STEVE JOBS BOOK REVIEW RAFAEL SCHARAN
alter Isaacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs provides a thorough and honest insider’s view of the life of one of the most innovative business leaders and technology pioneers in modern history. Throughout the book, Isaacson makes use of countless interviews and conversations with Jobs as well as many key people who were part of his life. In fact, the biography had been commissioned by Jobs’s himself. Thanks to such extensive and cooperative contributions, an accurate and insightful picture of the man and his journey is crafted. Isaacson’s intimate portrayal of the billionaire inventor provides the reader with a glimpse into the psyche of a controversial history-maker. The man the reader comes to know turns out to be, as Bill Gates eloquently put it, “fundamentally odd and weirdly flawed as a human being.” Steve Jobs was indeed a complex character. Yet he was a leading figure among a generation of mavericks, and a close-reading of the book reveals unique qualities and habits that, albeit controversial, made him a phenomenally ground-breaking business leader and an icon of Silicon Valley. Though the book focuses on the life of Steve Jobs, the reader is exposed to history of Apple Computer, as well as Jobs other ventures: NeXT and Pixar. Throughout the narrative of Jobs’s involvement with these companies, the text conveys numerous business lessons. In recent times, Jobs has more than often been labeled as a business genius and a model of charismatic leadership. By recreating key moments in the history of Jobs’s endeavors, and by providing Jobs’s own thoughts and opinions, Isaacson delivers a unique case study to the reader. It can be easily dissected and analyzed for insight into Jobs’s management philosophy, business principles, methodologies, and overall vision for personal computing and consumer technology.
Jobs’s way, vis-à-vis mainstream practices, offers an eye-opening perspective into how the world works. Entrepreneurship Steve Jobs’s life and the genesis of Apple provide and incredibly valuable lesson on entrepreneurship. Based on Isaacson’s account, there are two key components of entrepreneurship, as exemplified by Jobs: innovation and integration. In order to add value to the world and gain market share (or even create a new market altogether), an entrepreneur must offer an innovation. Therefore, whatever it is that the entrepreneur wishes to launch, it must be innovative. Innovation can be in the form of: • New product: a better good or tool • New service: a better way of getting things done for people • New process: a better way for people to get things done themselves • New brand: a better way of convincing people they need a particular product, service, or process. In order to make the innovation a reality, the entrepreneur must be able to act and get things done. This requires the ability to integrate and leverage sources of contribution, and thus foresee and guide synergy that will accomplish the vision in the most cost-effective way. Sources of contribution include expertise, resources, or strategic positioning in particular areas. • Expertise (which I personally call “Oracles”): knowledge in engineering, marketing,