Steve Jobs

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson is one of the best biographies of the founder of the Apple Corporation. Jobs hand picked the author to write his biography and he was given unprecedented access to Jobs and those around him which makes the biography compelling. Jobs begin his career in technology by calling Bill Hewlett of Hewlett Packard at his home to secure a job in his plant at age 13. A year later Jobs met Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) through a mutual friend. They shared a love of electronics and begin tinkering with designing electronics. Jobs meantime went on to work as a technician at video game maker Atari after spending a short time in college.

In 1976 Jobs and Woz incorporated Apple after Woz developed the Apple I computer. They worked out of Job’s garage. Woz had a much greater engineering background than Jobs and he was primarily responsible for engineering the early Apple computers. Jobs was in charge of overall project development including contributing great ideas such as the Mouse and securing financing and being a master marketer of the products. In 1978, the Apple II became the first mass marketed personal computer and was a great success.

Apple continued to develop new computers with varying degrees of success, but less than the Apple II, and continued to grow. Jobs hired a new CEO with more experience running a large company. Woz got pushed out and left Apple along the way and eventually Jobs himself got pushed out by the Apple Board in 1985 due to disagreements on how the company should be run. Mismanagement caused Apple to eventually deteriorate almost into bankruptcy. Jobs went on to found NeXT Computer attempting to develop another computer which was not successful but certain software developed was profitable. More profitable, Jobs bought what was to become Pixar from Lucasfilm which subsequently produced such hits as “Toy Story” and made Jobs very wealthy after Disney purchased the company from him.

In 1997 Apple asked Jobs to come back to help the company that had fallen on hard times. He did so and was largely responsible for rescuing the company while helping develop such products as the iPhone and iPad and iPod and made Apple extremely profitable by the time of his untimely death in 2011 at age 56. Jobs was always the idea man, primarily overseeing product development including marketing, and surrounded himself with great engineers to make his ideas happen.

This was an excellent book about an amazing although complicated man who went through highs and lows but his unwavering commitment to quality and innovation produced ultimate success. The book discusses his complex and difficult temperament including his, at times, vitriolic temper. He was very stubborn when it came to developing a product the way he wanted it developed which led to many amazing successes along with a few failures. This book is a well written, engaging read. I highly recommend this biography of a very interesting man who created Apple and some of the most important technology ever developed.