Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson
Writing a biography, especially of one of the world’s most celebrated innovators is not an easy task. However, Walter Isaacson accepted the task to write about the life history of Steve Jobs, Apple’s former celebrated CEO and founder. Having previously compiled and written the biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, Isaacson was already again to flex his maestro skills and experience in writing down Job’s biography. At the end, he produces a work that many contemporary writers would envy.
Unlike many other biographies, Steve Jobs is a strange book because it is written at a time when the 56 year old Jobs was in a critical condition fighting with cancer. Apart from that, Isaacson was given freedom to express his creativity and Jobs promised never to interfere with his work. Isaacson succeeds in portraying the true Jobs as the latter might have wanted to be portrayed. According to Laura June, a writer for The Verge (2011), the choice by the author to use simple, truthful and non-edited words from Jobs himself makes the book succeed in accomplishing its mission. In his lifetime, Jobs was a man who always stood up for what he thought was right and should have been done. While describing his childhood, Isaacson does not hide the fact that Jobs was a rebellious child towards his parents, who later give him up for adoption. He even goes on to say that “they were my sperm and egg bank,” giving every small detail of how irresponsible his parents were (Leith, 2011).
Perhaps what stuns the reader most in Isaacson’s book is that, even the near dying Jobs is not ready to give up his old antics because of the fast approaching death. While describing how Jobs was undergoing treatment in the hospital, Isaacson paints not a deathly picture but a lively picture that shows what a brilliant mind the former still was. According to Sam Leith of The Guardian (2011), his description does not invoke mercy from the readers but instead, challenges them for greater acts in life. While lying on a hospital bed heavily sedated, Jobs’ spirit does not show the signs of a dying man and instead, he challenges the hospital attendants to bring him five different masks so that he can choose which design to put on. Isaacson paints Jobs as a man who was still in control even when he could only but mumble a few words (Maslin, 2011).
Isaacson leaves many readers in shock when he describes who the true Steve Jobs was. Before the biography, many people around the world had seen Jobs as a highly talented and visionary man who always got it right all the time. However, the biography reveals that Jobs was not even visionary and in fact a less talented engineer. Instead, he was a marketing specialist and businessman who always tried all the methods available before finally choosing the best. Jobs is described as a man who was not afraid to take risks and even fail in life. On many occasions, he broke many machines while trying to make them look the way he wanted them to.
As much as Isaacson tries to paint the true picture of who Jobs was, one wonders whether he wrote the book without any biasness. This is because of the close moments he had spent with Jobs before the latter’s death. He might have written the book to tell the world about the ingenuity of Steve Jobs but at the same time, Job’s suffering might have added a feeling of mercy and pity in the author’s mind. The big question that one can ask is, could Isaacson have written the same piece of work had Jobs not undergone such a life of struggle, even up to the point of his death? That aside, Isaacson does a wonderful job in painting the strengths and weaknesses of a man who still remains an inspiration to many people in the world today.
June, L. (20110. Book review: ‘Steve Jobs’ Walter Isaacson. Retrieved from http://www.theverg e.com/2011/10/27/2517152/book-review-steve-jobs-by-walter-isaacson
Leith, S. (2011). Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson-review. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/25/steve-jobs-biography-walter-isaacson-review.
Maslin, J.(2011). Making the iBio for Apple’s Genius. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com /2011/10/22/books/steve-jobs-by-walter-isaacson-review.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0