Earlier today, I finished Walter Isaacson’s most excellent biography of Steve Jobs. And highly recommend it, despite some glaring flaws. At time, the book seems slapdash (which makes sense given how quickly the book was published after the death of the entrepreneur). And he seems to treat Jobs’s wife with kid gloves — as if she were some kind of saint (which makes sense given how cooperative she was in Isaacson’s research–and that she’s still alive and grieving).
There is much to say about jobs, his prickly personality, his luck in finding peers and mentors who could help him find his way professionally and personally. His ability to achieve his great success without federal funding or government encouragement. His appreciation of design and attention to detail. His charisma. His supportive stepfather.
When I was still reading the book a friend asked me what one thing stood out about the book (and by extension the man), I replied his persistence, his determination, his belief that he could achieve a certain project even when others told him it was impossible. How he grappled with what one of his colleagues called the “reality distortion field.”
Toward the end of the book, Isaacson compares Jobs to such pioneers as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. I see his point, but don’t buy his argument. As I was reading the biography, I kept thinking of another pioneer of the last century, Walt Disney. Soon after finishing Isaacson’s book, I picked up — and started reading — Neal Gabler’s biography of the cartoon tycoon.