Steve Jobs

A great mix of personal details with business advice from the world’s most successful CEO of Apple. I never knew about his being an orphan whose sister Mona Simpson (Anywhere but Here) shared the same birth mom/dad. Or about his relationship with Joan Baez. Or that he & Bill Gates both were born in 1955 and both high school dropouts. Or maybe I knew these things but didn’t really register them. Didn’t realize he brought the German designer over to create frogdesign, or Jobs’ relationship with Larry Ellison who was always pushing him to focus on wealth accumulation and Jobs saying that wasn’t what it was all about. Jobs’ reality distortion field and mesmerizing focus that he learned from his college guru.
On business lessons: focus, not being afraid (and in every important case, it was required) to hit the rewind button and delay a launch because it was not perfect, the need to be obsessive about hiring A players to play with other A players, avoid the B player bloat. Fighting for the important things and pressing your team until you’re convinced they know what they are talking about. The refusal to sit through powerpoint slides. The bozo/hero conundrum that everyone binarily fit into. The necessity for a unified company, not divisions with separate P&Ls that work against each other. Obsessive attention to the smallest details, caring what it looks like on the inside although no one will see it.
On his health problems: pancreatic cancer that then necessitated a liver transplant, his inability to gain weight because of removal of part of pancreas and also his whacko diets of all apples or lemon salads for weeks on end. His deep connection to veganism. His health problems were attributed to the kidney stones from stress of managing both Pixar and Apple, working crazy hours.
Overall an inspiring bio of a great force of nature who changed the world. Decent writing by Isaacson, although he does make some references that leave this book mired in its publication year (don’t know what Pong is? Ask your parents).