His story not history
Jobs relationships with other businessmen - almost all alternating between flattery and verbal brawling, is presented simply as Jobs' quest for father figures, even though it's clear that Jobs' adoptive father, Paul, who he considered to be just as much a father as if he had sired his son, remained a major influence on Jobs throughout his life.
Isaacson's relegation of the NeXT, interregnum years is understandable journalistically, but disappointing. Unlike Jobs' early life, the foundation of Apple and the development of the Mac, this is a period not well covered elsewhere, most notably by Jim Carlton's comprehensive 1997 tome, Apple. That book runs through to Jobs' return, and Isaacson takes up the story with equal focus.
Back in charge. Officially
To be fair, it's the period that is less well trodden by other Apple histories, and the one most familiar to readers who are not long-time watchers of the company, or those who've seen Pirates of Silicon Valley.
But if Isaacson treads over a lot of old ground, and provides little in the way of insight - and there's clearly not a lot to be had from a man whose life was so public and so well detailed already in the press - that doesn't make Steve Jobs an unengaging read. Isaacson is probably right: Jobs will be remembered, even if his legacy - a revived, triumphant Apple - proves unable to live up to the example he set.
Thomas Edison. Henry Ford. Steve Jobs?
Visionary? As Isaacson's work shows, products like the iPad and MacBook Air were actually devices Jobs wanted to make 30-odd years ago but was unable to because the underlying technologies weren't there. When technology finally caught up with Jobs' concepts, he turned them into reality. But crucially he could conceive of products like these at a time when computers, even Apple's, were big clunky boxes.
Love him or hate Jobs - a polarity typical of the man himself - there's no doubting the influence he has had on computing and other spheres. We'd never have had Toy Story and Pixar's other hits without him. The world is a better place for them if not for Apple's products.
Always in costume
And even those, frequently maligned as over-styled and over-priced, have changed the way computers are designed, made and sold. Windows wouldn't be Windows without the Mac OS, and participants in the open, collaborative world of Linux and open source wouldn't have had quite the drive they have without being able to kick against the walls Jobs believed it was necessary to erect around technology products.
Isaacson's biography may not bring any surprises, and may tell the fans nothing they didn't already know about Jobs from countless press reports and from his products, but there's no doubting Jobs' stature as one of computing's great characters. ®
Steve Jobs: the Exclusive Biography
It still amazes me to no end
How every "historian" or "Apple Fan" wants to attribute Steve with inventing everything under the Apple brand.
Hot tip: he invented nothing. Not one single concept that Apple has ever or will ever sell was invented by Jobs, not was it significantly changed from it's original concepts.
The Computer? Already there.
The GUI? Already created and shown to him during a visit to PARC.
The tablet? Already created and developed into prototypes by Alan Kay.. shown to Jobs during a visit to PARC
The mouse? The desktop concept? Shown to Jobs on a visit to (you guessed it) PARC, on a working machine that was production-ready but not sold.
The iPod? Nope. MP3 players were already rusting by the time iPods came out.
What he did was envision ways to bring products to the market, and to convince people to buy them. In other words: a sales guy, or a marketing guy; hell I'll go so far as visionary. To put him in any category other than the thieving scumbag he was is an insult to those that created what he stole.
I have more respect for Bill Gates than this guy, and that's unfortunately not very much.
We all know the story - angry nasty hippy guy drops acid, steals ideas, markets them as his own, makes a packet, gets shafted, is resurrected, steals more ideas and markets them as divine objects, makes a killing, shafts and belittles a whole bunch of people along the way and then dies.
What more do we need to know?
Read the book...
Or any of the other biographical accounts on the subject of Pixar's creation. Pixar was a research center and software products outfit in the hands of Lucas. It wasn't bringing in enough money and was not deemed much valuable, attested by the fact that Lucas chose to sell it when first requiring funding for his other ventures.
Steve Jobs did not design, write, animate, nor produced Toy Story in any direct way; that much is true. However, it is indisputable that he facilitated Lasseter and his team, and at the very least saw enough talent in them to leave them well alone in running the enterprise by themselves.
Toy Story was such a great work *because* Lasseter was left to his own devices, but this ostensibly would *never* had happened had it not been Jobs at the helm of Pixar. Certainly not under Lucas.
Toy Story ? Jobs ?
Oh come on. Toy Story was John Lasseter's baby not Steve Jobs'. As the earlier reg article pointed out Jobs wanted to shut the animation studio down:
Jobs just got VERY lucky with Toy Story. No vision of his involved.
Also, remember that it was Jobs payment to George Lucas for Pixar that allowed Howard The Duck to be released. No sensible film-goer has any reason to thank Steve Jobs.
In the UK at least, it's £12.99 on Kindle, £12.99 on iBooks, and (you've guessed it) £12.99 on Kobo.
Almost as though there's a cartel in operation...