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Publisher's Summary

Featuring a new epilogue read by the author.

From the author of the best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs.

Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years - as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues - Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the 21st century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple's hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

©2011 Walter Isaacson (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Featured Article: 35+ Inspirational Entrepreneur Quotes to Kickstart Your Goals


The world of entrepreneurship is filled with high hurdles, long nights, and hard-earned wins. Deciding to launch your own business is a huge risk, and it requires a lot of support, luck, and sheer grit to stick with it long enough to see it pay off. Whether you’re considering heading into an independent career or are already running your own company, you know how important it is to seek out the wisdom of those with thriving ventures.

What listeners say about Steve Jobs

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Biography, Fine narrator

I'm a little less than a third of the way through and find the book quite interesting. It seems to be a fair portrait of Jobs, blemishes and all. I'm writing this before finishing, though, in defense of the narrator, who seems to be taking quite a few hits on this page for, apparently, not sounding enough like Steve Jobs.

Here's my take: The narrator is just fine, and does a clean, professional job, comparable to what you get in many of the best biographies. I've heard "terrible" narrators; this fellow is not one. His reading is nothing that would normally raise complaints. He does not do a Steve Jobs impersonation, which is exactly the way I, personally, would like him to approach it. But Jobs was such a public personality, with a nearly cult-like following, that some listeners seem to be taking their obsession with Jobs out on the narrator because he is not Jobs. I don't think that is reasonable.

So, I'm enjoying the book. I hope you will as well.

232 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrific book, HORRIBLE reader!

I agree completely with one of the previous reviewers. This is a terrific book, but the reader is absolutely awful, especially when he's trying to intone statements made by Steve Jobs. Trying to create a caricature is a good way of describing it. I found it almost unlistenable , the voice was so annoying throughout. I can't understand how in the world Mr. Baker ever got the gig to record one of the most anticipated biographies of recent years. I would have preferred either the author or someone with a depth of character and nuance to their voice, instead of this reedy-voiced nails-on-a-chalkboard narrator. An extremely disappointing performance! Dear Simon & Schuster/Audible- PLEASE have this re-recorded! I'll even buy it twice just to get the new version!

105 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

If you've ever wondered what Steve Jobs was really like, this book is for you. Isaacson's holds nothing back in describing both the genius and the jerk that was Steve Jobs. Overall, despite the brutal honesty regarding Jobs' MANY quirks, I think the book was favorable to Jobs. I came out of it admiring him as a visionary, but also thankful that I never had to work for him.

Steve Jobs is our generation's Walt Disney: a brilliant innovator who beautifully blended art and technology while building some of the most enduring and iconic companies in human history. Other parallels to Disney: they both had complete control over their companies' direction; they were both highly visible spokesmen (even icons) for both the company and the brand; they both left behind a changed world (Disney with animation and theme parks, Jobs with the iPod/iPad/iPhone/Pixar); they were both astute businessmen in addition to being visionaries; both were pioneers in revolutionizing animation in feature films; and of course, sadly, both died too young of cancer. I've also enjoyed Disney biographies, particularly the ones, like this bio, which took an honest look at the flaws as well as the genius.

I am not a huge Apple fan but I loved this book, and I love Steve Jobs; not because of who he was but for what he did. His greatest achievements -- iPod, iPad, iPhone, and Pixar -- were all revolutionary inventions, literally creating something new out of nothing. What would be the state of portable consumer devices today without Jobs? Would we still be using clunky flip phones with atrocious software? Would we have elegant graphical interfaces on our computers or devices?

And what about family films? Would we be taking our kids to see abysmal Disney movies like Treasure Planet, rather than beautiful, inspired, emotional epics like the Toy Story trilogy and Finding Nemo?

Even for those of us who aren't "Apple people" can thank Jobs' vision for pushing our culture in the direction of beauty and quality.

This book highlights Jobs' vital role in all these revolutions. Particularly compelling are how Jobs was able to conquer both the music studios AND Eisner-led Disney in the span of a few short years. The details of those conquests are priceless, and this audiobook is worth it for those two tales alone. I also liked the details of his relationship to Bill Gates, and how it evolved through the years (hint: it was not as contentious as I'd always believed).

But there is also much more. I found myself thinking "what a jerk" one second, and "what a genious" the next -- and then quickly back to "what a jerk" again. He is a study in extremes. I came into this book not knowing WHAT I'd think of Jobs in the end given some of the shocking excerpts in the press. I thought it was a good possibility that I'd hate the guy. But Isaacson effectively shows the humanity behind the insanity, and by the end, I can honestly say I genuinely liked him. I was even a little choked up by his cancer plight. It's so sad that the pre-eminent visionary of our time was taken from us in his prime -- not unlike Walt Disney was taken from us almost 50 years ago.

So I guess in the end, Steve's impeccable taste served him well. In choosing Isaacson and giving him open access to his past, Jobs succeeded in putting out one last perfect product: a lasting image of himself that perfectly demonstrated his humanity, his deep flaws, and his enduring genius. I think he would have loved the result, and I did too.

Dylan Baker's narration is excellent. Baker has a little sarcastic twang that I think is perfect for this man, and for this material. Wise choice.

94 people found this helpful

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Awful, awful reader

Has the reader ever heard Steve Jobs speak? Given the prominence of Jobs, one might expect that the reader would be familiar with Jobs's personality and speaking style, and that this knowledge would inform how the reader delivered direct quotes from Jobs. But no; the lines are spoken in an irritating and incongruous tone that bears no resemblance whatsoever to Jobs. It sounds as if the reader was deliberately trying to caricature his subject.

This is a well written and thoughtful book but I'm having a frustrating time listening to it. I might just buy it in paper simply to avoid listening to the dreadful Dylan Baker.

81 people found this helpful

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Interesting man

Steve Jobs life was interesting from day one. The book is well written and well read. I did not want the book to end. I did not want Steve Jobs' life to end. He was a unique individual with a passion for perfection. The book was well worth twenty five hours of my life.

69 people found this helpful

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Well written, amazing story and new insights.

I stayed up late to wait for this to be released on Audible. It was worth it. I listened non-stop to the book on my iPhone. There was a lot of new stories in it I hadn't heard before. The books flows really well, Walter Isaacson's writing is great. If you are interested in hearing about Steve Job''s life, then this book is a perfect experience. A lot of funny moments, and a lot of "huh, seriously?" moments too.

52 people found this helpful

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Fine narration and a compelling story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and, as I cannot improve on the many positive comments, I write in defense of the narrator. As a longtime Audible subscriber, I've listened to many of the best (and some of the worst) narrators in the Audible world. Frankly, I find some of the negative comments for this book's narration to be over the top and a few are downright mean spirited. That said, all are entitled to their own opinion. I found the narrator to be well-paced with a clear, pleasant voice and nice inflection, Do not be put off. This is a great book about a true visionary in our own time. Narrator, Dylan Baker, does a fine job with this much anticipated Audible release. Enjoy!

47 people found this helpful

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One of the Best

I have no interest in Steve Jobs, Apple or computers or business in general, however, this book is about an innovator, who changed the world and his story is amazing. I consider this to be one of the best books I've listened too and Isaacson is an outstanding writer as well!

45 people found this helpful

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Interesting story, really bad reader :(

The reader's voice just sucks. The story, though is interesting enough. Wish the book were read by some one else.

42 people found this helpful

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Teetering On the Edge

A brave and very candid look at an icon that has changed our world probably even more than we can yet grasp (think of the images of international political upheavals, mistreatments, the disasters in Japan...). I don't think superior intellect or ability excuses bad or unkind behavior of any kind, and his absolute forthrightness regarding these improprieties made this all the more fascinating to listen to. There's a lot of mischief and down right mean behaviors revealed about Jobs' personal and professional road to legendom. Years ago I went to a conference that focused on the psychology of a possible connection between some great thinkers (inventors, artists, etc.) and insanity, what we might label "mad geniuses"; I don't know if Mr. Jobs was in this category, but he definitely was a genius that often behaved erractically in his imposing journey that has left a monumental impact on the world. Extremely well researched; performance passable for a non-teckie, but if you listen, you'll have no doubt what Mr. Jobs would have thought about the performance!

35 people found this helpful

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