Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was an asshole. He was brutally honest, took credit for other people's work, and believed ordinary rules didn't apply to him. (My "favorite" example of this last attribute is that he never put a license plate on his car and always parked it in a handicap spot.) For someone that is renowned as an artist and visionary, he ironically saw the world in black and white: everything was either "genius" or "bullshit." Despite all this, he changed the world in a profound way that hasn't been seen since Thomas Edison.

Isaacson does an excellent job of describing this mercurial and complicated person. Jobs comes across as temperamental and unsympathetic, but his passion for his work shined through allowing his friends and employees to forgive a lot of his behavior. He had the uncanny knack of seeing to the heart of a problem, but still allowed himself to be swayed by psychics, herbal therapies and natural healers, and bizarre diets and cleanses. He raged against Microsoft and Google, often accusing them of stealing his work, when in reality he himself stole virtually everything unique about the Macintosh from Xerox. Isaacson takes the difficult task of describing an unlikable man and achieves something amazing: at the end I found myself admiring Steve Jobs.

First Sentence:
When Paul Jobs mustered out of the Coast Guard after World War II, he made a wager with his crewmates.

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