There’s probably not much new I can say about the biography of Jobs, Steve Jobs. The latter third of the book is a bit more bolted on. It follows a more or less typical progression of a biography, starting somewhat chronologically, and then falling into a pit of overlapping but, for the most part, monotonically advancing chapters. It’s impressively thorough and it’s pretty impressive that it was brought to market so quickly. There’s an awful lot of redundancy and rehashing and heavy-handed foreshadowing, but maybe that’s a feature of the genre? I think it could be polished a bit, but it’s a well-done work as far as I can tell. I haven’t read enough biographies to really be a good judge or to rate this, but if you’re curious about Jobs, you should read it. 7/10 (much stronger on content, but a bit rough in structure as things start unraveling in the latter third).
Of course, with any biography, a lot of the study is not in the author of the biography, but the subject. Jobs turns out to be an interesting amalgamation of things: a child, a genius, and a complete fucking nut. I don’t wish to emulate his style, but I admire ability to develop a singular, maniacal, all-encompassing focus on something. His attention to detail is fascinating. At the same time, it sounds like it’s completely bewildering and unsatisfying. Reading about his eating disorders, insane diets, and complete irrationality, it’s hard not to think of him as a half-insane addict. The notion of an argumentative raging asshole that will just as soon break down crying in the middle of a tough negotiation is pretty foreign to me.
I can’t argue with the end result; he made some pretty cool things happen in the end. It does leave me with some doubts about Apple’s ability to focus in the future. Ive may be a design genius, but the book makes it sound like more than anything else, he knew how to produce work for Steve. I wonder a bit what will happen without a raging ass douche to balance out his happy demeanor. Does being a downright fascist dictator really produce greatness? Does it only work if said dictator is also an incomparable genius? Or just a dragon-chasing hippie? I’ve got no idea.
So yeah, I guess it’s a good book.