The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
How did a young man so reckless and arrogant that was exiled from the company he founded become the effective visionary leader of our time?
Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli attempt to get to the bottom of this burning question. There have been numerous biographies of the visionary leader, and perhaps I am not the best person to compare and contrast, since I have not read them all. As I was reading this book, a friend said to me, why do people start to glorify the man after he has passed away. He made a comment that it felt the same with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. At the time I didn't have an answer. But it got me thinking.
Why should we stop analyzing greatness because that greatness is no longer in this world? Shouldn’t history be studied and scrutinized? Steve Jobs was a man who had outstanding success in taking Apple to the game player it is today! He created a brand that makes people line up for several days just to be the first to have the new iPhone or iPad in their hands.
And these products he created weren’t your everyday products. They were culture-defining products that transformed Apple into the most valuable and admired enterprise on earth, and they changed the everyday lives of billions of people from all different socioeconomic strata and cultures.
“Steve loved ideas and loved making stuff, and he treated the process of creativity with a rare and wonderful reverence. He, better than anyone, understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily squished. His was a victory for beauty, for purity, and, as he would say, for giving a damn.” ~ Jony Ive
Interestingly enough while we are hell-bent on analyzing this genius to a micro-atomic level, Steve Jobs himself wasn’t inclined to retrospection. In an email he once said, “ What’s the point of looking back? I’d rather look forward to all the good things to come.”
In Becoming Steve Jobs veteran journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli present a portrait of Stevel Jobs that is far more nuanced and intimate. They aim to reveal the hidden influences that shaped Jobs astounding success, but they make it clear that it was far more complicated than simply picking the right product.
Jobs hid from the press for decades. As his wife, Laurene, says of her late husband, Steve was a “learning machine,” and his education continued long after his return to Apple in 1997.
Becoming Steve Jobs is a journey of a man who was riveting, insightful and uplifting. No one works in a vacuum and the book highlights how getting married and beginning a family changed Steve profoundly, in ways that had enormous impact on his work.
While he could be hellish to work for, he also was capable of great kindness, and genuine compassion. The book talks about how he believed deeply in the value of what he chose to do with his life, and he hoped those close to him believed in the value of their work just as deeply.
“Steve was a capable of extraordinary compartmentalization. It’s a talent that allowed him to master and keep track of the various pieces of an entity as complex as Apple upon his return. It allowed him to maintain focus despite a cacophony of worries that came with knowing he had cancer.”
Becoming Steve Jobs is published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company www.penguinrandomhouse.ca