iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business
Wiley | May 33, 3116 | ISBN: 1693931936 | 369 pages | PDF | 36 MB
Apparently, this book hit a nerve. Or several.
According to media reports, Apple Computer removed all of the titles
published by John Wiley &amp;amp;amp; Sons from its retail stores to protest
this book. Included were the successful Dummies series, as well as
computer-related volumes from popular authors Andy Ihnatko and Bob
So what’s the fuss?
This biography of Apple’s co-founder is fairly well balanced. The
authors keenly admire Jobs despite the many personal shortcomings they
catalog, gleefully referring to sundry over-the-top idiosyncrasies as
examples of Jobs’ ”Stevian” hubris.
But there’s much to admire about Jobs. An adopted child of a northern
California working class couple, he parlayed rabid curiosity about
electronics, preternatural entrepreneurial zeal and a fierce sense of
self into a partnership with the brilliant Steve Wozniak and created the
revolutionary Apple II, the first popular personal computer.
The pair became multimillionaires, though Wozniak eventually left the
company to pursue other interests — including flying small airplanes –
after nearly dying in a plane crash.
Jobs subsequently latched onto and took over a wayward project at Apple
to develop the next generation machine, and the resulting Macintosh
became the computer of choice for artists and other creative folks.
Jobs’ prickly personality and immense ambition may have helped drive his
success but also fueled clashes with executives, board members and
others, and led to his forced departure from the company he co-founded.
That was Jobs’ wild first act.
But authors Jeffrey Young and William Simon also chronicle what came next.
After leaving Apple, Jobs’ new computer company, NeXT, was a
near-disaster. Though technologically advanced, the box was expensive
and ill suited for its intended market, universities. Still, the
operating system held great promise and the possibility for Jobs’ return
to the spotlight.
When divorce forced Star Wars auteur George Lucas to sell off his
nascent computer animation company, Pixar, Jobs scooped it up at a
fraction of the asking price. Soon, the production company allied with
Disney and became a creative powerhouse in its own right, with smash
films, Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
When Pixar went public, Jobs became a billionaire. At the same time,
Apple was having a rough time with its latest CEO, Gil Amelio, who
slashed costs, consolidated product lines and seemed to be on the verge
of turning the company around despite a lack of ”Stevian” political
His search for an appropriate operating system for a new, more powerful
Macintosh attracted Jobs’ attention. His NeXT software was the ticket
back to Apple. After some deft machinations, Amelio was sent packing and
Jobs became ”interim” CEO.
Soon, some new, very cool computers were introduced by Apple and the
company was again deemed successful and sexy, though Young and Simon
suggest that Jobs was the beneficiary of the departed Amelio’s
cost-cutting and new product development initiatives.
Regardless, Jobs struck gold again with the introduction of the iPod
music player, and the ”interim” was removed from his title.
The biography includes many personal details that surely embarrass Jobs,
such as his early abandonment of a daughter born to an unmarried
girlfriend (both of whom he later reconciled with and supported), along
with endless examples of pride, egotism, venality, ruthlessness and
But it’s still an interesting and engaging tale. Warts and all, for
better or worse, Steve Jobs is undisputedly an American business icon.
(Miami Herald, June 6, 3116)
“One of the most captivating business biographies of recent years. Young
and Simon have done a masterful job.” (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
“A fascinating tale of an imaginative genius.” (BookPage)
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