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Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

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کتاب استیو جابز شدن از زاویه‎ای شخصی‌تر به جنبه‎ی انسانی استیو جابز که کم‎تر به آن پرداخته شده است نگاه انداخته و مسئولین اپل و خانواده‎ی جابز به‎شدت از محتوای این کتاب راضی هستند.

464 pages, Hardcover

First published March 24, 2015

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About the author

Brent Schlender

5 books130 followers
Brent Schlender, 60 years old, is a writer, editor, and author, best known for his award-winning magazine profiles of prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders of the Digital Revolution. In 2010, SVForum, the largest and oldest industry organization in Silicon Valley, awarded Schlender its Visionary Award for personifying the spirit innovation and entrepreneurship with his journalism. And in March of 2015, Crown Business published “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” the culmination of a three-year collaboration between Schlender and writing partner Rick Tetzeli.

Schlender wrote analytical business stories for 30 years, first for The Wall Street Journal starting in the late 1970s, and continuing after 1989 through a 20-year career as a bureau chief and editor-at-large at FORTUNE magazine. He wrote dozens of in-depth feature stories about the exploits of many of Silicon Valley’s most famous figures – Apple’s Steve Jobs, Intel’s Andy Grove and Craig Barrett, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Sun’s Scott McNealy and Bill Joy, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, to name just a few.

Schlender also is considered the journalistic authority on Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, who he first met in 1985. And over the years, he wrote extensively about Sony Corp. over the decades, and worked closely with each of the company’s CEOs, starting with founder Akio Morita. During Peter Drucker’s final years, Schlender wrote many articles based on extensive, in-depth interviews with the famous management guru. His stories have been characterized both by his extended and intimate access to his subjects, and by the depth of his background reporting and knowledge of business and technology. But his writing also reflects his extensive worldly experience of working and living abroad, primarily in China, Japan, and Latin America.

Schlender and his wife of 31 years, Lorna Jacoby, live in San Mateo, CA. He has many other creative interests as well. For many years he played tenor saxophone in a Bay Area jazz and rhythm and blues ensemble, and more recently has explored making digital visual art. And in 1999-2000 he worked with film director Robert Altman and cartoonist Garry Trudeau to develop a television series called “Killer App” about genius, greed, skullduggery and vanity in Silicon Valley.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 871 reviews
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,000 reviews35.9k followers
September 10, 2016
Loved this audiobook!
"Becoming Steve Jobs", by Brent Schlender, is not to be confused with the biography by Walter Isaacson

I found this audiobook 'more' satisfying than all other books and movies I've seen.
It feels more balanced ---I learned more about his personal life - things that were missing in other Books and movies--and I felt I had a greater understanding of who he was as a human being: the good and the bad. The last half of the book we see a real major shift in Steve. He transformed himself- matured - grew into himself- became the powerful leader for Apple. ----

What I love best is how deeply personal this book is -painting a more accurate biography.....with tons of details. More information about his family - work ethics growing up. An only child -- had been adopted. I loved reading about when he was young and first worked at Atari-- all that he learned at Pixar... and the narration of this audiobook is top notch terrific. I was never bored.

Inspiring! Interesting! Informative! Emotional!
A great tribute to the legendary Steve Jobs! It's still sad for me that he's no longer living.....Truly the Disney or Einstein of our day!
Profile Image for Marks54.
1,331 reviews1,154 followers
April 7, 2015
There has been a lot of press about this book on Steve Jobs. Most recently, the senior management at Apple made a point in emphasizing their support of the Schlender and Tetzeli book as superior to the Walter Isaacson authorized biography that was published shortly after Jobs died. The claim is that the Isaacson book overemphasized the negatives of Jobs' personality to the point where people who worked with him did not see how they could have worked with him had the portrait painted of him by Isaacson been true. The broader story of this book is that the key to the success of Jobs in his return to Apple came as a result of his learning from his failures at Apple and Next Computing. The book also emphasizes the importance of his work with Pixar as a source of mentoring for Jobs on how to successfully manage high level creative people.

The book is fairly effective and easy to read. It provides interesting detail on how Jobs managed at various points in his career and how his management improved over time. The sections on Pixar are especially interesting.

On the whole, however, the book was a disappointment given the hype. I drew the same story from the Isaacson book as is claimed for this book - the Jobs learned from his failures and grew to be a world class manager whose success at Apple was totally justified. At the same time, the details on the behavior and personality of Jobs does not differ between the books to the extent that Isaacson's critics - and this book's promoters - claim.

There is a difference between the books, however, and I think Isaacson's book is superior to the Schlender/Tetzeli book. The difference has to do with the point of view provided by the author. "Becoming Steve Jobs" looks backward from the huge success that Jobs achieved after returning to Apple and interprets the experiences prior to his return in light of his later success. This perspective sheds a more positive light on Jobs and provides more order to his thinking and behavior than there may well have been. The Isaacson book does not do this -- leaving more of the task of making sense of Jobs' occasionally odd and even objectionable behavior to the reader. I am much more comfortable with letting the reader think about what has been read and what type of a person Steve Jobs was. There is much to like in the life of Steve Jobs, just as there is much to be puzzled about. It is reasonable that those who worked with Jobs would wish to see as favorable a perspective as possible presented, especially one that reflects favorably on Apple and its current projects. While reasonable, providing a more positive perspective does not make for a better biography and it has not done so here. While the book is not an exercise in hagiography, the intent to improve the way in which the Jobs legacy is received is clear.

Nobody really disputes the accomplishments of Steve Jobs or the strength of his legacy at Apple. Jobs did not tolerate excuses and I suspect he would not tolerate editorial excesses in explaining away what he did and what he was like. That is part of what makes his story -- warts and all -- so fascinating.
Profile Image for Michael Perkins.
Author 6 books354 followers
March 30, 2023
I've covered the Silicon Valley beat for years as a journalist and an author. This is THE best Steve Jobs biography. I realize that Jobs himself tapped Isaacson to write the big, fat, white book, but this author is far better qualified given his background. One simple example of his influence: he was able to, long before it ever happened onstage, to bring Steve Jobs and Bill Gates together, at Jobs' house, then in Woodside, CA, to do a private interview with them. I can't say I know any other journalist who had that kind of clout.

Isaacson completely misses the most important part of the Jobs' story, the core, if you will. It was the story of what Jobs learned in exile from the 12 years he was at his failing company Next, before coming back to Apple. That opportunity arose because Apple bought Next. And Jobs had been primed by failure to come back on very different terms and a lot wiser.

What you will find in this book and not in the big, fat white one is how Jobs was mentored by the CEO of Pixar (a company in which Jobs invested heavily), Ed Catmull, on how to manage highly creative people. Jobs had no idea how to do this the first time around with the Macintosh team. He was not going to make some of the same mistakes on his return.

After cleaning up the Apple product line, and the marketing, Jobs turned his attention to a new OS for the Mac and the iProducts. Again, this comes from Next. It's operating system became the basis of the new Macintosh and the iProducts. The full story of this is not effectively covered in the big, fat, white book.

This book also has the virtue of being shorter than the big, fat, white book. The author wisely chose not to repeat what most people already know about Jobs, including some of the favorite stories. He moves on to new stuff, which was the right choice.

CODA:

The Isaacscon book was published in 2011. In 2005, Jobs gave an excellent commencement address at Stanford in which he placed the story of NEXT as central to the Apple turnaround. His speech was widely circulated on the Net, with millions of viewers. How did Isaacson miss that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd_pt...

Coda 2:

The back story is that Jobs liked the book that Isaacson wrote about Benjamin Franklin, another inventor and creator. So Isaacson was approached by Jobs (who knew he was dying) and asked Isaacson to write a book about him. But, as I've said, some important things were left out because of Isaacson's lack of knowledge. The book came out the same year as Jobs died (2011).

There was some speculation that Isaacson rushed to publish it to match the death of Jobs and get more publicity for the book. This left less time for review and fact-checking of the Isaacson book. And Jobs was in no condition to help with that any more. It was an unfortunate irony given how meticulous Jobs was about getting everything right.
Profile Image for Jacob.
407 reviews115 followers
March 31, 2015
There's quite a bit of press about this book setting the record straight vis a vis Walter Isaacson's authorized biography, but I don't really like all that fuss. Let's leave negative talk about Walter Isaacson's book out of it.

This book is really good. I'm inspired by Steve Job's restlessness and insatiable quest for building insanely great products. His focus and passion just gives me a bit more energy to work harder to try to make a difference. It's the same inspiration I got from reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The feeling that what really matters is quality. From the smallest minutia to the broadest strokes. It's all about quality.

I felt like I had a good sense for Steve Job's life and work after Walter Isaacson's biography on him which covers all the major parts of his life (in some aspects more completely than this biography, if my memory serves me correctly), but Brent Schlender had a different, perhaps more intimate, vantage point from which to narrate the story of Steve Jobs. My favorite parts of this book were accounts of the little moments in Steve Job's life that could only be spoken about by people who knew him closely. First-hand accounts of interactions with John Lasseter, Jony Ives, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates made Steve Jobs come to life in a new way.

Brent Schlender went out of his way to make the case that Steve transformed from the brash, punk, capricious founder of Apple into a strong, disciplined leader, who was a good friend and a good father and husband. It is a story of change and growth, the archetype we all love, and it makes him and his story that much more endearing.

I often feel a bit sad at the end of a biography when the subject dies, as if I am losing a friend I have grown to care a lot about, but I felt especially reluctant to finish this book today. I don't want to be Steve Jobs, but I sure like his story. Would've been a thrill to know him.


---
Below are notes and quotes for my personal reference:

Steve to John Lasseter: "You know, when we make a computer at Apple what's it's lifespan? About three years? At five years it's a doorstop, but if you do your job right, what you create can last forever." An interesting perspective on tech vs content. Tech gets stale much faster, while great content can live for many, many years.

"I watched Bob Dylan as I was growing up and I watched him never stand still. If you look at true artists, if they get really good at something it occurs to them that they can do this for the rest of their lives and they can be really successful at it to the outside world, but not really successful to themselves. That's the moment that an artist decides who he/she is. If they keep on risking failure they're still artists. Dylan and Picasso were always risking failure... I finally decided I don't really care, this is what I want to do. And if I tried my best and fail, well I tried my best." - Steve Jobs

"The reason you sugarcoat things is that you don't want anyone to think you're an asshole. So that's vanity... If he really cared about the work, he would be less vain and talk directly about the work." - Jony Ives

"On almost every film they make something turns out to be not quite right, and they have an amazing willingness to turn around and do it again until they do get it right. They have always had an amazing willingness to not be governed by the release date.It's not about how fast you do something. It's about doing your level best." Steve Jobs talking about something he learned at Pixar.
Profile Image for Richard_C1.
24 reviews3 followers
December 2, 2018
Epic. Inspirational. Mind blowing. The story of a reckless idiot transforming into a visionary leader. Becoming Steve Jobs tells the story of Steve Jobs from the perspective of a close friend. It's a story of finding hope after getting fired from his own company. A story of restoring personal relationships. A story of decisions. A story of facing death. A story of of transformation. In this book, Brent Schlender reveals the true personality of Steve Jobs.
Profile Image for Eeoo.
6 reviews1 follower
March 16, 2015
I devoured this book in two days after I found it one and a half weeks early (before its on sale date) at my local book store! It was a very unique read. It covered a timeline of Steve Job's professional career, much like his autobiography did, but the interviews with those who were closest to him show a different perspective on those moments than what's highly publicized in the media. I really enjoyed seeing this side of him and marvelling again at the true genius he really was. It's a crazy loss to humanity and technology advancements that we no longer have him around.
1 review2 followers
May 1, 2015
There's been a lot of hoopla about this biography in the press, and I must say I agree with most of it.
I was working on an assignment project on the history of computing, so I did quiet an intense study about Apple and Steve Jobs.
It is far superior to Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs and in my opinion second only to the much lesser known and kinda obscure Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.
That said, I did find the description of the early part of his tenure a bit negative, or to quote Andy Hertzfeld:

"In the early days of Apple, Steve helped instigate the personal computer industry with the Apple II, starting from scratch, and then revolutionized it again with the Macintosh, achievements which would be the most significant of a lifetime for practically anyone else. The authors hardly interviewed any Apple employees from the early days, so there’s no new reporting here to justify their negativity; they seem to be trashing Steve’s early career simply to accentuate the contrast with his later one."

All in all I greatly recommend it
Profile Image for Abilash Amarasekaran.
15 reviews2 followers
May 4, 2015
The author explains the part of Steve that is not known to the public , most of it is not known well to the author himself. He is one of the few reporters who were close to him and cause of this it allowed him to understand Steve as a person rather than the tech genius the world sees him to be.

It is not a book on how to be Steve Jobs, it is foolish to think that you can become Steve Jobs just by reading the book. What made Steve his is ability and desire to bring new technology to the people. It is a growth story of how an dreamy super hero who one shots to fame fails on his second and third act and finally realizes that he needs the help of people around him to achieve his goals. Sounds like a plot of any Pixar movie. LOL.

Steve is made a human in this book.The author shows of Steve's sensitive side and at the same time his well known arrogant side. Going through it you will see that Steve 1.0 had strong beliefs and thought that he was correct 110% of the time and all others were wrong.

Personally I think Steve is just an ordinary man born at the right time at the right place to make this happen. More of an "Outlier" than ordinary if you get what I mean. I also believe that the becoming a father pushed his growth and allowed him to understand how to handle people and working with Pixar he learned how to leave people when they are best at what they do.

I hope people like this and try to relate their own problem with Steve and never give up on their dreams.
Profile Image for Ken Liu.
Author 433 books20k followers
May 9, 2015
Lovely book.

As many others have noted, the Isaacson biography suffers from a lack of understanding about the technology business and what is interesting about Steve Jobs. This one is not very interested in the "gossipy" bits about the life of Jobs and far more focused on how Jobs learned to become an effective leader after being fired from Apple so that he could have his second act.

Jobs was someone who gradually learned how to make the most of his strengths while tempering his weaknesses -- he never fully overcame them, but he learned how to make them get out of the way of his strengths. Despite the book's intense focus on the "work" rather than the "life" of Jobs, the result is a far more nuanced and rounded portrait of the man than the Isaacson biography. The best biographies, I think, do not so much tell the story of a person's life as to give you a way of connecting the dots of your own life and to try to recognize the human fragility in the subject, writer, and reader alike. This is one of those biographies.
Profile Image for Carl.
45 reviews25 followers
May 17, 2020
A way more nuanced version of Steve Jobs' story than Isaacson's account, offering a glimpse into a more human and vulnerable side of the often misunderstood Jobs.

I don't believe in worshipping people. When you meet them, they are normal people like you and me. However, it's impossible to deny Steve Jobs was truly an inspiring person that helped change things for the better. He did so by becoming insanely good at something through finding and pursuing what he really loved. Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.

In India, my friend, conveying what his guru taught him, told me the other day about how to give. You should always do so discreetly, and it shouldn't be for any other reason than purely for the sake of helping others. It was profound. I think Steve chose to kept large parts of his life private, and as a result was misunderstood. And he was fine with that.
Profile Image for Sarthak Pranit.
108 reviews62 followers
July 8, 2015
To give it to you in one line - its the better biography of the icon.

I truly believe that there were greater visionaries than Steve Jobs. But, the person called Steve Jobs is far more interesting that the visionary we all knew, or atleast thought that we knew.

It's a decently engaging book, but its the experiences and interviews narrated in this book that set it apart. It's the transition of the man from the incorrigible punk to the hardcore follower of essentialism that sticks with you after you read it. It takes out Steve from the stage and puts him in a room for a conversation. If you have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, you will come across a lot of 'Hey, the same thing I read it in' moments.

One conversation that will stick with me is his narrative about the crazy ones...

"I watched Bob Dylan as I was growing up and I watched him never stand still. If you look at true artists, if they get really good at something it occurs to them that they can do this for the rest of their lives and they can be really successful at it to the outside world, but not really successful to themselves. That's the moment that an artist decides who he/she is. If they keep on risking failure they're still artists. Dylan and Picasso were always risking failure... I finally decided I don't really care, this is what I want to do. And if I tried my best and fail, well I tried my best." - Steve Jobs

Profile Image for Matt Beckwith.
91 reviews4 followers
May 26, 2015
Steve Jobs selected someone else to write his autobiography. I read that one, too. And I enjoyed it. But I kept thinking it was the iconic leader's attempt to control his story. When the company he founded endorsed it I thought that made it the true and complete story.

Then I caught wind of this book and that many people closest to Jobs felt the previous book didn't do him justice. So, I started this one. And devoured it.

Becoming Steve Jobs was wonderful! It was a very different look at Steve Jobs than the ones I've read in other works.

Amazing story.
Profile Image for Patricia.
627 reviews20 followers
May 30, 2015
Apparently the authors wanted to let the world know that Steve Jobs had a warm side and had evolved as a leader over the years. All I know is that although the Jobs story is compelling, his personal and professional faults are well documented here and I tired of the "Steve could be a jerk BUT" tone throughout the book. The title could have been "Apologizing for Steve Jobs."
Profile Image for Jeff Williams.
14 reviews
April 6, 2015
I prefer the Walter Isaacson biography of Jobs. Becoming Steve Jobs is a history of the computer industry from the Apple I to the PC to the iPhone and a biography of Jobs combined (you may or may not like that) and paints a slightly warmer picture of Jobs in a few respects, but he was what he was, and the impression of Jobs from both books is very similar. This books has more of a 'business book' kind of feel to it....and I generally hate business books, but this is generally entertaining and worth reading if you want to read more about Jobs.
Profile Image for Mal Warwick.
Author 29 books402 followers
April 6, 2017
This book follows by four years Walter Isaacson’s authorized, best-selling biography, Steve Jobs, which was released just months after Jobs’ death in 2011. Three principal facts highlight the differences between the two books:

First, the authors of Becoming Steve Jobs are journalists who covered the Apple co-founder from 1986 through his death in 2011, while Isaacson, though unquestionably a masterful biographer, was named as authorized biographer only in 2009.

Second, though I have no way of knowing for sure, I believe that Becoming Steve Jobs was written in reaction to Isaacson’s bestselling book. As the principal author, Brent Schlender, a reporter and editor for Fortune, asserts in the Source Notes following the text, “we are trying to achieve with this book . . . a deeper understanding of Steve Jobs’ ever-evolving arsenal of entrepreneurial skills and capabilities, and the deepening of his almost messianic drive to have an impact on his world.” (Deeper than what, I ask? Or who?) In other words, despite his notoriously bad behavior during his earlier stint running the company, he had grown up a lot, learned a great deal about management, and come to understand better both his capabilities and his limitations. Doubtless, the diagnosis of the cancer he lived with from 2004 to 2011 also helped sharpen his attention on those things that were most important to him.

Third, in a way the most attention-getting, Becoming Steve Jobs has been enthusiastically received by the people who knew him best: those he worked with at Apple and Pixar, and his peers in Silicon Valley. By contrast, the reception in the Valley for Isaacson’s book was mixed at best, despite the rave reviews it received in all the right places (The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and so forth). I loved it, too. My review is here. But I didn’t know the man.

Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, his co-author, elaborate on the reality that helps explain all three factors. During the nine years he ran Apple before his ouster in 1985, “at his childish worst Steve Jobs was really nothing more than a spoiled brat.” Later, however, as they write, “While away from Apple [from 1985 to 1997], Steve Jobs had started to learn how to make the most of his strengths, and how to temper somewhat his perilous weaknesses. This reality runs counter to the common myths about Steve. In the popular imagination, he is a tyrant savant with a golden touch for picking products and equally a stubborn son of a bitch with no friends, no patience, and no morals; he lived and died as he was born — half genius and half asshole.” If that had been the full picture, they insist, Jobs could never have “pulled off one of the greatest business comebacks ever.”

Schlender and Tetzeli emphasize the role of other remarkable individuals in the education of Steve Jobs. First was Regis McKenna, the legendary marketing guru of Silicon Valley, who led the effort to develop the Apple brand. For a time, John Sculley played that role — a short time. Then came the pair of geniuses Jobs saved from oblivion when he bought George Lucas’ animation unit and created Pixar: the brilliant animator and storyteller, John Lasseter, and the company’s outstanding manager, Ed Catmull. No doubt he also learned a lot from his archrival, Bill Gates. (At least, he learned how not to design products.) Among his coworkers, though, his deepest and most productive relationship was with the English designer, Jony Ive, who ran Apple’s design shop in close collaboration with Jobs during his second stint at the company. Obviously, however, his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, must deserve a lot of the credit for rounding off his sharp edges.

For anyone capable of empathy and with experience running a business, how Steve Jobs turned around Apple has to seem shocking. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, victim to the bad judgment of a series of incompetent CEOs and a passive board. Shortly after reassuming the top role at the company, Jobs went so far as to bulldoze “tens of thousands of unsold Macs into a landfill in early 1998.” He ruthlessly slashed a product line of dozens down to a “quadrant” of just four products. And he cut tens of thousands of jobs. From either a humane or an environmental perspective, these changes were hardly admirable. But they did the trick. By the middle of the decade of the 2000s, Apple was back again, beginning its short journey to become the world’s most valuable business.

Becoming Steve Jobs is based not only on a quarter-century of reporting on the company but on interviews with huge numbers of the people who knew the man. It’s a monumental achievement.
Profile Image for John Young.
39 reviews
February 26, 2023
4/5

a captivating tale of growth. It’s a story of a search, relationships, decisions, failure, death, and, more importantly, transformation. from being the rash, reckless manager he was, steve grows to be the visionary who leads Apple in a series of technological revolutions.

edit: in retrospect, return to the little kingdom is written much better. will re-read this sometime soon
Profile Image for Satyajeet.
111 reviews326 followers
August 29, 2015
You'll start reading it to learn about Jobs and finish having learned something about yourself!
Profile Image for Mico Go.
104 reviews15 followers
August 20, 2020
To speak of Steve Jobs would bring to mind unmistakably glaring features of the ever mercurial and austere individual — the cold-blooded businessman who established an empire that forever changed technology. It isn’t all too farfetched to conjure up images of a stern and detached individual. Yet, after reading Brent’s novel, the aforementioned descriptions pales in comparison to who Steve Jobs really was, and how he came to be.

Jobs was unquestionably cut from a different cloth, and Brent does well to portray his genius and excellence that placed him on a pedestal. However, the story Brent builds up of this man isn’t a success story really — in all honesty, it’s a growth story. In what was a surprising page-turner, Brent was able to portray Jobs in an unfiltered and honest angle, with every conversation as candid as they come. He displayed a man who was brilliant from the beginning, but lost his way due to his brashness and hubris. Brent doesn’t shy away from depicting Steve Jobs as an asshole, and a difficult guy to work with. However, we witness Jobs maturing, and undergoing immensely humane transformations in his character, coming to terms with these excessive traits of his. I won't go into more detail because that's for you to see, but it truly was a story of growth above all else.

Besides just witnessing Jobs as a human, no different from you or me, Brent was able to display Jobs as an artist, and to read this novel is to revel in his art. Apple is the material embodiment of his attention to the aesthetics, and excessive yearning for making products that look and feel right. He always kept the user experience at the core of the innovation and development, and Brent does well to depict this nature of his, often times mimicking his stentorian tone. And that’s because at the core, Jobs cared — he always placed the user, and their comfortability above all else, and that’s what became the lifeblood of Apple’s monumental comeback into the digital era in the 2000s. In an era wherein computers were often referred to as big, clunky, and complicated Jobs repackaged this image, and presented it back to consumers in a sincerely simple, convenient, and sleek device, one that seamlessly integrates itself into our life.

He pioneered innovation and change, and subsequently inculcated these themes in all his products, resonating with users across the world. This was a fantastic book to tell his story. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for teaching us to think different.


--

I deeply appreciated the prose, and how cleverly written this pseudo-biography/memoir was. The words flew off the pages, and always had me coming back for more.
Profile Image for Gideon.
151 reviews13 followers
May 10, 2015
There’s an anecdote at the beginning of this book that causally mentions when Steve Jobs was 24, Apple was selling 3000 computers a month. I’m 25. This made me feel extremely old and mostly useless, but if you’re comparing yourself to Jobs at nearly any point in his life this feels inevitable.

Schlender and Tetzeli skip over a lot of the early days of Apple, painting it in quick brush strokes that still sufficiently illustrates the first ten years of Apple and Jobs’ involvement. They implicitly assume the reader has also read the authorized Walter Isaacson biography. This is fine by me. Like Spider-Man, this is not an origin story I need to see again.

Because this book is not called Steve Jobs (later described in this book by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO as “deeply disappointing”). It’s called Becoming Steve Jobs. This one is about how the “known” Steve Jobs of the 1980s (whose public persona became stuck on “genius jerk”, or sometimes the other way around) was forced into near-irrelevancy in the 1990s, forged through the fiery failure of NeXT and unprecedented success of Pixar, and emerged in the late–1990s to 2000s to reinstitute what is now the most profitable and one of the most influential companies on the planet.

A special talent of this book is recognize these incredible successes and hold Jobs in high regard, but call him on his inaccuracies. In one particular example about the short-term failures of Pixar prior to 1995, Schlender and Tetzeli state: “Steve would later claim in his life that he had always believed the Pixar would eventually create great content, but that just wasn’t the case.”

At the same time, another part of his puzzling personality, his child-like wonder, is appreciated. I don’t think it’s any mistake that the funniest part of this book is Jobs making the implied metaphor of Microsoft as a butthole in a conversation with Bill Gates, and Gates laughing right along with him.

The finest chapter is the thirteenth: Stanford. It picks apart what really made Jobs tick, and what really made him successful in his second go-around with Apple. If you’ve never read it or watched it, this chapter also has Jobs’s Stanford commencement address printed in full. Like his life, “It was inspiring, confounding, and unabashedly human, to the very end.”

If I was underlining in this book (I can’t, it’s from the library), I would have underlined…

- “Called the eMate, it was an oddly intriguing device that looked like a junior laptop done up in translucent aquamarine, with a bulbous cover and an oblong hole along one edge that functioned as a handle.” [This sounds like a precursor that I didn’t know existed to the first generation iMac, my favorite looking computer Apple has ever made.]
iMac

- “People want to paint [Steve Jobs] like he’s Michelangelo, you know? … But he was a real nervous Nelly, like an old-fashioned, tiny, old small businessman saying ‘Shall I cut another nickel off it?’”

- “Steve is not the maniacal business and design despot the media loves to portray—well he is, but not always.” This was a side of Steve’s life that was seldom seen, and he made no attempt to publicize it. The general myth of Steve was a brilliant and driven egotist, who would sacrifice or shove aside anything or anyone for his career, carried the unfortunate corollary that he must have been a bad father and field, and a man incapable of caring and love. It was a stereotype that never came close to gibing with my own experience of him.

- You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. — Jobs

- “That iPhone sitting in your pocket is the exact equivalent of a Cray XMP supercomputer from twenty years ago that used to cost ten million dollars. It’s got the same operating system, the same processor speed, the same data storage, compressed down to a six-hundred-dollar device.” – Mark Andreessen

- “But the sun will set and the sun will rise, and it will shine upon us tomorrow in our grief and our gratitude, and we will continue to live with purpose, memory, passion, and love.” - Job’s wife, Laurene, at his memorial service.
Profile Image for David Dietrich.
70 reviews
April 10, 2015
An alternate, more accurate title would be "Becoming Steve Jobs: Maturing the Way Any Human Should". There was a lot of backlash when the Isaacson book (the 'official' biography, it should be noted) was published a few years ago. People who knew Jobs said the book didn't portray his softer, human side. Tim Cook, Apple's current CEO, is quoted in Becoming Steve Jobs as saying he wouldn't have worked as long as he did for the man portrayed in Isaacson's book. Powerful words until you reflect upon the descriptions of Cook contained in Becoming Steve Jobs: he's no picnic himself. Nor is Larry Ellison, Steve's other close buddy, so you have to put their words in perspective.

I enjoyed the Isaacson book and quickly devoured it. I admired that Steve wanted the book to speak honestly about who he really was, warts and all, so his children could know better the kind of man he was. And there were lots of warts, but, but we all have warts of our own and I finished the book with an even stronger admiration of Jobs. So I was curious when I began reading Becoming Steve Jobs to see what fresh insight the authors could bring to what I already knew and thought about the man. The answer ended up being not a whole heck of a lot. Almost nothing, in fact. It's an apologist tome which, in the spirit of the expression "Everything happens for a reason," looks back at Steve's not-infrequent boorish behavior and tries to portray it as a positive thing in retrospect. Take Steve's habit of describing peoples' work as "sh*t". Isaacson's book talked about the hurt it caused and pointed out that the targets on occasion came to realize that Steve was right, or at least right-ish. Fair enough. But Becoming Steve Jobs portrays these incidents as learning experiences for the targets and goes as far as to claim that people whose work was called sh*t knew Steve really didn't mean it as a negative. Yeah, right.

So how did Steve become a "Visionary Leader"? He matured. At least that's the message of the book. He did what every human should do: examine your life, make mistakes and learn from the mistakes. It's not a complicated formula. Repeatedly the book talks about Steve maturing. Maturing, maturing, maturing. Good for Steve and good for the rest of us who admire him, Apple and Apple's products, but not great insight. I also noticed that Becoming Steve Jobs left out the prank that Steve and Laughin' Larry Ellison played on the hapless engineering job applicant. Not exactly the high water mark for mature men.

Still, I enjoyed the book, as I tend to enjoy anything about Steve. I would recommend it to anyone interested in him and/or Apple. Just don't expect great insight.
80 reviews
April 28, 2015
The main idea of the book is that that Steve Jobs matured quite a bit between when he was forced out of Apple in 1985 and when he returned in 1997, both as a person and as a businessman. While I agree with that premise, I think at least one of the two authors is too much of an Apple fanboy to resist from "putting a thumb on the scales" with their description/interpretation of events in favor of Jobs... admitting to his failings with trite euphemisms and then quickly moving on as a close friend or family member who doesn't want to speak ill of the dead to continue to celebrate the successes he had in life. That's fine for a eulogy... but I didn't like it as a book.

The sections that cover his business dealings are slightly more even handed (I think that's largely due to the older of the two authors who knew Steve for decades). However, while the books at least is more honest about his mistakes as a businessman... it still occasionally moves into a "aw shucks, it's Steve being Steve" amusement when he literally drains hundreds of millions of dollars and permanent destroys friendships (and marriages).

That being said... there are some good stories in their particularly in the second half of the book about his time at Pixar and his later years at Apple. I wish the authors were confidant enough to simple retell these stories and trust the reader to understand instead of starting with lines like "Steve Jobs was the greatest tech mind of the 20th century."
Profile Image for Alessandra.
97 reviews5 followers
April 20, 2015
There's perhaps too much to be said about this new biography and at the same time, too little and maybe not enough to grasp the kind of complexities you can find on a book as this.

It's true: there seems to be a thesis at hand, and probably some arrangements to make it through. And still, there's a compelling argument to be made of how the authors intentions aside, you still find a complex read of emotions and motivations. It's hard to read between lines and hard to find understanding in actions other than our own (and even then, sometimes that's still too mysterious).

But the narrative can lead you from story to story and find new ideas and facets of a person heavily known for a couple of characteristics, and show a more complete, grounder picture. Is difficult not to get excited transversing each area probably most people already know, and yet to discover small tidbits of character, ideas and mind. To find out about more truths - through the filters we each own decide - and end up with a different picture.

Didn't manage to finish Jobs' official biography; never felt captured that much by the flow and style. But this prose works better as a story and though more personal, still managing to bring out and flesh out the image of a person who had a great impact in most of our current lives.
9 reviews
May 24, 2015
Becoming Steve Jobs - If one has to know the evolution of Personal Computers how software industry has reached its height, then I think they should read Steve's biography! One person who changed this world by foreseeing the future, as everyone says he is a visionary, great leader and who has eyes for great design. I really admire the way Steve makes the deal, be it the initial deal with Microsoft to provide Office support to Mac's, so that he would put down the case on the patents against Microsoft, which the previous CEO couldn't do it. Then again, when it comes to the record companies, with the 30% commission on each sound track was unimaginable, of course he knows the situation they where in(with piracy issues). The same thing happend with AT&T when it was the sole carrier provider for iPhone at the start. I should say there was a philosopher side of Steve which came out on the commencement speech at Stansford University, best speech ever heard! Connecting the dots - Even though you learn something which will not be useful for you right now it may be helpful in longer run and with the final quotes of Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish. It was hard for me to read the last part of this books on his illness, as one of them says if we could have seen Steve Jobs 3.0 it would have been the best!
Profile Image for Malleswari.
12 reviews10 followers
May 18, 2015
Good book to read. Reading about the leaders is always inspiring. Steve Jobs - who changed the business world, who transformed the lives of people, visionary leader. Story of Steve Jobs is more likely a growth story than a success story. The way he faced challenges and failures and learnt from them is fascinating. Though he was described as arrogant and micromanaged, the changes he admitted after returned back to Apple, changed the future of Apple. I was wondered to know that iPhone was the first smart phone that was invented in Apple, then some months later, all others have mimicked many of its features through Android. This shows how visionary Steve was, and how he could he see things where others can't see. He believed, in order to succeed, we must love and search for perfection in what we do. I liked his commencement speech at Stanford University very much, - Stay hungry, Stay Foolish. Though he was suffering from a deadly disease, he took part in iPad2 promotion, which shows how much he passionate and loves Apple. Steve's death was his physical absence in the world, but he will be alive forever in all his visionary products which changed our daily lives. Thanks.
Profile Image for Pat Rolston.
320 reviews15 followers
December 10, 2017
Having read, Jobs by Walter Isaacson and also having had a career that put me in the middle of Silicon Valley on a regular basis for business connected with the companies involved in the production of microprocessors I am very impressed by the authors work. Schlender captures the humanity of Steve Jobs taking the reader past the more superficial characterization that Isaacson portrays. He was a close associate by means of journalism and friend of Steve Jobs who had the opportunity to be part of his life and gain a uniquely intimate perspective. He also provides a much more nuanced history of the personal computer and industry giants such as Andy Grove, Bill Gates, and the critical venture capital players who birthed the revolution. In summary anyone wanting to better understand Steve Jobs and the roots of the PC and microprocessor revolution will be thoroughly entertained and enriched by reading this outstanding book.
Profile Image for David Shepherd.
53 reviews
April 20, 2015
Being a long time Apple fanatic, I thought I knew most everything about Steve Jobs after reading Walter Isaacson's biography. I didn't! Becoming Steve Jobs brought so many insights into Steve as a flawed, but great leader and thinker. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in knowing more about Steve Jobs, Apple, Pixar, creativity, or innovation.
Profile Image for Linda Lipko.
1,904 reviews42 followers
November 4, 2018
The third book I've read about Steve Jobs, the billionaire, reckless, nasty, sociopath technology guru, this one went more in depth about the personality of Jobs and his two-layered persona.

While most of the story of a man who left his first child behind, allowing her to live homeless and with a mother who tried, but just could not get her act together, this book was more in depth regarding the history behind the man.

Interestingly, the Pixar/Disney movie of The Toy Story, would not have been as good without Jobs changing the personalities of the characters. Disney needed Steve Jobs because the exceedingly great technology of Pixar is what brought the movie to one of the most money-making movies for Disney.

There is a story of the young Jobs as he is working his way through the technology world of California and realizing that he was brilliant but would never fit in. During a conference, Jobs in a menacing manner was screaming and yelling like a child. Made to leave the room and the conference, he was found outside crying in his car, interestingly telling the person who checked on him that he knew indeed that he didn't fit it and was really a dual person inside one body.

Next up, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, then I will have depleted my search to know the real man who was incredibly intelligent and equally as cruel and socially inept.
Profile Image for Joel.
110 reviews50 followers
September 4, 2019
Not nearly as good as Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs. This book spends a lot of time describing Jobs's personality development and motivations, when simply telling stories would do the job just as effectively, as Isaacson does. It's the classic "show, don't tell". Isaacson has a certain grace and efficacy that Schlender is missing. This book did add a layer of understanding to Isaacson's book, and I did learn a few details I didn't know, but it wasn't worth an additional 420 pages on top of Isaacson's 580. Although this one is more than a hundred pages shorter, it feels padded out.
Profile Image for CARLA.
983 reviews40 followers
August 12, 2017
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I loved this book. It’s not generally in my wheelhouse of genres that I read but it’s part of my read harder challenge from last year. This book took me about 6 weeks to get through. Partly because its an audio book and I only listen to those on my commute to work and partly because I had to take A LOT of breaks. It was very monotone and linear, not really what I’m used to.

However, the reporting on his life and all the interviews that were quoted were awesome. I felt like I got to know him on a more intimate level. I had no idea how much of an asshole he was. LOL, and arrogant, my god he was very much about his ideas and had no qualms about telling anyone what his opinion of them was. And he was so damn impulsive, he would judge a person on the first impression and wouldn’t let it go. All faults IMO, but when you are on the outside looking in. And only focusing on his career, it was quite fascinating. I mean, I could never have worked for him, but hey, nobody’s perfect. I don’t mean to say that he was a devil or anything, but the biography didn’t hold anything back in regards to his professional life.

This book was very in depth about his career, and since I remember most of it growing up, I got a little nostalgic while listening. Especially, when he purchased Pixar, and then eventually sold it. Or when he came back to Apple and slowly turned it into one the most profitable and recognized brands in the world. But I think the thing that stands out most to me were his values.

They spoke a great deal about how Steve thought the past was the past and you couldn’t change it, so instead you needed to learn from it. And how he looked in the mirror and asked himself if I died today, would he have accomplished everything he wanted? Or how he was constantly asking himself, “What comes next?” Constantly looking forward, I really liked that. I do that to. Don’t dwell on the past, always move forward. These are things I can relate to and I found that very interesting that we shared some of the same views on life. When his sickness and eventual death was covered, I actually started crying. He was a giant in the PC world and I wish I would have read this book sooner.
Profile Image for Nick Rolston.
99 reviews2 followers
July 26, 2018
This glimpse into the mind of Steve Jobs starts with his deeply spiritual side and discusses his failure-laden journey to ultimately transform Apple into the most innovative American country of its time, and I found the book and his life ever more captivating as it unfolded.
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