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Book Review & Discussion : Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

About this Event

In this event, you’ll learn

  • Why Steve was given up for adoption
  • Where he first learned about elegant and simple design
  • What product he first made a profit off (it was a prank device)
  • How he developed his RDF in the first place
  • What Apple’s initial amount of capital was (it’s less than $10k)
  • The only job Mike Scott had as Apple’s president
  • Why Steve never read the book his biological sister wrote about him
  • How Steve snuck back control over Apple and saved it from going bankrupt
  • When the first Apple store was opened
  • What Steve’s digital hub strategy was

About the Author

Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

Overview

Steve Jobs has made a giant contribution to our modern, computer-driven world. This book is analyzing the qualities this leader had that allowed him to change the world. Steve was a perfectionist with a very specific, single-minded vision.

In the months since my biography of Jobs came out, countless commentators have tried to draw management lessons from it. Some of those readers have been insightful, but I think that many of them (especially those with no experience in entrepreneurship) fixate too much on the rough edges of his personality. The essence of Jobs, I think, is that his personality was integral to his way of doing business. He acted as if the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and the passion, intensity, and extreme emotionalism he brought to everyday life were things he also poured into the products he made. His petulance and impatience were part and parcel of his perfectionism.

One of the last times I saw him, after I had finished writing most of the book, I asked him again about his tendency to be rough on people. “Look at the results,” he replied. “These are all smart people I work with, and any of them could get a top job at another place if they were truly feeling brutalized. But they don’t.” Then he paused for a few moments and said, almost wistfully, “And we got some amazing things done.” Indeed, he and Apple had had a string of hits over the past dozen years that was greater than that of any other innovative company in modern times: iMac, iPod, iPod nano, iTunes Store, Apple Stores, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, App Store, OS X Lion—not to mention every Pixar film. And as he battled his final illness, Jobs was surrounded by an intensely loyal cadre of colleagues who had been inspired by him for years and a very loving wife, sister, and four children.

THE BIG TAKEAWAYS:

  • Steve was exposed to his father’s love for mechanics and craftsmanship, as well as the simple, elegant design of his childhood home.
  • Psychedelic drugs are what Jobs would say refined his aesthetic.
  • Jobs realized that technology was a form of self-expression.
  • Jobs was a perfectionist, and that showed through his attitude.
  • A connected home is something Jobs envisioned, leading to the inventions of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
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