Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson [Book Summary – Review]


It isn’t nearly possible to emphasize the part that Steve Jobs had in the building of our current, computer-mediated life.

A single-minded idealist, Jobs was a dreamer who wished for developing the world through technology.

In this best-selling memoir, you’ll find out that while Jobs’s idealism and density drove him to accomplish huge things, those were the reason behind disagreement and struggle. In his connections with workers and colleagues, Jobs’s habit was often viewed as brattish – although he might say that he was just trying to make others give their maximum. 

The next sections show in specifics the amazing life of one of the most powerful tech icons of our world and narrate the wondrous tale of a teenage joke that joined a partnership that would finally build one of the most precious technology firms in the globe.


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Chapter 1 – A professional parent and a prankster best buddy inserted in Jobs a passion for engineering and design.


On February 24, 1955, a baby-boy came to the world to Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble.

Yet, Jandali and Schieble wouldn’t keep their baby. For Schieble came from an extreme Catholic house which would deny her for carrying a kid from a Muslim guy, the couple had to leave their son to be adopted.

Thus, the kid was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, two spouses residing in Silicon Valley, who called him Steven.

Paul Jobs was a motor technician working in the car mechanic, and he brought Steve to the realm of engineering and design.

Since the early years, Paul tried to move all his passion for mechanics to Steve, who remembers becoming a fan of his dad’s concentration on craftsmanship. If the house needed a cabinet, for instance, Paul would just make one, allowing Steve to assist him in the work.

Moreover, their intellectual but affordable Eichler house – an “everyman” modern home, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and an open floor design – inspired Steve’s consuming affair with an accurate, chic design.



Then, during high school, Steve Jobs came to know Steve Wozniak; they became friends right away. 

Wozniak was five years ahead and previously experienced as a computer technician, from whom Jobs knew too much about computers.

In all kinds, jobs and Wozniak were ordinary teenagers and loved to perform pranks. Yet, they liked to discover the system of electronics as well and find out what they could make.

Putting the two affairs together, in 1971 they released their first creation: the “Blue Box”, a tool that lets users perform phone calls from a far distance without charges.

Wozniak provided the design and Jobs made the creation into a business, spending $40 as the cost of assemblies and they show it in the market for $150.

The two sold nearly 100 boxes, providing them with a pattern of what they could achieve with Wozniak’s engineering talent and Jobs’s vision; and facilitating the path for what would be their common enterprise – Apple.


Chapter 2 – Jobs’s affair with spirituality, LSD, and the arts formed his tasteful manner and intense concentration.


By the end of the 1960s, the preferences and unusual cultures of geeks and hippies started to flap.

Thus, maybe it was certain that, alongside his love of mathematics, science, and electronics, Jobs would engage himself in the counterculture and start living with LSD.

Jobs then channeled his sharpened tasteful manner and intense concentration on his knowledge of psychedelic medications and spirituality.

In 1972, Jobs registered in Reed College, a private enlightened art college in Oregon, and there he turned very determinant on both meditating and trialing with LSD with fellows.

He sensed that his medication’s knowledge assisted him to strengthen his awareness of what was prominent in life, by revealing to him that there is “another side to the coin”. In Jobs’s situation, it meant figuring out that making wonderful things was the most prominent thing.

Urged to discover Eastern spirituality, Jobs also traveled to India, where he found himself resident for almost half a year. Zen Buddhism in specific turned into a strongly rooted character of himself, impacted his simplest tasteful manner, and providing him with the power of inspiration.



Both affairs – LSD and spirituality – assisted him to grow a specific kind of concentration, which turned familiar as Jobs’s reality deformity slogan: if he’d chose that a matter should occur, then he would just work on it to occur by directing reality to his wish.

One more reason that formed Jobs’s simplest tastefulness was his creativity in arts. All along with his profession, Jobs would insist again and again on the issue that the design of Apple items should be neat and simple. 

This pattern was made during his studying time. Although Jobs polled out his registration at college, he was permitted to attend lectures, which he did just for the sake of self-enrichment. Among such lectures was a calligraphy class, his talent in which then turned into the main factor in the Apple Mac’s graphical user interface.


Chapter 3 – A round in an apple field inspired them with the name; a counterculture idea and potential performance created a firm.


It looks like a strange combination: a spiritually-minded, LSD expert, and the dignified computer sector. However, at the beginning of the seventies, plenty of people were just commencing to observe computers as a token of individual discipline.

Thus, while Jobs was fascinated by medications and Zen, he was hoping to start his private business. Furthermore, during the same period, his buddy Steve Wozniak suggested the concept of the modern personal computer.

During the beginnings of the Silicon Valley electronics development, Steve Wozniak became a member in the Homebrew Computer Club – a community where computer “nerds” assembled to discuss ideas and where the comprehensive ideology was that the counterculture and technology were an excellent match. 

It was in the club where Wozniak got his purpose. Computers at the period needed many, divided hardware parts to function, making them sophisticated to handle and hard to utilize. Wozniak pictured a machine as a self-contained box, with a keyboard, monitor, and computer “all in one”.

Firstly, Wozniak thought of granting his design without charge, since this was the norm of the Homebrew. Yet, Jobs was determinant that they must benefit from Wozniak’s device.

Therefore, in 1976, with an initial fund of only $1,300, Wozniak and Jobs established Apple Computer.

When the time arrived to name the company, Jobs had been to an apple field, and – since it wasn’t complicated, joy and casual – the name “Apple” pierced. 



Wozniak and Jobs dove in work for a month making a hundred machines manually. 50 percent of the quantity was bought by a domestic computer trader and the rest to fellows and some individuals.

Within a month only, Apple’s first product, the Apple I, was on the brink of getting productive.

Jointly, Jobs and Wozniak were a strong team – Wozniak was the engineering craftsman while Jobs was the idealist, who imagined that the personal computer could develop the globe.


Chapter 4 – Jobs was a predominant, moody manager driven by an inflexible love for perfection.


People who were personally close to Jobs would admit that he was unpredictable, also a twisted person. If the job wasn’t according to his expectations, he would express anger waves and orally violate who’s around him.

Yet, why was Jobs very predominating and moody?

Simply, he was a ruthless perfectionist. Jobs hoped for Apple II to become perfectly made, a fully-featured machine that was assembled end to end. Yet, while his drive contributed to Apple II flourishment when it was launched in 1977, it sucked the extreme limits of potential and minds of the employees at the firm as well.

If Jobs saw a poor job done by a worker, he’d say that it was “shit”, and would be angry if he found also the smallest imperfection.

While Apple was developing as a firm, Jobs just turned into more unpredictable. Mike Scott was finally assigned to Apple’s presidency, with the major mission of sustaining a closer eye on Jobs.

Scott fundamentally had to face Jobs with the more difficult matters that other workers simply didn’t have the potential to perform it. Such discussions usually ended in discord, seldom with Jobs falling apart crying, due to him realizing how greatly hard it is to let go of the management of Apple. 



Jobs saw it precisely depressing that Scott attempted to have restrained his perfectionism. Yet, for his role, Scott didn’t wish for Jobs’s perfectionism to overcome pragmatism.

For example, Scott interfered when Jobs saw that not even one of the two thousand gradians of beige was fit for the case of the Apple II, and when Jobs took more than a day to only choose the exact round shape of the computer case corners. Scott’s main concern was to finish the case design and deliver it to the market. 

Nonetheless, since the firm was flourishing, such personal conflicts were kind of handlable. Yet, as you will find in the next section, the status didn’t remain this way.


Chapter 5 – Then Macintosh gave Jobs a foundation as a tech icon, yet, his bitter criticism diminished him.


The Apple II, having six million machines marketed, was seen as the light that drove the creation path of the personal computer world.

Nevertheless, for Jobs, it wasn’t a perfect accomplishment, for Apple II was Wozniak’s invention, not just Jobs’s.

Jobs hoped to make a computer that would, as he said, “make a dent in the universe”. Taken by his eager desire, Jobs started to build the Macintosh – an advanced version of the Apple II that would moreover modify personal computing and nail him as a technology icon.

But the Macintosh was not Jobs’s creation alone, as he, in fact, took the Macintosh program from its originator, Jef Raskin, a professional person in human-computer interfaces. Therefore, Jobs stole the concept and built a computer that worked on a microprocessor that is very potential to host complicated graphics, and could be massively managed through a mouse.

The Macintosh turned into an exceptional accomplishment, one reason is the generous advertisement campaign that found its way to TV commercials – nowadays it’s famous as the “1984” ad – managed by the famous filmmaker Ridley Scott from Holywood. Committed to the commercial’s fame, the Macintosh release created a sort of publicity series of reactions, to Jobs as well as for the computer.



Professional as always, Jobs could get enormous high-profile press meetings with various important journals, by seducing journalists into believing that the interview he was approving to have was an “exclusive”.

His plan succeeded, and the Macintosh contributed to Jobs’s fortune and fame. He had accomplished the type of popularity that could make Ella Fitzgerald, the singer, to perform at his fantastic 30th birthday party.

Yet, such similar personality features that had made Jobs build the Macintosh a development soon cost him his job as well.

His perfectionism and harsh attitude against the Apple community remained high. He would repeatedly call employees out as being “assholes” in case he saw that they weren’t paying attention to perfection.

Jobs’s brattish attitude caused a crisis in the firm. In 1985, the Apple council of managers decided to cast Jobs out.


Chapter 6 – Jobs failed in NeXT but got lucky in Pixar, a firm on top of animated movie production.


After Jobs pulled himself back together from losing his job at Apple, he knew he could now achieve things just as he desired – satisfying both his positive and negative characteristics.

First, he established a new machine that targeted the education sector, a computer named NeXT.

In the NeXT business, Jobs managed to satisfy his love for design. He spent a $100,000 apartment expense to buy the logo and asserted that the NeXT computer case to be a complete cube.

However, Jobs’s perfection led the computer to be sophisticated to be programmed and built. This due to a fact that the cubed case sides should be manufactured alone, using patterns that worth $650,000.

Jobs’s unyielding mentality was the main NeXT’s failure signal. The product nearly exceeded the budget, the launch was late for many years, and eventually, the computer was too much above buyers’ affordability. Moreover, since its cost was high for a tiny software library, NeXT hardly accomplished a difference in the huge computing sector.

At the same time, nevertheless, Jobs got the largest part of shares in an enterprise named Pixar. In his part as a Manager, Jobs celebrated in his participation in a business that was the perfect organization of technology and art.



At the end of 1988, Jobs dropped nearly $50 million into Pixar at the time when he lost money in NeXT.

Yet, after a long time in financial obstacles, the firm published Tin Toy, a movie that exhibited Pixar’s unparalleled insight for computer animation. Tin Toy moved on to earn the 1988 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Jobs, then, realized that he should change his passion from software and hardware items, which were wasting budget, to Pixar, a firm that was going towards the top-listed, likely profitable animated movies.  

Finally, Pixar signed a partnership agreement with Disney to make its first feature movie, Toy Story. Published in 1996, Toy Story went as the top-grossing film in that year.

When Pixar became popular, the shares that Jobs had (more than three-quarters of the firm) were priced above 20 times his investment capital: a huge $1.2 billion.


Chapter 7 – Apart from Apple, Jobs made reparation in his personal life, reaching out to his biological parents.


Adding to the 12 years of lessons in his career after Apple, Jobs had progressed in his personal life as well.

In 1986, after his foster mother passed away, Jobs turned to curiosity to know his origins and made up his mind to look for his mother who gave birth to him.

When he eventually met Joanne Schieble, she was nervous and regretful for leaving Jobs to the fosters. 

Jobs was amazed too to know that he got a sibling, Mona Simpson. The two of them, Jobs and Mona were people of art and strong-willed and they became close at the end.



In 1996, Simpson would release a novel titled A Regular Guy. Its main character was created after Jobs and his several critical personality features. Yet, because he didn’t want to get upset with his newly found sibling, Jobs never read the story.

In the same period, Jobs met Laurene Powell. The couple got married in 1991, with the grace of Jobs’s old Zen guru. Powell was previously carrying their baby in her whom, Reed Paul Jobs. the two would continue to have another two kids, Erin and Eve.

With Powell’s support, Jobs tried to have more time with Lisa Brennan too, his daughter he has from an affair with a girl from whom he’d been separated from the early beginning.

Jobs did his dest to be a better energetic parent to Lisa; and at last, she came to his house and lived with Jobs and Powell till she graduated high school and went to Harvard.

Lisa would grow up to be as moody as Jobs, and as none of them was great at communication and making reparations, the two could spend months before they talk with each other.

Generally speaking, Jobs’s methodology of communicating with others in his personal life was the same as his attitude at the company. His concept was either zero or one: he would be very excited or very unfriendly.


Chapter 8 – As Apple’s wealth faded away, Jobs came back as a wasted sone to manage the firm as CEO.


During the time after Jobs’s release, Apple began to collapse as a business.

To stop this drop, Gil Amelio had been the CEO since 1996. Amelio realized that to save Apple back to the track, it required to bring in the firm innovative concepts.

Thus, in 1997, Amelio decided to take NeXT’s software, completely appointing Jobs as a consultant to Apple.

When Jobs went back to Apple, he collected as much dominance as he could handle. As a result, he silently started to construct his leadership foundation by appointing his preferred staff from NeXT in Apple’s high positions.

At that time, Apple’s council knew that Amelio was not the hopeful rescuer for Apple. Yet, they believed that the firm might have hope once more in Jobs.

Therefore, the council proposed the CEO seat to Jobs. unexpectedly, Jobs refused. Rather, he emphasized on keeping his job as a consultant and assist in looking for another CEO.



Jobs benefited from his position as a consultant to rise his dominance inside Apple. He also made the council to quit – the exact same council that had named him for the CEO position – for he saw them as delaying his efforts in changing the firm.

As a consultant, Jobs tackled to sign a partnership with competitive Microsoft as well, making the firm build a special version of Microsoft Office for the Mac, then, closing ten years of juristic conflicts and drive Apple’s stock price to increase very rapidly.

Finally, and after a huge skepticism, Jobs took the CEO seat and asked that the firm re-concentrate on producing fewer items.

Jobs completed the licensing bargain that Apple had signed with many different computer factories and chose to center the firm on producing only four prominent computers: a desktop, and a laptop for both the professional and ordinary user mart.

In 1997, Apple registered a drop of $1.04 billion, however, in 1998, when Jobs took over the CEO seat for a whole year, the business registered a surplus of $309 million. Jobs had definitely rescued the business.


Chapter 9 – Daring ideas and dreamy design contributed to the iMac and the first Apple Store enormous accomplishment.


When Jobs explored the dreamy skills of designer Jony Ive, he appointed Ive the number two most authorized one at Apple, as Jobs was number one. Therefore, he started a partnership that would flourish as the most prominent manufacturing design cooperation of its time. 

The initial machine that Jobs and Ive produced together was the iMac, a desktop computer for approximately $1,200, and targeted the ordinary users.

With the iMac, Jobs and Ive faced the traditional concept that what a computer design should be. deciding on the blue, transparent case, the two illustrated their love for building the computer in perfection, from its inside assembly and the outside appearance. Such a design provided the computer with a cheerful look too.

Released in May 1998, the iMac turned to be the fastest-selling computer in Apple’s time.

Yet, Jobs started to be anxious that Apple’s singular products could be missed between the common products of a digital huge store. His resolution was to make the Apple Store as a path to let the firm dominant the whole direct procedure.



Like Gateway Computers struggled financially when they launched its private direct stores, the Apple council was justifiably against Jobs’s idea. Yet, emphasis on his true concept, Jobs clinched to his weapon and the council agreed on a trial move for four Apple Stores.

Jobs started to create a prototype store, finishing it totally, and admiring each detail of the service work and its beauty as a whole. He emphasized on a notion of minimalism throughout the procedure, from the minute a user logs the store to the minute they move to checkout.

In May 2001, it was the opening of the first Apple store. It was a huge accomplishment, as Jobs’s accurate design had forced retailing and business image to a totally new scale.

Actually, the Manhattan store would lastly turn to be the top-grossing store among any other in New York, not forgetting the historic outlets like Sake Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.


Chapter 10 – Wishing to dominate the whole digital profession, Jobs made the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.


After his accomplishment at Apple Store and the iMac, Jobs had this new, huge plan. His idea was a personal computer in the middle of a different digital lifestyle.

He named that his digital hub plan.

The plan imagined the personal computer as a sort of control center that manages various devices, including music players and video cams.

As the initial phase in thinking of his idea, Jobs chose that portable music player would be the following item by Apple.

In 2001, Apple launched the iPod, streamlined design that connected the recent-popular click wheel with a tiny monitor and totally different hard disk tech.

Experts were suspicious that users would pay $399 for a music player, yet, they made the iPod so flushing that, when 2007 came to an end, iPod market fed Apple with 50 percent of revenues. 

The following phase was to shape an Apple cellular as Jobs was concerned that shortly, mobile phones with music apps would affect the staring iPod negatively.



In 2007, Apple launched version one of the iPhone. Two prominent techs contributed to the possibility of the iPhone: the touch screen, which could function many inputs at the same time, and the amazingly strong glass body, named Gorilla Glass.

Once more, experts were suspecting Apple’s plan, debating that it would be rare for users to pay $500 for cellular – and once more Jobs showed their fallacy. In late 2010, gains from iPhone sales exceeded 50 percent of the overall revenues recorded in the worldly mobile phone mart.

The last phase in Jobs’s plan was the launch of a tablet computer, the iPad.

Apple formally released the iPad in January 2010. Yet, since Jobs had exposed the device before its distribution in markets, the media criticized it before they try it also.

Even though, when the iPad was formally launched, it was a huge accomplishment. Surely, Apple traded more than a million devices in one month in the beginning, and 15 million in the following nine months.

Launching the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad made it obvious that Jobs’s daring digital hub plan had flourished in shifting the customer techs manufacturing. 


Chapter 11 – Jobs’s emphasis on perfect, limited systems reflected his extremist love for dominance.


During the years of his professional life, Jobs sustained a limited, strong integrated system revealed in the best of what users see. Such an ideal mirrored Jobs’s obsession with dominance since by closing his designs for any change, he blocked users from updating them.

This desire for dominance produced a few big struggles – with Microsoft and Google in precise.

Microsoft’s Bill Gates had greatly another aspect for business and technology, in which he was open to licensing his firm’s operating system and software to many contractor factories. Actually, Gates had also composed a system that is compatible with the Macintosh.

Yet, what was for one time a peaceful professional relationship between Jobs and Gates switched to years of long-timed struggle.

When gates created the Windows operating system, Jobs attacked him for cloning the Macintosh’s graphical interface. In fact, though, it was the concept of both systems that had been “borrowed” from different tech firm named Xerox.

By the end of his professional life, Jobs drove a campaign that confronts Google as well. In the firm’s form of its Andriod operating system, Jobs suggested, Google had cloned several aspects of the iPhone’s exclusive ones.

At the time when Microsoft and Google thought that unlimited operating systems and normal rivalry must specify which system would dominate, Jobs sustained till the last moment the sentence that both firms had taken ideas and features from Apple.



Yet, the aims of Jobs’s bitter critique weren’t just rival firms. Jobs persisted unrelentingly inside Apple for perfection, driving workers either to get fed up or released from their jobs. With Jobs there, it was no endurance at all for below-expectations-performance at Apple.

Whenever he believed that a person wasn’t an “A-player”, and didn’t perform 90 hours per week, he’d usually don’t even warn them to get better, He’d immediately release them from their duties.

Moreover, when a firm was having a problem sending the demanded computer chips on time, Jobs rushed into a conference, shouting that they were “fucking dickless assholes”. This kind of habit was pretty diagnostic of Jobs’s sharply extreme perfection.


Chapter 12 – Jobs neglected all traditional knowledge about his cancer diagnosis and passed away early in 2011.


Jobs was informed about his cancer diagnosis in a randomly urological check in October 2003.

Sadly, Jobs faced the issue of his cancer in manners exactly how he faced an incomplete perfection: he neglected all traditional knowledge and chose to fight the disease by himself.

He rejected operation for almost a year and rather attempted to heal using niddle-treatment and vegan nutritionist system. Through time, the stage of cancer advanced, and in the end, Jobs had to get an urgent operation to eradicate it.

However, when cancer came back in 2008, he was once more determined to stick to a harsh nutrition system of specific fruits and vegetables, which made him lose 40 pounds.

Finally, Jobs agreed to have a liver transplant, yet, after that, his condition got a dramatic shift to what he’d never get well again.

Hobs passed away in 2011, behind him, he gave a legacy in one of the most prominent tech firms in the globe.

All that Jobs achieved in his lifetime was a creation of his unbelievable power, and prior to his death, he announced: “I’ve had a very lucky career, a very lucky life. I’ve done all that I can do”.



Such nearly a unique person, Jobs’s character was completely mirrored in his productions, as each Apple device was a sealed exclusive, integrated system of hardware and software.

And at the time when the open-plan implied by Microsoft – letting its Windows operating system to be authorized – drove them to control the operating system sector for a long time, Jobs’s design confirmed its beneficial through time, as it demonstrated a smooth, luxurious end-to-end user experience.

Soon prior to his death, Jobs managed to see Apple, at last, bettering Microsoft as the most worthy technology firm in the globe.


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson Book Review


Steve Jobs was raised up in Silicon Valley at the crossing of arts and technology, medications, and intelligence. There he would bond a relationship that would drive him to establish Apple alongside a heavy transformation in the realm of techs. In his lifetime, Jobs was able to shift our connections with techs, designing several digital devices in an accurate shape and user-friendly interface.



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