Friday, December 2, 2011

Last Day of Patron Review Week - Thank You!

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

So, for starters, author Isaacson pretty much tells you up front that Jobs asked him to write a biography and at first, he wasn’t really interested. That was about six sentences into the introduction and struck me as strangely arrogant, and maybe apropos, that someone would ask to have a book written about their life. But it sets the tone of the book and shadows the narrative of Jobs’ upbringing, his disdain for authority, his often cruel personal and business behaviors, and most importantly, his utter brilliance. You will see his warts, his humanity, and his lasting legacy in a chronicle that began with his childhood adoption and ends with an unmistakable impact to our technological symbiosis.

There are ample opportunities to be abhorred by Jobs’ personality or behavior, but to do so would be to miss the genius of the man. Like so many historical figures, Jobs’ feet are those of clay and his imperfections are often hard to visualize along with the wisdom. His intensity, vision, and maniacal pursuit of perfection in function and form have embedded within our culture words like iPod and download. His skill in persuasion and the power to recognize his dreams have made worldly changes in animated movies (Pixar), digital music, mobile communications, and much more. He broke eggs but made omelets, and along the way made his passions transformed into what we as a consuming public truly wanted (Jobs didn’t believe in market research but rather believed that consumers didn’t know what they wanted until he showed them).

Perhaps his greatest legacy was that he challenged himself, and those he allowed to share in his vision, to “Think Different” – later an Apple slogan. Great minds have always had to dispel with conventional wisdom and challenge the unknown, and Jobs was no exception. His father instilled in him an instinct for perfection and his quest for achieving perfection in his work never wavered, even in the face of failures. Oddly, there is no mention of his death – no time, date, place – and while that absence is unusual, so was Steve Jobs.

Tom V.F.

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