Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is the authorized biography of Steve Jobs, written by the highly regarded biographer and writer Walter Isaacson.  Jobs had no control over the book and Isaacson calls it like he sees it.

Jobs is one of the most fascinating and complicated individuals I have studied.  He was a creative genius, at the intersection of art and technology.  He revolutionized six industries:  personal computers, music, phones, animated movies, digital publishing and tablet computing.  Isaacson believes that Jobs will be remembered as the most influential innovator of our day and that he will be held in esteem with Edison and Ford.

He built a company, Apple, which not only became iconic for style and innovation in technology, but was the world’s largest company by the time of Jobs’ death in 2011.

Moreover, Jobs could be a charming, charismatic, likeable man.

On the other hand, Jobs was perhaps the biggest narcissist I have read about or seen.  A control freak extraordinaire, he was driven, intense, perfectionistic – all of which helped him make great products.

He had a major problem with honesty, to the point that he distorted reality, seemingly unknowingly at times, and everyone close to him knew it.

He was quite willing to hurt people to get what he wanted.  He could be brutally honest in criticism.  He could be cruel and hot-tempered.  He would rant and rave, usually in a profane way.  He could be so disloyal to friends and co-workers.

Jobs was fabulously rich from a young age and yet he always cared more about great products than great profits.

Steve Jobs was the epitome of an enigma.

In many ways this is a sad book.  He was a lost soul, fueled by anger, forever searching but never finding.  There is in Jobs an unusual juxtaposition of genius and emptiness.

Would I recommend this book?

Not lightly.  It is helpful to understand the rise of Apple and Silicon Valley, and the world of a wealthy, eccentric businessman-artist.  But it does give the reader a graphic portrait of the lostness of man outside Christ.  And, unless you are a saint or in denial, it is difficult to read his story, self-centeredness on steroids, and not feel convicted about your own self-centeredness.

In sum, this is a superb portrait of a fascinating and obnoxious titan.