The following is a guest post.
I just finished reading the Steve Jobs biography, and it’s a great book! Here is my review.
The Life of Steve Jobs
- Steve Jobs honestly had great parents. They poured all their life savings into his college tuition fund. They bought a house which they could barely afford in a neighbourhood that had a good school.
- When Steve was young, he became a Buddhist. Here’s why:
Steve Jobs was a Catholic at birth. But one day, at a young age, he saw a picture about children dying from hunger in Africa. So he goes to his priest, and says “does God know everything?” The priest replies “of course.” Then Steve points to the picture and asks “Then does God know about this?” The priest says “of course.” Then Steve says “so why doesn’t God do anything about it?” And the priest doesn’t have an answer. Ever since then, Steve has converted to Buddhism.
The thing is, all these faiths ask you to believe in something that you don’t know if they even exist. They all ask you to believe that the world will be better, there is someone else watching out for you, etc. But the problem is, none of them ask you to take any specific action.
Buddhism is more than just a religion. It’s a way of life. It’s telling and helping you to live a better, more peaceful life, instead of asking you to blindly believe in something.
- Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were at first great friends. Woz was really great at inventing technology (actually, the word “genius” would be more descriptive), and Jobs was good at tech, but more of a great salesman. Wozniak would be the one who created the gadget from scratch, and Jobs would be the one to figure out a way to make money from the invention. In Isaacson’s (the author’s) words, “Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention that he would have been happy just to give away, and Jobs would figure out how to make it user friendly, put it together in a package, market it, and make a few bucks.”
- From the early stages of their relationship, Jobs realized a fatal flaw in Wozniak. Wozniak was a pure engineer – he was a genius when it came to making gadgets, but he had no skills at playing corporate politics, nor the skills to be a great leader. “He believed in extreme honesty”. At first the Jobs-Wozniak relationship worked out because Woz was great at handling the technical side of things, and Jobs was great at handling the promotional/marketing side of things. But eventually, their relationship broke off, because Woz was a pure engineer. He was replaceable, as there are thousands of genius engineers out there.
- Jobs went to a great arts college – Reed College. He liked being at Reed, just not taking the required classes (same with me!). So he dropped out, and instead dropped in on the classes that interested him. “I decided to drop out, and trust that it would all work out.” The older we get, the more we need to believe in fate – that whether it be Buddha, Allah, or God, has a plan in store for us.
- Steve Jobs was clearly a genius from birth. His success is not something that 99.999% of us can emulate through hard work. There was a certain “geniuessness” in him that attracted many colleagues and friends. When he went to India on a spiritual trip, a Buddhist monk grabbed him, because the monk saw something special in him. Probably, the monk saw a man in front of him who was gifted a very, very special talent from Buddha.
My Favorite Quote from Steve Jobs
- “Simplicity is the highest form of complexity.” Totally agree. This is his best quote in the whole entire book.
Other Thoughts on Apple and Steve Jobs
- Steve Jobs has a need for perfection. This was good for him, because he made his products perfect. But people who are perfectionists tend to live short lives, because they put so much stress on themselves and those around them.
- What is one of the key factors between Apple products’ design and the product designs other companies create? Apple products are S-E-X-Y. So why is it that Apple manages to make such great looking, well functioning products? At Apple, the process of designing a product is integrally related to how it would be engineered and manufactured. When designing the product, they have teams of manufacturers, designers, and engineers all working together.
Other companies would have the designers pass along a great product to the engineers, who would scrap some of its’ great components because “that’s not possible to make”. Then it would passed along to the manufacturers, who would also scrap some of its’ great components because “what you’re asking us to do is impossible.”
So you start off with something great, and end up with something that’s average. Not so at Apple. Design, engineering, and manufacturing teams all work together so that everyone knows all the great components in the gadget are feasible to create.
Crystal’s Comments: Thanks for a review of Steve Jobs Biography - I only knew about some of this from NPR.