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Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson
read on February 1, 2012

So like almost everyone else, I was really excited to read this book. Jobs was clearly the best businessman in a generation, as well as one of the most guarded and secretive, so there is remarkably little literature about how he worked, what he was like, etc. When he gave this guy, Isaacson, unrestricted access to himself and his company - you'd think we'd get something pretty incredible.

Well, Isaacson blew it, and now Jobs is dead and the best shot we'll likely ever have at it has been squandered forever.

Less pessimistically, the book was good. Quite good. Fun to read, and very very interesting. There is a ton of detail in there about Jobs that I certainly didn't know, and it certainly helped me get a more rounded idea of what he was like.

I haven't read many biographies. I don't really know what they're supposed to be like. But I'm guessing they're not supposed to be a book report. This book is more or less a chronological account of Job's life - and that's about it. The most interesting parts, by far, are the direct quotes from Jobs. My frustration is that Isaacson doesn't really DO anything. He is a guy that spoke a lot to Steve Jobs - that's it. He doesn't bring anything else to the table. He covers the "What". But what I wanted to get out of this book was the "Why". Why was Jobs able to do what he did? Why was he so visionary? How did he put all this together? Why did he relentlessly chase down simplicity and elegance when it made no business sense to do so? Why did the famously guarded man choose Isaacson to be his exclusive biographer? Isaacson doesn't connect any of these dots. I wanted him to elaborate on things like Job's famous Stanford speech, not just to reprint it. I never got the impression that Isaacson actually understood either Jobs or Apple, and the book is much worse off for it.

A big bummer.

Author Bio:

Walter Isaacson (born May 20, 1952) is an American writer and journalist. He is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. He has been the chairman and CEO of Cable News Network (CNN) and the Managing Editor of Time. He has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger.