Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson

Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Steve Jobs was a man obsessed with perfectionism and minimalism. He had a unique ability of intense focus, which allowed him to eliminate the unimportant tasks and focus on what's at hand. As a minimalist, he wasn't really materialistic and always had the goal of building something for society, unlike the other business leaders that competed with him at the time.
  2. The success of Apple was driven by Jobs' ability to manipulate others into believing his ideas through a "reality distortion field". He was an expert in changing the perception of others, and did the same for the Apple products. One way to further cornerstone his belief was by writing it on the "Apple Marketing Philosophy" as 'impute' in the early days of the company.
  3. Jobs' death was the result of his belief in having total control over everything, ignoring the advice from many doctors, which is something he had shown in Apple products as well. He had kept his fruit only diet since a young age, which resulted in damaging his pancreas. Steve Jobs passed away on October 5th, 2011, which devastated an entire generation of future entrepreneurs. However, his incredible legacy will continue to live on.

Impressions

I've always been a fan of Steve Jobs for as long as I can remember. I resonate with his perfectionism, as well as having the belief in removing the clutter in our lives. Jobs and Wozniak are a duo that I highly respect, and would love to see be documented about more. On one hand we have Jobs who was a controlling businessman who knew how to portray his products, and on the other we have Wozniak who had a fascination for building stuff people used and was more keeping to himself.

But one thing people who worked with Jobs tend to point out is his intense focus. Sir Jony Ive (who Jobs respected highly, making him a powerful figure in Apple) spoke about this in an interview with Vanity Fair which was great (I recommend you check out the full video).

Just like Phil Knight in Shoe Dog, Steve Jobs also emphasised the importance of having a driving passion for the dark times in a company. He was dropped from his own company, but later came back and saved it. Without him coming back, Apple would go down a dark path and produce some of the worst products to ever exist (like the Newton). Anyways, Jobs found his passion for design from his adopting father who worked as a car mechanic. His father was the type to paint the back of a fence, even though no one will see it. That attitude allowed Jobs to develop that perfectionism in him for the smallest things, which I think as a result drove Apple to success.

Who Should Read It?

If you're a fan of Steve Jobs, and want to know what the fascination behind him is, then this book would be a great one. If you're not into reading books, then Danny Boyle's film (not the bad one) is another spin of his life, mostly portraying Jobs' relationship with his family, which is something I didn't go over too much in this book note. Regardless of which route you take, they both give insights into his personal and work life, and I'm always happy to see the smaller things in their lives.

Overall, this was a great book, and one of the most enjoyable biographies I have ever listened to. Walter Isaacson depicted Jobs as many things, but definitely an interesting man that comes once in a lifetime.

How It Impacted Me

  • Understanding that the path I take to where I want to be in life doesn’t have to be the same as others.
  • Just like Jobs, I don't believe in starting a company to make money, but instead to benefit society as a whole with something I believe in.
  • Driven to "make a dent in the universe" as Jobs would say.
  • Making a conscious effort in improving my deep focus (won't be as good as Jobs’) to get stuff done.
  • To “Think Different”, and not do the same thing as everyone else.

Some Quotes

You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.

Some people say, "Give the customers what they want." But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'" People don't know what they want until you show it to them.

When you're doing something for yourself, or your best friend or family, you're not going to cheese out. If you don't love something, you're not gonna go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.