Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review - Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Book Review
Steve Jobs - by Walter Isaacson
HIGHLY Recommended

I use the book in my Creativity and Innovation class at San Francisco State University. It has many good aspects for teaching this course, as well as Entrepreneurship in general.

- Good overall history of the computer, desktop publishing and computer entertainment industries
- Relatively "unbiased" view of Steve Jobs (there's lots of negative things about him, his personality, etc.)
- Good discussion of innovation of new products (particularly technology)
- Traces the ups and downs of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs and many other "characters" in the respective industries such as Bill Gates, John Sculley, etc.
- Shows what it takes to succeed in startups, large companies, and entreprenurial ventures in general

My students read the book, and write a guided book report, and we discuss the book for a full class, as well as refer to it throughout the semester.

Whatever you have to say about Steve Jobs -- he is without a doubt, the greatest entrepreneur of out time. Go ahead and disagree, but Apple has become the single largest computer, and technology "gadget" company in the world. Its products are outstanding, and Apple/Steve focus on how to sell technology without being Geeky -- unlike Microsoft, IBM, HP, Sony, etc.

The Apple stores were also a stroke of genius. These stores are the Highest Grossing stores in the world per square foot. It's "a happening". If you've never been to one (cause your a PC bigot) GO NOW. Everything about the store is about customer service, and helping users (classes, Genius bar with expert advice and technical support, and so on)

My favorite question to ask my students is -- Would you like to work for Steve Jobs?
- I usually get a resounding - "no, he's an &%^$ !!!"
Sorry, but that's the wrong answer. Sure, Steve was difficult to work with, but the knowledge gained from this individual, as well as learning how to work with a guy-like-Steve (typical of many Silicon Valley types).

I would undoubtedly have loved to work with and for Steve. I only had the pleasure of meeting him once, as well as seeing him around Palo Alto a few times. Many of my friends either worked for Steve at Apple, NeXT or Pixar, and knew him well.

Come on, the guy's a marketing and technology genius!!!

I highly recommend you get a copy of this book (new about $18 and less used) and truly understand what Steve was all about, and what made Apple on the the greatest companies of our time, and I suspect far into the future.

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