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February 10, 2012

Steve & Apple

Steve Jobs book + old Macintosh
Steve and my "antique" 512k Mac (1985)

I wasn't sure that I'd even read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson that I got for Christmas. Even though I've used Apple products since the original Mac came out in 1984, I've never been fan of Jobs himself.

Weeks went by until I ran out of other books to read and out of boredom I picked it up and started to read. Six hundred pages later I'm glad I did.

The book describes an incredibly driven and brilliant man who was a huge pain in the ass to work for or be friends with.

Not all business

The story of how Steve Jobs started Apple, was fired and disgraced, and eventually returned to build it into one of the world's most successful companies is told in great detail. Maybe too much detail. If this sort of American rags to riches story interests you, you'll enjoy the book.

There's another story intertwined, that of a man who was brutally honest yet cunning and deceptive at times. A man who attracted devoted friends who he sometimes cast aside. An adopted boy who suffered the pain of rejection, yet seemed to forget this lesson as a parent to his own children.

In writing the book Isaacson spoke at great length with Jobs, his associates and family. The stories aren't all flattering, not by a long shot. But by and large they are interesting.

The personal destruction that sometimes accompanied Jobs' fanatic pursuit of excellence reminds me of what Neil Young described as "collateral damage" to friends and family as he follows the music no matter where it leads.

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