x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Hastily produced following his death in October, Walter Isaacson's book reveals the dark side of the the prescient computer entrepreneur.

Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson
Little, Brown

In this biography of the Apple founder, published in October, the overriding impression of Steve Jobs is of the unpleasantness of his character.

We learn that Jobs was a ruthless megalomaniac with a violent temper. Right up until the end of his life, he relentlessly berated his staff, often reducing them to tears, and fired underperformers without remorse.

We also discover that Jobs was by no means a visionary inventor. Instead, his expertise lay in appropriating existing innovations - the windows desktop interface, the MP3 player or the tablet computer - then refining their performance and presenting them in ways that tapped into the desires of consumers.

Despite his unsparing criticism of Jobs' personality, Isaacson is clearly in awe of his subject's prescience in realising that computers were not merely functional tools, but instead should fuse artistry with technology. "He was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical," he writes.

Whatever your views on Isaacson's assessment, Jobs was undeniably, to quote a famous Apple advert from the mid-1990s, one of the rare few who could "Think Different".