Sunday, January 15, 2012

He wanted to change the world. And he did it

Is 700 pages a lot or a little to fit whole one's life? The answer is: not enough. Especially when this life was full of passion. And so was the case of Steve Jobs – a man who wanted to change the world. And did it. These words may seem an exaggeration. But calm down, I'm not another worshipper of the Apple, a company founded and run for many years by Jobs. I don't have iPod, iPhone, iPad nor any other i-what's it called. Yet this book makes it clear how revolutionary were Jobs's inventions and how much work it was needed to produce the final products.

Biography „Steve Jobs” is called by the publisher „authorized”, although neither Job nor any one of his family read the book before it's been published, nor had they any influence on its content. At least that's what the author Walter Isaacson and the publisher say. I believe them. Jobs is presented as a man of flesh and blood, with many flaws. I don't think he would have agreed to present such an unfavorable image of himself, if he had had a control. He himself didn't want any control, leaving Isaacson completely free hand in writing. This book was influence-free until the end also because Jobs died before the publication, losing a long battle with cancer.

Isaacson wrote his book, basing on over 40 interviews with Jobs as well as on interviews with over a hundred members of his family, his friends, enemies, colleagues, competitors. This resulted in a very interesting story about a man whose life was full of ups and downs, and whose visions revolutionized the following industries: personal computers, animation, music, smartphones, tablets and DTP.
„Passuming that the best way was to create something valuable in twenty-first century is the fusion of creativity and technology, he founded the company in which nothing uninhibited imagination merged with the amazing achievements of modern art” – we read on the cover of the book. The succeeding pages show how he managed to do this. We meet those whom he met on his way to use their abilitites, friendship and love. The word „use” comes to my mind because it's the way the book presents Jobs's character – on the way to realizing his visions he didn't retreat before anything: he exploited others, lied, cheated and betrayed. In his company they used a term „Jobs reality distortion field” which meant that for him only his rights were the only correct ones and yet he was able to convince others to think the same.

He was uncompromising and sometimes even rude, bluntly criticizing everything that he didn't like, calling it „crap”. He used to say that perfect products could be only created by the A-class team, there was no place there for others.
This approach led to the creation of such innovative products as iPod, and aftermath iTunes, which has revolutionized the music industry; and many others. His obsession with perfection resulting from the combination of technology and content was so big that while creating iMac he invented a special type of screws which didn't fit any screwdrivers – in his opinion no one should try to tamper with the equipment made by his company.

Although many Apple products used the ideas of other companies, it was Apple that led their production, for example of tablets or smartphones, to such a perfection, and produced devices that met, so it seems, all the needs of their users. It wouldn't have been possible without the approach which was so characteristic for Jobs and which all those who worked with him had to accept.

Despite a considerable size, this biografphy is easy readable. Because it's a very colorful story that shows how important in our lives are: creativity, character, passion and loyalty to one's values.

Title: Steve Jobs
Author: Walter Isaacson
Publishe: Insignis, 2011
Original language: English
Polish translation: Michał Strąkow, Przemysław Bieliński
Pages: 730

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