Duncan Wilcock


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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Book Recommendation: Steve Jobs Biography

No, you probably won't be surprised that I've read it.  Yes, it was good, and yes I recommend it.

At times it felt like a history of Apple, which in a way it is, since the two subjects are so intertwined.  It was a trip down memory lane in a lot of ways for me, memories of the Apple ][ that my Dad bought way back when.  Not surprisingly, it linked together a lot of that history for me in new ways.

The best review of the biography that I've read was in the Guardian, by Jean-Louis Gassée, one of Apple's senior executives in the 80's, and featured this outstanding paragraph:
The arc of Steve's life is the stuff of legends: abandoned at birth; raised in Silicon Valley; an acid-dropping, ashram-dwelling college drop-out, hacker, and co-founder of the most iconic of personal computer companies; fired at age 30; re-inventor of animated movies at Pixar; the struggle to create the NeXT big thing; the return to Apple in the most stunning turnaround the industry had ever seen; reshaping the music industry; building a world-class retail network in his own image; re-inventing the smartphone industry and grabbing half of its profits; and, finally, after 30 years of false starts, making tablets a reality and grabbing iPod-like market and profit share as a result. An arc that saw the unmanageable hippie become the head of one of the world's best-managed companies. And he died just as he reached the pinnacle.

It was a very interesting and enjoyable read, and I think even more interesting will be to read it again in 20 years or so.

Update 2-Dec-2011:
I still enjoyed the book, but agree with this criticism by Thomas Q. Brady and John Gruber.