Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book review: Steve Jobs

I resisted my best friend's proddings to read this book for over an year since it's release. My reasons???
"There are thousands of techno wizards in 20th century and why should I bother to read Steve Jobs? I don't read biographies of every Tom, Dick and Harry, what is so special about him!! This book is hyped around Steve Jobs' death. Let that poor soul find some peace. Stop bugging me to read."

No prize for guessing I was WRONG. I reluctantly picked up this book after I could no longer find an unread book in my bookshelf. Before long into the book I realized it is not a mere biography but a goddamn spiritual book. Steve Jobs-Apple and spirituality??? Strange right. I was amazed too, seeing how the writer saw Jobs. Steve had no control over the content of his biography and he had waived his rights to read the book before publication. Steve as I found out was more than just a CEO. You might be tired of the adjectives used to describe him: visionary, revolutionary, thinker, change bearer etc. I have two words for him "Freaking Awesome". 

The influence of a genius over others is not by his words but by his life! The conventions of society dictate that every human subject himself to the rules of conformity and Steve grew up defying every instance of authority and conformity. Steve represented an era where the cultural norm of repressing our feelings was over. At 12 when most of us grow up taking orders from the supposedly intelligent elders, Steve led his own journey of exploration. He had the confidence and guts to blow up crackers in school and audacity to call up HP CEO for a chip unavailable elsewhere. While a contemporary legend Bill Gates quit Harvard to start a company, Jobs dropped out of college to travel to India and find peace. Steve was enthralled by dropping acid, learning calligraphy, practicing meditation and leading a minimalist Zen life in his younger days. Such a wayward kid would then exert his intelligence to build the most valued company in the world.

Jobs was always unconventional, unyielding and lived a life of dichotomy. Everything was either shithead or brilliant for him and he never compromised on a mediocre philosophy. Steve Jobs makes you realize the power of dreaming and the strength of desire through his exertion of influence on all people and decisions surrounding him. Jobs never ever took a decision in his life to accumulate wealth rather his deeds spoke volumes about his passion and commitment to achieve the impossible. Jobs was not a technical geek per se but he knew exactly what to expect out of one. He combined technology and art (yes! Steve Jobs was more of an artist than a businessman) in harmony. His uncanny ability to strike tough deals had an impregnable focus on future.

Even after his death, Steve Jobs arouses a sleeping achiever inside you through this book. Steve makes you to think, to evaluate yourself, to question the norms of society, to work for your dream fulfillment, to roar beyond the limitations of yourself and your surroundings. Here is what Steve's story does to you:

  • You learn to say no to dickheads
  • You surround yourself with A players
  • You give BS to people who say you CAN'T do
  • You believe in simplicity of ideas
  • You trust in purity of heart and not in the pretense of bozos
  • You brave the circumstances to hold your ground
  • You understand there is nothing called impossibility 
  • You live for dreams and not for money
  • You accept sensitivity
  • You stop wearing a mask to please others
  • You come to know that failure is not a taboo 
  • You realize the power of DOING
Steve's strength of character comes from his self-training of Buddhism and practice of Zen habits. He placed profound respect in living intuitively, a quality he picked up from his observation of Indian village life. Jobs practiced eastern philosophies of minimalism and vegetarianism throughout his life even at the end of his grueling cancer treatment. He exposed himself to read greatest spiritual works of eastern world such as Autobiography of a Yogi and Cutting through spiritual materialism with the first being his lifelong companion (he read it many times in his younger days and once every year for his entire life). In spite of strong philosophies Jobs was a man of intense emotions of rage, anger, frustration, bad mannerisms and inability to honor perspectives different from that of his own. His uncouth, brutal managerial skills won him the destiny to build a great company such as Apple. His love for the marriage of art and technology (through Pixar Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Company collaboration) led to greatest motion pictures of our times: Toy story, Monsters, Cars et al. 

The author Walter Isaacson, famous for his brilliant biographies on Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein has presented a commendable work on Steve's life. This book is a product of more than 40 interviews conducted over 2 years with Jobs and many other interviews with 100-150 family members, colleagues, competitors, adversaries and mentors. The author has given a brilliant account of how Steve built the greatest company in the world and also the revolutionary products. This book is a validation for Steve's passion, brilliance and influence which made a dent in the universe. 

Who would enjoy reading this piece of human capability wonder of 630 pages?
  • Those who want to know the tale of a man whose dream and passion changed the world for better
  • Those who want a peek into the life of the toughest CEO on earth
  • Those who have a deep interest in the technological development of second half of 20th century
  • Those who love Apple products
  • Those who want to understand why Jobs is called a phenomenon when there are thousand other visionaries of same caliber
  • Those who want to know what is important for peace in life
  • Those who dare to dream
I took almost a week (with lots of essay writing for my college applications I couldn't totally immerse in the book) to savor the reading and exploring of Steve's dreams. You too can share the excitement by buying yourself a copy:


  1. Nice review :)
    Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Thank you :) Hope you get as inspired to break your limits as I am.
      P.S: Interesting blog you have there!

  2. After reading your reviews.. i am feeling like reading this book

    1. :) You should sure read this life changing book