Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

I’m a romance author. I’m a romance reader. But I also belong to a book group and we’ve read a lot of interesting titles that I wouldn’t pick up on my own. In February, it was the Steve Jobs biography.

It is looong book and I admit groaning a little. I’m not an Apple aficionado, and though I like technology, it’s mostly because of what it can do for me. I’m not that interested in geeky stuff (though must confess I began my working life as a technical writer and then a computer programmer!).

So, I bought it in the audio version, deciding I’d listen to it as I rehabbed my broken leg each day (which takes a couple of hours). I didn’t have high hopes…but turns out I was fascinated.

Jobs, the man: Isaacson doesn’t sugarcoat his character. He was difficult, often not particularly loving to his family, he burst out crying when he didn’t get his way. But he had a kind of genius that pushed people, inspired people, and allowed others to excuse him his bad behavior. What I’d love? His wife’s book. She has a fascinating story to tell.

Jobs, the designer: Here was his gift. He wanted his products to be beautiful inside and out. Packaging was important in his mind too. He thought that opening an Apple product should be a pleasurable and important experience for the customer. (A now you’re part of the tribe kind of thing.)

Jobs, think different: What I found maybe most fascinating was his attention to the advertising and presentation of new products. He was hand’s-on with every aspect of product roll-out.

Takeaway: Highly recommend. Might be great for listen during a road trip with a husband. And here’s the real deal. We’re PC people, probably because that’s the world I started programming in. But we’ve had a couple of Apples in the house over the years via Surfer Guy’s workplace. Never felt they were intuitive (again, maybe because of our early PC/DOS experience). Our phones are Android. But I’m thirsting for an iPad after reading the book. I want to give Apple another chance to wow me.

The best quote (I’m paraphrasing): Jobs said when they developed the iPhone, they designed the cell phone =they= wanted. That’s the same way I feel about writing. I write the book =I= want to read.

Do you have an Apple product, and if so, are you a fan? If you don’t currently, do you want one?

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9 Responses to Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

  1. Cindy Gerard says:

    I don’t have any apple products – hard to believe, I know. I’m not a person prone to love technology. I use it because I have to and yes, because in many cases it makes my life easier. but I’ll never be one to go out and buy the ‘next big thing’. Jobs clearly was a genius and it was very sad when the world lost him.

  2. Christie Ridgway says:

    You do wonder what he would have influenced next! Like you, I’ve never wanted the next tech thing. I did push for smartphones when it was time to get new cell phones. Surfer Guy thought he didn’t have a need (turns out I really don’t, since I spend so much time at home with my computers), but he loves everything it can do for him.

  3. michelehauf says:

    I am an Apple freak! Yes, I’m part of the tribe. I have partaken of the Kool-Aid. Jobs is genius, especially when it comes to design. Because yes, it all starts with the unboxing. Seriously, people post pics online of the unboxing process when they get a new Apple product. It’s just that exciting. To open the matte white box, peel aside the vellum and look upon your shiny new product. I know it sounds strange, but dude, it works. I’ve had Apple products ever since my first computer, and will have them until I die. I like being in the tribe. 😉

    But I still haven’t picked up the book! Must do that soon. The man was a visionary.

  4. loisgreiman says:

    I feel badly that I don’t care more. 🙂 I mean technology is almost a necessary evil for me. I’m a tactile kind of person. If I can’t feel it and smell it and hear it, it’s not real. Weird perhaps.

  5. The PC world lost me at Vista. It crashed endlessly, but it the middle of a deadline it finally drove me over the edge and I bought an iMac. For years, Kylie had been telling me Macs were better…and I wish I’d listened to her sooner!
    The learning curve sort of came at the wrong time at the end of a tight deadline, but I am so in love with Macs! No virus or spam software to buy/renew year after year, super dependable machines, and an incredible support staff at Apple. I wanted to be able to upgrade my RAM last month and my five year old old iMac couldn’t take more, so I called Apple to discuss my needs and that nice young guy chatted with me for 53 minutes to discuss what I needed, what the options were. I bought a refurbished unit that meets my needs perfectly, and it was on my desk in three days. I too wonder what incredible new technology might have been introduced if Steve Jobs had another twenty years with Apple.

  6. kylie brant says:

    I’m a huge Apple slut 🙂 Have been coveting an iPhone for years but ATT doesn’t work well where I live. Now that you can get a Verizon plan, maybe next phone… Bought my 87 year old father an iPad for Christmas just so he can keep up with family with facebook and email. And I thought if he got used to going to online CNN, history channel, webMD…things he’s interested in, it might help pass the time, especially in winter.

  7. I’ve never heard a discouraging word from an Apple user, but I don’t have one. Yet. Like Lois, I use the technology I need, but I’m not generally looking for the next new thing because I finally mastered the new thing from several seasons ago. What I want now is one gadget that serves as laptop, reader, phone, GPS, cook and bottle washer.

    I’ve kinda been eyeing the ipad.

  8. Christie Ridgway says:

    Knew I’d find Apple fans here! You make me even more interested in an iPad, since I’m really not in a market for a computer right now. Both my laptop and desktop are fairly new and work fine. Not sure that I can be seduced by packaging, though.

    That said, I use to think they put something in the air at Nordstrom. I’d walk in there and everything looked so pretty! So necessary that I walk out with something!

  9. Leanne says:

    Christie, great review! I’m semi-interested in an I-phone, but I’m taking the pause that refreshes. I hate being forced to learn new technology. I think we all need to “think differently.” THANKS for the review! xo

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