Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Steve Jobs is a visionary. Steve’s biological mother gave him up for adoption in 1955. Paul and Clara Jobs then adopted Steve in Silicon Valley.
Their home had floor-to-ceiling glass walls which helped the home be modern and minimalistic. Steve was greatly influenced by the clean, simple style of their home.
He took this love for minimalist design into all of his future work. He partnered with his friend Steve Wozniak to create a simple, streamlined computer that started the Apple company.
Steve’s work at Apple was innovations that inspired and changed the world. He designed computers, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. This leading technology sparked many industry standards we see today.
But his path to these successes was a rocky one.
- While in high school, Steve met a computer technician named Steve Wozniak. In 1971, they create a device called the “Blue Box” that allowed them to make long-distance calls for free.
- Steve experimented with drugs and spirituality in the 1960s. He has said that his refined aesthetics are due to his psychedelic drug use.
- In 1972, Steve dropped out of college but continued taking classes like calligraphy that will play a role in his future products. The design for Apple products remains clean and simple due to Steve’s love for minimalism. This aesthetic goes into every part of the product including user interfaces.
- In the 1970s, Steve wanted to start his own business and Wozniak had an idea for a personal computer. Wozniak's idea was to put all computer components together into one machine with a screen and keyboard.
- In 1976, with $1,300 in capital, Steve and Wozniak founded Apple. During the first month, Steve and Wozniak built 100 computers by themselves. This product was Apple I.
- Steve was very temperamental and controlling. He would flip out if the products weren’t working or perfect. He verbally abused people. During the production of Apple II, Steve and Apple’s president, Mike Scott, would get into confrontations.
- Apple II sold 6 million units and became an icon. Steve wasn’t satisfied, so he created the Macintosh computer. The Macintosh had a powerful graphics card and had a mouse. In 1984, Macintosh became a success and made Steve an icon with it.
- However, due to Steve continuing to verbally abuse people, the board of directors at Apple fired Steve in 1985. Steve then designed NeXT, a square computer that did not have market success.
- By 1988, Steve invested over $50 million into Pixar. Since Steve had 80% of Pixar’s shares, his net worth shot up to $1.2 billion when Pixar went public.
- Steve then met Laurene Powell in 1991 and had three children: Reed, Erin and Eve. Steve also has a daughter, Lisa, from a previous relationship.
- By 1996, Apple was on the decline. Apple acquired NeXT for its software. Steve then went back at Apple as an advisor. He placed the NEXT employees in high positions at Apple and used this momentum to gain back power.
- Apple’s board of directors offered Steve the CEO position again, but Steve declined at first. In 1997 Apple lost over $1 billion but gained back $300 million once Steve was CEO again.
- Afterward, Steve partnered with Jony Ive to design the iMac. With its launch in 1998, it became the fastest-selling product at Apple.
- The Apple Store was then created. Steve designed the store with a minimalist aesthetic. The first one opened in May 2001 and was a huge success.
- Apple launched the iPod. People feared that the average consumer could not afford such a device, but the iPod was half of Apple’s revenue by 2007.
- When phones started to have built-in music players, Steve worried that the iPod would become obsolete, so Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone then became half of Apple’s revenue by 2010.
- Apple launched the iPad in 2010 and it sold 15 million units in the first 9 months.
- Steve and Bill Gates had a rivalry. Steve accused Bill of copying Macintosh’s user interface. Steve also accused Google of copying the iPhone in Android OS.
- By 2003, Steve was diagnosed with cancer and refused surgery for 9 months. After having a tumor removed, Job’s cancer returned in 2008. Steve tried natural treatment to help his cancer, but his health deteriorated and he died in 2011.
- Steve believed that he achieved everything he wanted and was happy with his life and career. He left a legacy of a seamless user experience. Apple products set the standard for slim, clean design and user-friendly interfaces.
About the Author
Walter Isaacson is an American writer and journalist. He works as a professor of history at Tulane University. He has written biographics of Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Enstein, and Henry Kisinger. He graduated from Harvard University in 1974, where he majored in History and Literature. He then attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College, where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and graduated with First Class Honours. His book on Steve Jobs earned him the Gerald Loeb Award in 2012, and he was selected as one of the Time 100, a list of the most influential people in the world. His biography on Steve Jobs was published weeks after Job's death and became an international best seller. The book was based on forty interviews with Jobs over a two year period and on conversations with people close to Jobs.