The book isn't a love-fest for Jobs. In fact, I think it pays a balanced picture where the downside of Jobs was his tyrannical control issues. I say tyrannical because the impact it had on his health, his family, his friends, his employees and his business. Most people look at Apple in awe… as one of the most valuable companies on the planet. However, there was a downside… Apple once reigned as the leader in the PC industry and then lost its footing.
Enough of the negative… Jobs truly was a unique human being. His laser focus and vision, combined with his uncompromising taste in design truly made his company unique. Jobs transformed the desktop computer industry, the desktop printing industry, the music industry, the animated movie industry, the phone industry and now the tablet industry. It wasn't just design, he actually transformed the way those businesses actually worked.
I was one of the critics when Apple said that it was opening retail stores. I thought it was nuts… especially since Gateway was shutting theirs down. But what I didn't understand that the retail stores weren't about selling product, they were about presenting the products the way Jobs wanted them to be displayed. If you've not been to an Apple store, you really should check it out. Even if you just visit a Best Buy, you'll see how Apple is presented differently.
Walter Isaacson is an amazing storyteller and I was glued to the book as soon as I opened it. There was a caricature of the Jobs we all saw, but the book had so much more incredible detail through interviews with the people that were in the same room. It's not that the book is flawless, though. Forbes recently puublished a very different story about the Think Different campaign.
Personally, the message I walked away with from the book is that success is there to be had when you're relentless in pursuing your vision. I feel as though our own business is only as successful as how dedicated we are to delivering great services to our clients. I'm just not sure that I'm willing to sacrifice as much as Jobs did to get there. In a sense, he may have won a lot of battles, but I'm not sure he won the war.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book!