Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson


Jobs is such a compelling character that the book didn’t feel long, even though 25 hours is hefty.

As with the Musk biography, there is a lot to admire about Jobs, ways in which I wish I was more like him, as well as a lot I would not wish to emulate. Jobs seems worse than Musk: Musk comes off from Vance’s account as being unaware of how his intensity and bluntness negatively affects those he works with; by Isaacson’s account, Jobs was knowingly mean-spirited and selfish.

Isaacson concludes at the end of the book that Jobs didn’t need to be so mean, and that this trait hurt him more than it helped him. But this rings hollow at the end of a book where Jobs’ single-minded intensity, and refusal to compromise, made all the difference to the success of his ventures. If Jobs had been less mean, would he still have been so uncompromising?

There are many paths to success, and Jobs is one template that I don’t plan to follow too closely. The fact that he was so transformational is a datapoint on my chances of success in life that I plan not to think about too much.

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