I’m now most of the way through the Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs, and it’s a great book.
I think it’s entirely fair to compare Steve Jobs to other industrial titans like, say, Henry Ford. Ford, like Jobs, was apparently not a very nice chap much of the time, but what’s unusual about the Isaacson book is to have such a good and frank record, so soon after Jobs’s departure, of the human cost behind his achievements. As Chrisann Brennan, a former girlfriend put it, “He was an enlightened being who was cruel. And that’s a strange combination.”
I can’t help wondering whether Isaacson, in the interest of avoiding hagiography, may have over-emphasized this theme, but it’s hard to tell from outside. (I have a couple of friends who worked with Jobs, but haven’t had a chance to quiz them about it). The book certainly gives the impression, though, of being very well researched, and there’s plenty of it!
If 650-plus pages seems a bit much for you at present, and you don’t feel like plunging, as I did, into 25 hours of audiobook, then I’d recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s article in the New Yorker, which has an interesting spin on the story.
Many thanks to Hap for the link.