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Steve Jobs biography is Amazon's best selling book of 2011

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
After only weeks of availability, Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs has become Amazon's best-selling title of the year 2011.

Simply entitled "Steve Jobs," the biography moved to the top of Amazon's list of best sellers in 2011 this week, as first noted by MacRumors. In the short time it has been available for purchase, the book has outsold "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, "StrengthsFinder 2.0" by Tom Rath, "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, and "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.

At Amazon, the book is available in ahardcover edition, as well as digitally on the Kindle platform. The book can also be purchased through Apple's iBookstore.

The nonfiction title's tremendous success was expected, as on its first day of sales, an Amazon representative said Isaacson's take on Jobs was already on pace to become the top selling book of 2011. Amazon is the largest online retailer and bookseller in the world.

Total sales are not known, but "Steve Jobs" sold a total of 379,000 copies in its first week in America alone. The title went on sale in late October, just weeks after Jobs passed away after a long bout with cancer.



Before the biography even went on sale to the public, Sony acquired the movie rights to Walter Isaacson's authorized take on the life of Jobs. One rumor has claimed that actors George Clooney and Noah Wyle are in contention to play the role of Jobs, while Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has said he is "strongly considering" writing the movie.
post #2 of 25
"In Apple we trust"

(note : this post is borrowed from another forumer, I unfortunately was unable to retrieve it. I would be pleased to credit him)
post #3 of 25
I can't wait for other companies to release biographies about their founder(s). Samsung will simultaneously release a 7", 8.9", and 10" copy of it.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

"In Apple we trust"

(note : this post is borrowed from another forumer, I unfortunately was unable to retrieve it. I would be pleased to credit him)

MMTM1983, IronTed, and ZO have all used that phrase. ZO being the oldest recorded usage.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

I can't wait for other companies to release biographies about their founder(s). Samsung will simultaneously release a 7", 8.9", and 10" copy of it.

I can't wait for the RiM multi-CEOs (because that's apparently just as detailed as saying dual ) to release two books. Or maybe they could be in one book but you have to flip the book to the back and turn it upside down to read the other CEOs story. Or perhaps they could make it a choose your own adventure that when you get to any dumb business decision they took you have a chance of reading a different What If story instead. At least this way you get a happy ending out of it.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

MMTM1983, IronTed, and ZO have all used that phrase. ZO being the oldest recorded usage.

Thanks for crediting. I must say I was deeply moved when reading this book. I had already red several other books on the subject (and also seen "Pirates of the Silicon Valley" & "Triumph of the Nerds"), but those did not cover the entire Steve's life, as this book does.
post #7 of 25
The book sucks. Not because of SJ but because of the book.

Handling of Antennagate: 1,5 pages whereas SJ says one would learn more from it than from 2 yrs of business school.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I can't wait for the RiM multi-CEOs (because that's apparently just as detailed as saying dual ) to release two books. Or maybe they could be in one book but you have to flip the book to the back and turn it upside down to read the other CEOs story. Or perhaps they could make it a choose your own adventure that when you get to any dumb business decision they took you have a chance of reading a different What If story instead. At least this way you get a happy ending out of it.

There will be a book, but it'll contain just a few pictures and many blank pages. The words will come in a later update because it's not a core feature of biographies.
post #9 of 25
Google founders will give away their biography for free and include an advertisement on every page.

Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #10 of 25
I got the book right away. It's a fast read, despite its length. Written like a long magazine article, a really long magazine article.

I was disappointed, especially in the early part of the book dealing with Steves upbringing, family life with his adoptive parents (nary a word about the mother who raised him), glossing over his travel to India ... etc. Formative stuff beyond just the fact that he was given up for adoption. Also, not enough about his years in the wilderness at Next, in a way that gets into his head about the frustrations of those times and the new relationships that he built there that served him well later at Apple.

Like a lot of early followers of all things Mac, I know almost all of the stories covered. I really thought access to all these people, including SJ and the time to delve deep would reveal something more profound about the guy, but no. I think he was candid enough when talking to Isaacson about others but not so much about himself. While that's not a surprise, the authors job is to find a way to suss out the inner workings no matter what.
post #11 of 25
The funny thing is that Amazon made more money this year from selling Steve Jobs' biography than from selling Kindle Fire.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The funny thing is that Amazon made more money this year from selling Steve Jobs' biography than from selling Kindle Fire.

Amazon made more money this year from selling used underwear than the Kindle Fire

(that joke only works if we're still assuming every unit is sold at a loss they are, aren't they?)

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The funny thing is that Amazon made more money this year from selling Steve Jobs' biography than from selling Kindle Fire.

THey made more money selling this: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...sssoccersi-20/

Found at: http://www.filleritem.com/, a site used to find items that will push you to your SuperSaver Free Shipping limits.


edit: That book sounds really interesting.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by battiato1981 View Post

I got the book right away. It's a fast read, despite its length. Written like a long magazine article, a really long magazine article.

I was disappointed.......

This is a good post, thanks. "The book sucks...." is an example of how NOT to give your opinion.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Google founders will give away their biography for free and include an advertisement on every page.

The former CEO of HP will cancel a second printing of his biography and drop the price to 99 cents to move the unsold copies from the first print run.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #16 of 25
It's a good thing this book is selling well. Steve's story is fascinating, the book races right along, and it does what it is supposed to do -- give the general nongeek reader the broad picture with enough detail to keep it textured with little narratives. There's hardly a wasted word, but it goes on for 571 pages in the hardcover. I was surprised about how much there was about the Indian, Japanese and American countercultural roots of Jobs's vision when it came to product design and the higher purpose of his company.

I wouldn't steer anyone away from it. Siracusa, Gruber and several people here on AI seem to think the book should be a thousand pages long. And to repeat what I said in another thread, I think many people these days have trouble relating to what Jobs means when he says acid and Zen taught him how to see deeply.
post #17 of 25
Amazon? Shouldn't we all be downloading this from the iBookstore
I will NEVER pay $679 for an 8GB plastic cell phone
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I will NEVER pay $679 for an 8GB plastic cell phone
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post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I can't wait for the RiM multi-CEOs (because that's apparently just as detailed as saying dual ) to release two books. Or maybe they could be in one book but you have to flip the book to the back and turn it upside down to read the other CEOs story. Or perhaps they could make it a choose your own adventure that when you get to any dumb business decision they took you have a chance of reading a different What If story instead. At least this way you get a happy ending out of it.

If you buy the book, you get two PlayBook's for free.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

THey made more money selling this: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...sssoccersi-20/

Found at: http://www.filleritem.com/, a site used to find items that will push you to your SuperSaver Free Shipping limits.


edit: That book sounds really interesting.

Uh no

David Lewis was a die-hard socialist politician. For him, an adequate company was one that dumped its gross earnings into the treasuries of the unions representing its downtrodden workers. His son is Stephen Lewis who is a UN "Special Rapporteur", ie, over-paid flunky on the US dime. His grandson is Avi Lewis, who is married to Naomi Klein, writer of "No Logos". At one point in his career, David was the chair of the "Socialist International", which meant he was on the KGB payroll. However, he was probably more honest than Barney Frank.

Cheers
post #20 of 25
I read the book. Checked it out from the Library. The Book really sucked. Jobs would be disappointed.
post #21 of 25
Those folks didn't like the book because it was poorly written. Simple as that. The size was irrelevant. If you already follow Apple, you probably will learn very little from the book. Further, the book isn't organized well. It bounces all along the time line, and is confusing. Further, it doesn't ask very good questions. For example, Jobs said in the book he could see why John Lennon loved Yoko Ono. The author didn't ask Jobs to follow up and tell us why.

Moreover, the book paints Jobs as an asshole (which we all know), but gives us very little to tell us why he was successful. It glosses over his relationship with his wife, his kids, his sister, and others. For instance, after reading his sister's public tribute, and after reading this book, you'd never know he and his real sister were so incredibly close. Larry Ellison is said to be one of Jobs best friends. Yet, we don't know how Jobs met Ellison or does it include any stories that explain the nature of their friendship.

Cold Play and Nora Jones gave two touching performances at Apple's celebration of Jobs. The book doesn't mention those parties at all. The book also gets some details wrong. For example, it suggests Mobile Me was Apple's first attempt at online cloud like services. Yet, iTools was really the first attempt. The book also doesn't tell us why Apple went from iTools to Mobile Me and to iCloud changing from free to paid to a free model.

The book also glosses over the long period of time that Jobs was struggling at NeXt and Pixar. What was he doing during that time? He doesn't ask his wife about Jobs character and habits while working at these companies. Did these experiences humble him at all. These companies lost money for the longest time, and he had to keep them afloat out of the money he made from selling Apple stock.

The book talks about Jobs life long embrace of Buddhism. Yet, it tells me very little about his time in India, what type of Buddhism he practices, or most importantly what attracted him to Buddhism. The author asked Jobs zero questions about Jobs faith.

The author also makes conclusions without telling us the basis for his conclusions. For instance, claims Jobs position in regards to Bill Gates on a particular issue is unfair, but doesn't tell us why. He does this repeatedly.

Further, he doesn't give us an indication of how is relationship with Woz evolved especially after coming back to Apple. Jobs clearly shit on Woz when Woz wanted to leave Apple. However, Woz was very emotional when Jobs died. Did Jobs reach out the Woz to mend the fences.

Some kid was murdered for having an iPhone in New York. Jobs quietly reached out to the father. What made Jobs do that? How did the father react? None of that included in the book.

The sad thing is the author could have started to write this book after Jobs died and the book could have looked almost exactly the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

Siracusa, Gruber and several people here on AI seem to think the book should be a thousand pages long. And to repeat what I said in another thread, I think many people these days have trouble relating to what Jobs means when he says acid and Zen taught him how to see deeply.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Simply entitled "Steve Jobs," the biography moved to the top of Amazon's list of best sellers in 2011 this week, as first noted by MacRumors. In the short time it has been available for purchase, the book has outsold "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, "StrengthsFinder 2.0" by Tom Rath, "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, and "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.

I was just going to write that StrengthFinders 2.0 has been out for quite a while. Quite a few network marketing organizations are using it (including mine), so that probably keeps its sales up. You have to buy a copy for each assessment run.

For those people who missed something, I've already found something that connects the book to the current USC application. I find the connection insightful. I'll leave it up to the readers to find this connection (especially those who didn't learn anything - oh, well...).
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Those folks didn't like the book because it was poorly written.

Don't recall anyone saying that, only that it "wasn't literature" (Siracusa quoting someone with approval, I believe).

The book is well written, smooth as glass, a great read, no ego intrusions, only a couple of unfortunate editorial asides, like you and others have noted. And there are several technical gaffes, like saying the antenna band is brushed aluminum on the iP4. But this is minor stuff, should have been caught by a careful editor and/or fact checkers, and one can hope will be fixed in later editions.

I really don't understand why the default position these days is complaint and "disappointment," rather than simple appreciation for a job well done. Reminds me of the kind of reception a certain company's products always get when they come out.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


I really don't understand why the default position these days is complaint and "disappointment," rather than simple appreciation for a job well done. Reminds me of the kind of reception a certain company's products always get when they come out.

I have greatly appreciated this book. Of course no book (even that size) can give all possible details we would like to have on this subject. But may be the criticism I would agree with is the writing style, in a way difficult to define : may be the author made so many efforts to appear non emotional that his writing style is distant, which is very unusual with Steve Jobs, that many people like or hate intensely.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I read the book. Checked it out from the Library. The Book really sucked. Jobs would be disappointed.

Those folks didn't like the book because it was poorly written. Simple as that. The size was irrelevant. If you already follow Apple, you probably will learn very little from the book. Further, the book isn't organized well. It bounces all along the time line, and is confusing. Further, it doesn't ask very good questions.

I feel the same way. It reads like a convoluted mess of stories thrown together without much cohesion besides referring to emotional outbursts throughout.

To me, it read like it was written by Steve's enemies rather than his friends. It may paint accurate accounts of the events but a biased story is created when you only focus on either the negative or positive. From the book, I didn't gather in any way that Steve Jobs was a philosopher and a thinker and he very clearly was. You just have to listen to any of his keynotes, speeches or interviews to see this.

In the end though, Isaacson is an author who, like news reporters, are out to make money. He makes the most money by publishing within weeks of his subject's death, the portrayal he makes is irrelevant because he doesn't care about that.
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