Steve Jobs by Walter Isaccson
There are three apples that changed humanity – the one that Adam shared with Eve, the one that fell on Newton and the one that Steve Jobs founded. Here is one billion dollar hippie, the round peg in the square hole, who changed the course of humanity with his innovation, obsession with design and passion to create great products. Steve Jobs is an inspiration to many. Entrepreneurs idealise him, apple fanatics worship him and Silicon Valley folks look up to him. By launching the iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs created a multi billion dollar industry for mobile app developers such as me, almost overnight. Walter Issacson was requested by Jobs to write this book and it serves as an important material to read for those who like to know about the man who built the most valuable company on earth.
Steve is born to an unwed couple. His mother puts him up for adoption, seeking educated folks to adopt him. Paul and Clara Jobs adopt him and struggle to keep him in school. His father being a mechanical engineer, teaches him the basics of design in his initial years and builds up an attitude of perfectionism in Jobs. His parents send him to Reed College as they had promised to his biological parents. But he drops out of college and takes calligraphy classes. He develops his obsession in developing great products while in those classes. He falls in love with a woman named Chrisann Brennan and gets her pregnant. He abandons her and the newborn.
Steve takes a trip to India in search of spiritual knowledge. He spends some time in the ashram of Neem-karoli-baba and tries to find answers to spiritual questions in his life. He reads this book- Autobiography of a Yogi which gives him a sense of direction in his life. When he comes back, he teams up with Steve Wozniak to start Apple- the company that is the most valuable one today. Out of his parent’s garage, Steve and Wozniak hire a bunch of huslers to build the Apple I, a computer meant to be sold to a local electronics store. It was very different from the computer we know today.
Competition with IBM and collaboration with Xerox gives Apple the know-how required to develop the Apple II, a personal computer that would change the way humans interact with and used computers. Then came the Macintosh. The reader get’s to understand the struggles and stories that went behind the making of each of these machines. The book then talks about the relationship between Steve Jobs and John Sculley. What started as a friendship between innovators eventually turns out to become an unbearable and ugly relationship, eventually leading up to the ouster of Jobs from Apple. The events leading up to this is exciting to read and teaches a lesson or two to the one reading.
Jobs then starts out NeXT computers. Around the same time he gets into the animation movie industry by starting Pixar. He keeps himself engaged producing cooler and better products. He partners with Disney and they produce the Toy Story series. The book goes onto explain the role played by Jobs in these two companies until Apple acquires NeXT and Jobs comes back to Apple. It then talks about his role as CEO and the advent of the iPad, iPhone and the iPod. It narrates the story of these wonderful products that we have at our hands today.
The book talks in detail about his personal life. It details his dietery habits, rebellious attitude and his unique character. His perfectionism is seen in all the things he does as well as in the products we use today. The book talks about his relationships, his marriage with Laurene Powell and his kids. Unfortunately, due to his weird habits, Jobs is diagnised with cancer. The book talks in detail about his fight with the fatal disease and the role of his near and dear ones in this struggle. Jobs eventually dies of the disease in 2011.
He leaves behind a legacy that we all know today as Apple. The book has helped me get a clearer understanding of the man, his nature, his way of doing things and his uncompromising obsession with producing quality products. Steve Jobs would be an insipration to many and continue to be admired and imitated for many years to come. He shall most certainly be remembered as a hippe who changed the way we all go about our lives. He should be rightfully credited for all those wonderful devices which we hold and use today, that have become such an imprtant part of our lives. Read this book to know the incredible story of passion and pain that lead to such great products taking shape and reaching us.
I end with a quote – “Stay hungry, Stay foolish”
Happy Reading !!
17th December 2017