Review: Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

I’m starting with the bottom line.  If you are in any way interested in Apple or Steve Jobs, then this is the book to read.  There will  never be another that had access to the subject in the same way – it won’t get better than this.  There are so many great stories and you discover a lot:

• his ability to berate and insult people

• his extremely petulant behaviour, and the ability to suddenly burst into tears

• he had no problems abandoning friends when it suited him (not to mention his first daughter)

• his relationship with John Sculley, and the background story of Steve leaving Apple

• his long term relationship with Bill Gates

• the story of the 1984 commercial and the lack of success of the first Mac

• the evolution of the iPod, iPhone and iPad

• the Pixar story, and the relationship with Disney

• his long battle with cancer and how it affected his relationships

Especially as you get closer to the present day, it is revealing to hear the real details behind the stories we have been told.  It’s increasingly sad, as you know the end is approaching fast, and ultimately he is as human as anyone else.

A couple of little negatives: the book can get a bit repetitive – as if the chapters were meant to be self-contained and mentioning things again rather than relying on the reader’s memory.  You could make a drinking game out of hearing the term “reality distortion field” – getting nicely sozzled along the away.   Also, just at the end, Jobs is given too much credit for the coming of cloud computing, when he wasn’t a pioneer in any other way than he made very nice internet-enabled devices.  It’s a shame, as otherwise I thought it was a well balanced book.

Finally, a note to say that I read the audiobook version – an excellent way of getting through 600+ pages / 24 hours + of material.  It is well read, if not earth-shatteringly amazing.

Overall, a great book on a great (if imperfect) life.


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