Biography of Steve Jobs

I am currently reading Steve Jobs, a biography of the late CEO of Apple by Walter Isaacson.  It hit the bestseller’s list pretty quickly after Jobs’ death earlier this fall.  The hardcover edition is really heavy, so if you can get the Kindle edition, your arms will probably thank you.  On another note, you also wouldn’t have to worry about being startled by the creepy book cover on the Kindle version either.

This book really gets into the nitty gritty of daily life with Jobs, his life, and Apple.  Jobs started Apple with his engineer friend Steve Wozniak.  Wozniak was the one that put the products together, while Jobs was the one who handled the marketing and sales aspect.

Jobs’ most talked about quality in this book was how focused and driven he was.  He did not stop anywhere short of perfection, and that is putting it mildly.  That is certainly reflected in the quality of Apple’s products like the Mac, iPad, iPhone, etc.

The biography definitely points out the quirky aspects of Jobs’ personality, like his obsession with dieting and other extremes.  He practiced Zen, and was interested in the Buddhist philosophy.  It all goes back to how driven he was about things he wanted.  If you’re familiar with Apple at all, you’ll know that as a culture, it is very private, and Jobs himself is a very private man. This biography is the chance to get a glimpse into what really went on behind that mask of privacy.

Isaacson did over 40 interviews with Jobs over a course of two years, and also interviewed over 100 of his family, friends and peers.  So, that demonstrates how much thought and detail went into writing this biography.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.   – Amazon

I am in awe at how much has changed as far as technology goes.  But, if you look at the Apple II versus all Apple products now, they still remain products of Jobs’ vision of perfection.  They also are very user focused.  Apple has opened up technology to so many people who otherwise would not be able to use it.

Steve Jobs will keep me occupied for awhile, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it.  I think it also helps having some technical knowledge. But even for those who aren’t technical, they can still appreciate reading about one of the most influential men in the technology world.

Kindle Book Recommendations: Biography

One of the more interesting types of literature for many people is, in my experience, the biography.  Fortunately the Kindle library has plenty of ways to accommodate this interest.  While my taste tends more toward literary figures and such, one of the most popular areas to look at in today’s politically charged social environment is to look back through the historical political biography.  There’s also obviously always a bit of an urge to understand what drove the people who inspire us.  Here’s a few that I hope you might find interesting.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris

Theodore Roosevelt is a figure of fairly mythic proportions in American History.  He was a larger than life figure, practically a legend in his own lifetime, who struggled with problems that we can recognize today with no great amount of difficulty. He worked to combat corporate greed, terrorism, and environmental irresponsibility while making huge progress toward human rights reform and economic expansion. He’s also the guy we have to think for the national park system, if I remember correctly.

I’ll cop to not having read through this one all the way yet, though I did pick up a copy based on great reviews and a good reputation.  If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Teddy Roosevelt, this seems a good bet.  I’d say it’s well worth it.  It’s insane that anybody actually managed to live a life like his.

The Kindle Edition is $9.90

Last Words – George Carlin & Tony Hendra

This is the autobiography(or sort-a-biography) of George Carlin.  I’m going to make the assumption that you know who that is, because it would make me sad if you didn’t. I can’t even begin to say how much of an influence Carlin was on me, and I know I’m not alone in that, so it’s really amazing to get some insight into what made him the man he was.  This isn’t a humor book like his other writings, though there are laughs to be had, but I simply can’t recommend it enough.

It’s rare that anybody can be such a public figure, with so many admitted faults, and still have such amazing personal integrity.  He made it through family trouble, drug addiction, and a number of other problems without descending into the hypocrisy he loathed.  Maybe you wouldn’t like it if you weren’t a fan, I’m not sure, but it is at least worth a look.

The Kindle Edition is $9.99

The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Vol 1 – Mark Twain

Everybody knows who Mark Twain was.  The funny thing is that he knew they would for a long time to come well before he died.  This is the first volume of three, the next of which won’t be released for another 25 years.  It’s a fun read, if a little bit self-serving at times.  This is one place where the Kindle edition really stands out for making a heavily annotated edition easier to read.  All the footnotes, author’s notes, original dictation transcription, etc are hyperlinked to the relevant section of the main text.  Normally, Kindle books make flipping back and forth to reference things a pain, but this time it’s done right.  If you’ve ever been curious about the author we all grew up reading and hearing about, this book provides a lot of answers.

The Kindle Edition is $9.79