Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different: A Biography

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different:  A Biography

 “You and me burning matches, lifting latches On our way back home” -- Lennon/McCartney “In every case, he was seeking something that would be easier and simpler to use because, as the original brochure said, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ When you first look at a problem, it seems easy because you don’t know that much about it, he said. Then ‘you get into the problem and you see it’s really complicated and you come up with all these convoluted solutions.’ “Most people stop there. But the key is to keep going, he said, until you find the ‘underlying principle of the problem and sort of come full circle with a beautiful, elegant solution that works.’

Perhaps drawing on his Zen studies, Jobs focused as intensely on what to leave out of a product as on what to put in.” “I have a different appreciation for this phone now,” my wife said this morning, gazing down at the iPhone in her hand. We’ve spent the past two days taking turns, gulping down chapters of Karen Blumenthal’s addictive biography for young people about, arguably, the most significant entrepreneur of our generation and maybe even of the past hundred years. There are certainly those who accumulated more money. But none approaches how culturally significant the late Steve Jobs has been throughout my adult life.

“’Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’” This is one of the most inspirational biographies that I have ever read. The author utilizes a commencement address delivered by Jobs in 2005 at Stanford (a stone’s throw from where Jobs grew up and lived as an adult) as the framework for the story of the guy whose imagination and savvy were responsible for so many of the tech toys so many of us routinely use every day. “’The journey is the reward,’ he said. ‘It’s not just the accomplishment of something incredible. It’s the actual doing of something incredible, day in and day out, getting the chance to participate in something really incredible.’”

It is particularly fun for me, having been born eight days after Steve Jobs, to read about where his mind and heart were at different points in his life and compare them to my own experiences – both as an adolescent and as an adult (or, as was sometimes the case for each of us, as we pretended to be adults). I enjoy the fact that he followed, as I do, a vegan diet. I really appreciate the author’s presenting his many shortcomings and flaws, not just his triumphs. “Job’s decision to quit college and drop in on a calligraphy class led to a new use for the personal computer that would be copied by others. “He couldn’t have envisioned all that when he was just seventeen.

That revelation, that experience, taught him a valuable lesson, he told the Stanford graduates. Because we can’t see what’s ahead, ‘you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.’” If you look through the shelves of a typical library’s children’s or young adult biography section, there are a relatively small percentage of books about entrepreneurs. Karen Blumenthal’s experiences in writing about business and tech for the Wall Street Journal have served her so well here, as she is able to talk business in detail and still keep us fully engaged in the story. Steve Jobs and I grew up reading about the exploits of the Wright Brothers and Henry Ford. Thanks to Karen Blumenthal, my grandchildren will, in the same way, grow up reading about Steve Jobs.  320 pages


Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA

See more of his reviews at: Richie's Picks _

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