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First "Steve Jobs" review finds biography worthy of its subject

post #1 of 72
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The first review for Steve Jobs' biography says that any book written about the Apple co-founder's life should adhere to the same rules of intelligent design the subject lived by, and "Steve Jobs" does just that.

In a book review published on Friday, the New York Times notes that Jobs' story "calls for a book that is clear, elegant and concise enough to qualify as an iBio," and goes on to say that author Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" does its best to hit that mark.

"Here is an encyclopedic survey of all that Mr. Jobs accomplished," critic Janet Maslin writes, "replete with the passion and excitement that it deserves."

The biography, set to be released on Oct. 24, is based on 40 personal interviews Isaacson had with Jobs before the former Apple CEO's death on Oct. 5.

Maslin calls "Steve Jobs" a biography of record, explaining that the author penned the 630-page book after Jobs authorized him to chronicle his life in 2009. Although Isaacson knows how to celebrate genius, being biographer of two long-dead geniuses, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, Jobs' biography posed a challenge as the subject was battling a mortal illness during the book's writing.

The critic goes on to suggest that because the book was written to be accessible to future generations, reading it so soon after the subject's death may seem strange. The critic gives the example of an account of the release of Apple's iPad 2, an event so recent that it is hard to appreciate in the context of Jobs' storied legacy. She finds, however, that the biography successfully reaches across generations, from current to future.

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson | Source: Simon & Schuster

The review summarizes the main stories Isaacson chose to paint the picture of Jobs' life, from the house where he grew up, to the founding of Apple in 1976 and finally to his years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. "Steve Jobs" gives deep insight into the private life and relationships of its subject, facets of life that Jobs closely guarded from the public eye.

Also detailed is the corporate intrigue Jobs participated in with rivals like Bill Gates and John Sculley. Maslin writes that the chapters devoted to Jobs' illness describe the "relative tenderness" of Gates' last meeting with Jobs. The review makes it clear that the influence Jobs had on those he met was an important focus for Isaacson.

While the book "greatly admires its subject" and focuses on Jobs and the people around him, the biographer's portrayals of product announcements, complete with Jobs' theatrical introductions, are the most "adulatory passages" of the biography.

Maslin says Isaacson basically compares Jobs to the writer's previous biographical subjects, emphasizing how deceptively effortless Jobs' ideas look due to his amazing foresight. As an example, he notes Jobs' virtual reinvention of the music industry with the creation of iTunes and the iPod.

Walter Isaacson

"Mr. Isaacsons long view basically puts Mr. Jobs up there with Franklin and Einstein," Maslin said. "Even if a tiny MP3 player is not quite the theory of relativity."

"Steve Jobs" is a streamlined portrait of Jobs and his legacy, one that is not analytical and gives an uncolored look into the life of its subject. It is the story of how Jobs overcame skeptics and obstacles to become a giant in the tech industry, but more importantly it is an opportunity to understand him as a man.
post #2 of 72
Can't wait to read it.
post #3 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota_Steve View Post

Can't wait to read it.

Just go to 9to5; they've pretty much posted the whole thing.
post #4 of 72
This shoud make Isaacson and S&S very rich.
post #5 of 72
If you're really a fan of Steve & Apple you'll buy this book on iTunes and read it on one of your devices
post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasland View Post

If you're really a fan of Steve & Apple you'll buy this book on iTunes and read it on one of your devices

But if I buy it on Kindle I get to read it on my Apple devices and then some.
Does that make me less of a fan?
post #7 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Mr. Isaacsons long view basically puts Mr. Jobs up there with Franklin and Einstein ...

Ben Franklin? - Yes, the similarities are quite remarkable.

Albert Einstein? - No, not similar at all and not even close to his level of understanding.
post #8 of 72
No link to the NYT article? Maybe I missed it? What a PITA for readers. As well as borderline unethical. John Gruber had a great post in July about attribution: http://daringfireball.net/2011/07/at...ion_and_credit

His point is that if you are benefitting from or referencing someone else's work, the least you can do is link to it. I agree.

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post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Ben Franklin? - Yes, the similarities are quite remarkable.

Albert Einstein? - No, not similar at all and not even close to his level of understanding.

Yea, I also find the Einstein comparison to be off. Steve was not a scientific genius. He was not even an engineer. Rather, he transformed industry, everyday technology & communications, and entertainment.

More of a Bell, Ford, and Disney wrapped into one
post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post


More of a Bell, Ford, and Disney wrapped into one

You might want to add P.T. Barnum in that mix.
post #11 of 72
This is going to sound corny. The iGeek in me wants to buy this in iBooks but I'd like to own it in hardback to be able to pass it along to friends and family, but mainly my kids. I want them to know him as someone who impacted the world probably for many years to come.

In my lifetime I've had the good fortune to watch great heroes, mainly in sports, thrill us with their great feats of daring and perseverance. I feel fortunate to have been able to watch Steve Jobs' story unfold and really see a human being on the hero's journey, and even take part in it, in a way.

I have no illusions about how he was personally. We've heard he was argumentative, combative, demanding, insulting, etc. I hope this bio sheds light on the human side of him also.

With great anticipation, I look forward to reading the bio.
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

..... Does that make me less of a fan?

Probably not, as I don't think you could ever be any " less of a fan" than you are now.
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

Yea, I also find the Einstein comparison to be off. Steve was not a scientific genius. He was not even an engineer. Rather, he transformed industry, everyday technology & communications, and entertainment.

More of a Bell, Ford, and Disney wrapped into one

Come on! No duh! Steve wasn't a scientist! Really?

Steve saw the world differently and didn't take a lot of advice about how he wanted things to be. He was a maverick in that way. Albert saw the world in his own way, owing to his great intellectual capacity. He moved the world forward with his vision and insight with his work much as Steve did with his.
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

Come on! No duh! Steve wasn't a scientist! Really?

Steve saw the world differently and didn't take a lot of advice about how he wanted things to be. He was a maverick in that way. Albert saw the world in his own way, owing to his great intellectual capacity. He moved the world forward with his vision and insight with his work much as Steve did with his.

It's obvious the comment they made is not coming from the context the book creates as the book is not yet in public hands, except in London and three media outlets. From the snippets I have seen online, it's about a way of thinking, not comparing science knowledge. The "judgement" of the Einstein comparison (from the man who wrote an in depth study of Einstein) seems more a knee jerk response, which we all have and are entitled to have, but hardly based on anything other than a Saturday morning opinion. At this point I am eager to read what Isaacson, a highly respected writer and global thinker, dispatched by both political parties on a variety of missions, has to say.
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Ben Franklin? - Yes, the similarities are quite remarkable.

Albert Einstein? - No, not similar at all and not even close to his level of understanding.

I can easily see it the other way.

Al was a big thinker. He had ideas, he had a vision, he made the impossible possible, yet others still had to work to make these ideas a reality because Al wasn't an engineer, wasn't a designer.

Ben, on the other hand, built his own inventions. That makes Ben a lot more like Woz than like Jobs.
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post #16 of 72
Definitely on my reading list.
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Ben Franklin? - Yes, the similarities are quite remarkable.

Albert Einstein? - No, not similar at all and not even close to his level of understanding.

Einstein's incredible vision was not something that is easy to quantify or credential. Neither was Steve's. I am not saying they were similar - they were very different, but they were both obviously geniuses of the first order, who changed the world.

By definition, genius is unique.

Note that Steve never received a degree, not in computer science, not in marketing, not in business. Nor even an honorary degree - what's up with that? There must have been offers. Maybe the book will explain.

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post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

Yea, I also find the Einstein comparison to be off. Steve was not a scientific genius. He was not even an engineer. Rather, he transformed industry, everyday technology & communications, and entertainment.

More of a Bell, Ford, and Disney wrapped into one

The foresight and willingness to back himself though - often against the experts who said it couldn't be done is why we admire him I guess. Snide lemmings have probably said that he had Aspergers - but if so - I'm glad he did.

Deserves the company of Eddison and Einstein - in that all thought differently, and against the consensus views of the time. And changed humanity - our experience of life - for the better.

The difference was that he bet billions on his unshatterable self-belief. And beat the house. Year after year. Again and again.

The nature of his education (and therefore not being a technically scientific genius) - is semantic and irrelevant.
post #19 of 72
Steve Jobs is a tough biography to write. It needs to portray a visionary, life style changer, and yet do it with the simplistic style that Steve enjoyed.
post #20 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

Yea, I also find the Einstein comparison to be off. Steve was not a scientific genius. He was not even an engineer. Rather, he transformed industry, everyday technology & communications, and entertainment.

Question is: did Isaacson actually compare Steve to Einstein, or is Maslin making the comparison? Or is she taking what Isaacson said out of context? Perhaps he only compared the broad influence and mindshare that Jobs' life had with that was Einstein. I don't actually care what some literary critic has to say; I'd rather read his book and make up my own mind.

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post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasland View Post

If you're really a fan of Steve & Apple you'll buy this book on iTunes and read it on one of your devices

So true! I did preorderd the hard copy just to have it, I might never open it... I'm really going to read it from my i4s.
post #22 of 72
As others have said, the Einstein comparison is absurd. Einstein was a genius, to be compared only with Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and a few others.

Jobs was just an amazing businessman with a great vision.
post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

As others have said, the Einstein comparison is absurd. Einstein was a genius, to be compared only with Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and a few others.

Jobs was just an amazing businessman with a great vision.

So a genius in business cannot possibly be compared to a scientific genius? So we cannot compare Shakespeare either? Or Ghandi, or Mozart, etc, etc. Only scientific geniuses count in your world?

Don't get me wrong, I am not agreeing that Jobs was only a businessman, just expanding upon your position.

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post #24 of 72
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Originally Posted by RagnaCaT View Post

So true! I did preorderd the hard copy just to have it, I might never open it... I'm really going to read it from my i4s.

That's a lot of page flipping.
post #25 of 72
Not a well written review. And the lady has never played angry birds (quote: a game where you use a slingshot to fire at angry birds). Tell me if it has poetry. Tell me if it inspires.
post #26 of 72
that would be Frankenstein?
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

So a genius in business cannot possibly be compared to a scientific genius? So we cannot compare Shakespeare either? Or Ghandi, or Mozart, etc, etc.

No, he cannot. Each accomplished individual should be celebrated in his own light. Comparison can be made when similar metrics can be applied.

Steve Jobs essentially had a view of how computers should be used and imposed that on his products. The mass market embraced that view.

Most people have no clue what Albert Einstein did, and can never understand even if they had 1000 years to learn. The math is simply beyond the capacity of 99.9% of humans.

Jobs altered our lifestyle.

Einstein changed and deepened our understanding of the universe, and therefore of life itself.

How can the two be compared?
post #28 of 72
I recently finished reading Isaacson's biography of Einstein and I can tell you that the personalities of Jobs and Einstein were indeed remarkably similar. Both were iconoclasts who defied the reigning orthodoxies of their respective fields and relentlessly pursued a vision of reducing the highly complex to the elegantly simple. Also, both were primarily motivated by a love of their work and a deep belief in its potential to help mankind.
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasland View Post

If you're really a fan of Steve & Apple you'll buy this book on iTunes and read it on one of your devices

This is one book that the best way to read it is the old fashion way, a real hardcover book. My iPad is for all other books that are not of this caliber.
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can easily see it the other way.

Al was a big thinker. He had ideas, he had a vision, he made the impossible possible, yet others still had to work to make these ideas a reality because Al wasn't an engineer, wasn't a designer.

Ben, on the other hand, built his own inventions. That makes Ben a lot more like Woz than like Jobs.

So you know for sure that he didn`t know of Rudjer Boskovic...
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyteo View Post

This is one book that the best way to read it is the old fashion way, a real hardcover book. My iPad is for all other books that are not of this caliber.

That's ludicrous.
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

But if I buy it on Kindle I get to read it on my Apple devices and then some.
Does that make me less of a fan?

Yes. But I'm right there with you.
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That's ludicrous.

Not really. Even Capt. Picard had a few treasured books in print. The rest were on his PADD.

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post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shogun View Post

Not a well written review. And the lady has never played angry birds (quote: a game where you use a slingshot to fire at angry birds). Tell me if it has poetry. Tell me if it inspires.

She's a smug NY film critic- actually liked The Phatom Menace. She knows what Angry Birds is- she's just trying to be wry.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


Most people have no clue what Albert Einstein did, and can never understand even if they had 1000 years to learn. The math is simply beyond the capacity of 99.9% of humans.

In college I had a course in special and general relativity and was very frustrated that I couldn't fully grasp it, even though I am really good at math and physics. Years later I heard that, of all people on earth, only a few in each generation actually "understand" general relativity. So I do have a "clue," probably similar to you. Unless you are the 1/1,000,000,000 person who actually gets it!

But, I deny that there are no points of comparison between Einstein and others.

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post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

You might want to add P.T. Barnum in that mix.

I would posit that Mr. Jobs was a genius magician transforming everyday items into extraordinary life transforming necessities. He took the ordinary and made it extraordinary. Thank you Steve for all of your gifts.
post #37 of 72
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post #38 of 72
What about the People who are blind?? Does this book come in audio form?
An Apple man since 1977
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post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

What about the People who are blind?? Does this book come in audio form?

Yes.

Filler.
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

You might want to add P.T. Barnum in that mix.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
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