Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Steve Jobs - Biography

I read this book long time back, however I was never able to post about it last year. In fact, I even missed it in the post titled "Resolutions 2012". This book actually took me more time to complete than any other book I read last year. In the past, I read biographies of people like Sunil Gavaskar, John Wright and even former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam. I knew that Jobs had a controversial life with him being thrown out of his own company. I had also watched his famous speech at Stanford Commencement in 2005, which was one of the most inspiring speeches I had ever seen/read.

The book starts with the author describing the chain events where he was asked by Steve Jobs to write his biography. It then goes on to describe his birth (even mentioned in the Stanford Speech), childhood, his friendship with Steve Wozniak and various other aspects of his life. One of the interesting parts of the book was the term “Reality Distortion Field” coined by Jobs’ co-workers. To sum it up it was Jobs' ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything. The reality distortion field was supposed to distort audiences' sense of proportion and scales of difficulties and made them believe that the task at hand was possible. The book also showcases some of the ugliest boardroom politics. First Jobs was thrown out of Apple by John Scully. Then Jobs entered Apple again by showing the door to Gil Amelio.

There are times when you might actually feel bit of hatred towards the guy. His behaviour towards his daughter, his attitude of judging people’s work as either a superstar or shit, his indifference towards his former friends are some those traits. Even the way he allegedly changed old records for getting more stock options was not something to be looked at. The worst among such things was to hide from Apple shareholders, the fact that he was still suffering from Cancer even after the initial surgery. Even though he always argued that Microsoft copied from Apple (Macintosh -> Windows), he himself believed that –
Good artists copy, Great artists steal.
The best thing about Jobs was his love for design and music. In fact, I was so impressed by the design process of Apple, that there were moments while reading the book when I wanted to buy the Apple product (like iPod Touch or MacBook) for enjoying the great design. However, reading the price tags on these products was enough to change my mind :)

I am also really looking forward to the film adaptation of this book with Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs.

No comments: