professional life over the years, his inner circle tended to included many more strong people than toadies.” -location 2293
Atkinson taught his team to put Jobs’ words though a translator. “We learned to interpret ‘This is shit’ to actually be a question that means, ‘Tell me why this the best way to do it.’ ” -location 2306
Hertzfeld never ended up warming Sculley. “He was incredibly phony, a complete poseur,” he later said. He pretended to be interested in technology, but he wasn’t. He was a marketing guy, and that is what marketing guys are: paid poseurs.” -location 2812
A Regular Guy by Mona Simpson. [Mona’s ex-husband wrote for the Simpsons and named Homer’s mom after Steve Jobs’ sister.] -location 4527
Jobs’ goal was to be vigilant against “The bozo explosion” that leads to a company’s being larded with second-rate talent: “For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. What I saw with [Steve Wozniak] Woz was somebody who was fifty time better than the average engineer.” -location 6319
[I was also interested in what steps he took to save his life after getting cancer. I imaged, with over a billion dollars to his name, targeted treatments and DNA sequencing would be be an option. I was correct. I thought current cutting edge research could save his life. I was wrong.]
..he flew to Basel, Switzerland, to try an experimental hormone-delivered radiotherapy. He also underwent an experimental treatment developed in Rotterdam known as peptide receptor radionuclide therapy. -location 8270
He made a point of being brutally honest. “My job is to say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it,” he said, The made him charismatic and inspiring, yet also, to use the technical term, an asshole at times. -location 9685
[Although the book was released after Steve Jobs’ death, there is no account of his death. For that I recommend Mona Simpson’s beautiful eulogy in the New York Times.]