Book review – Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson

Steve…Steve Jobs…at an intersection of humanity and Technology…

The moment you start reading the new biography of Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson, you bound to think one thing for sure…What a Man! What an iCon! What an iDea…

This book is with massive pages…656…phew! So it is going to take some time for me to complete it…so far I have gone through 4 chapters…and I must say there is one more reason why I don’t want to complete this book in one go…This book spins such a ‘Reality Distortion’ and an ‘Aura’ around you… that you are forced to say…let the ‘Aura’ be…

Isaacson’s book is studded with moments that make you go “wow.” There’s the Apple flotation, which made the 25-year-old Jobs US$256 million in the days when that was a lot of money. There’s his turnaround of the company after he returned as CEO in 1997: In the previous fiscal year the company lost US$1.04 billion, but he returned it to profit in his first quarter. There’s the launch of the iTunes store: Expected to sell a million songs in six months, it sold a million songs in six days.

Walter makes it very clear that Jobs wasn’t a visionary or even a particularly talented electronic engineer. But he was a businessman of astonishing flair and focus, a marketing genius, and — when he was getting it right, which wasn’t always — had an intuitive sense of what the customer would want before the customer had any idea. He was obsessed with the products, rather than with the money: Happily, as he found, if you get the products right, the money will come.

But with all this there remains a question which if you are reading this must like to know

Why read this book?

Because I want to be a GREAT problem solver…

Because I want to learn to become a better problem solver from one of the best problem solvers’ of this century

I am a HUGE fan of ‘Sir’ Steve Jobs…he ‘is’ a phenomenon…I have been following him from past few years very very closely…going through every keynotes…his way of presentation….his way os talking…everything…I admire in him. He is my idol…my ‘Mentor’…but having known so much about Steve, I still would like to know more…no as if I want to know what happened with Steve and his childhood…but because I want to learn as to whatever happened with him…how that made him the person he was….

So far book has been a great read…and I would love to go over this book…and will write more and more as I get to know…

Cheers!

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California Declares Oct. 16 Steve Jobs Day

California’s governor has chosen a day to dub as Steve Jobs Day: Oct. 16, the same date Apple will hold a memorial at Stanford University.

In a tweet sent to his more than 1 million followers Friday night, Gov. Jerry Brown said, “This Sunday will be Steve Jobs Day in the State of California.”

Jobs died Oct. 5 and was buried two days later during a small private funeral. Since his passing, the world — including U.S. President Barack Obama, Microsoft’s Bill Gatesand Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — has mourned his passing and celebrated his achievements.

Several memorials also have cropped up to honor the man who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak. The New York Times reported Friday night that Oct. 16 also will be when Apple holds a memorial for Jobs at Stanford University for “prominent Silicon Valley executives.” Jobs famously gave a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005.

Previously, Apple announced it would put on an employees-only memorial on Oct. 19 at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

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Photo by Jehangir Irani
Photo by Sonali Shah
Photo by Robby Grossman

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10 Golden Lessons From Steve Jobs – Part II

This is the second series of the post…10 Golden lessons from Steve Jobs, click here for Part I

6. Steve Jobs said: “We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.”

Reams of academic studies over the decades have amply confirmed television’s pernicious mental and moral influences. And most TV watchers know that their habit is mind-numbing and wasteful, but still spend most of their time in front of that box. So turn your TV off and save some brain cells. But be cautious, you can turn your brain off by using a computer also. Try and have an intelligent conversation with someone who plays first person shooters for 8 hours a day. Or auto race games, or roll playing games.

7. Steve Jobs said: “I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.”

Don’t equate making mistakes with being a mistake. There is no such thing as a successful person who has not failed or made mistakes, there are successful people who made mistakes and changed their lives or performance in response to them, and so got it right the next time. They viewed mistakes as warnings rather than signs of hopeless inadequacy. Never making a mistake means never living life to the full.

8. Steve Jobs said: “I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”

Over the last decade, numerous books featuring lessons from historical figures have appeared on the shelves of bookstores around the world. And Socrates stands with Leonardo da Vinci, Nicholas Copernicus, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein as a beacon of inspiration for independent thinkers. But he came first. Cicero said of Socrates that, “He called philosophy down from the skies and into the lives of men.” So use Socrates’ principles in your life, your work, your learning, and your relationships. It’s not about Socrates, it’s really about you, and how you can bring more truth, beauty and goodness into your life everyday.

9. Steve Jobs said: “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”

Did you know that you have big things to accomplish in life? And did you know that those big things are getting rather dusty while you pour yourself another cup of coffee, and decide to mull things over rather than do them? We were all born with a gift to give in life, one which informs all of our desires, interests, passions and curiosities. This gift is, in fact, our purpose. And you don’t need permission to decide your own purpose. No boss, teacher, parent, priest or other authority can decide this for you. Just find that unique purpose.

10. Steve Jobs said: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Are you tired of living someone else’s dream? No doubt, its your life and you have every right to spend it in your own individual way without any hurdles or barriers from others. Give yourself a chance to nurture your creative qualities in a fear-free and pressure-free climate. Live a life that YOU choose and be your own boss. Each lesson might be difficult to integrate into your life at first, but if you ease your way into each lesson, one at a time, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your overall performance. So go ahead, give them a try.

10 Golden Lessons From Steve Jobs – Part I

My Name is Steve…Steve Jobs…and I don’t care who you are…for me Customer is King, and I owe them… – though these are not Steve’s word, but this has always been evident from Steve and his products that he does care about one thing, and that one thing is Products…

Here are few of his excellent lines, which in turn are the gold mine for  any budding Product Manager:

I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

His accomplishments and character helped define a generation and change the world. He was co-founder of the fairytale company we now know as Apple Computers. And he was the visionary of the personal computers world that led the entire computer hardware and software industry to restructure itself. This man with boundless energy and charisma is also a master of hype, hyperbole and the catchy phrase. And even when he’s trying to talk normally, brilliant verbiage comes tumbling out.

1. Steve Jobs said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Innovation has no limits. The only limit is your imagination. It’s time for you to begin thinking out of the box. If you are involved in a growing industry, think of ways to become more efficient; more customer friendly; and easier to do business with. If you are involved in a shrinking industry – get out of it quick and change before you become obsolete; out of work; or out of business. And remember that procrastination is not an option here. Start innovating now!!!

2. Steve Jobs said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

There is no shortcut to excellence. You will have to make the commitment to make excellence your priority. Use your talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible and get ahead of others by giving that little extra. Live by a higher standard and pay attention to the details that really do make the difference. Excellence is not difficult – simply decide right now to give it your best shot – and you will be amazed with what life gives you back.

3. Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

I’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” Seek out an occupation that  gives you a sense of meaning, direction and satisfaction in life. Having a sense of purpose and striving towards goals gives life meaning, direction and satisfaction. It not only contributes to health and longevity, but also makes you feel better in difficult times. Do you jump out of bed on Monday mornings and look forward to the work week? If the answer is ‘no’ keep looking, you’ll know when you find it.

4. Steve Jobs said: “You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved… I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.”

Live in a way that is ethically responsible. Try to make a difference in this world and contribute to the higher good. You’ll find it gives more meaning to your life and it’s a great antidote to boredom. There is always so much to be done. And talk to others about what you are doing. Don’t preach or be self-righteous, or fanatical about it, that just puts people off, but at the same time, don’t be shy about setting an example, and use opportunities that arise to let others know what you are doing.

5. Steve Jobs said: “There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.”

It is the kind of mind that can see things as they are, which step by step and in a flash can realize the original nature of everything. Beginner’s mind is the mind that is innocent of preconceptions and expectations, judgements and prejudices. Think of beginner’s mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement.

Playboy Interview – Steven Jobs (1985) – Part VI

This is the last and final series of Steve Jobs given to Playboy in 1985…

Click here for Part I, Part IIPart III, Part IV, and Part V

Playboy: When you were in college in precomputer days, what did you and your classmates feel was the way to make a contribution? Politics?

Jobs: None of the really bright people I knew in college went into politics. They all sensed that, in terms of making a change in the world, politics wasn’t the place to be in the late Sixties and Seventies. All of them are in business now‐‑which is funny, because they were the same people who trekked off to India or who tried in one way or another to find some sort of truth about life.

Playboy: Wasn’t business and the lure of money merely the easy choice in the end?

Jobs: No, none of those people care about the money. I mean, a lot of them made a lot of money, but they don’t really care. Their lifestyles haven’t particularly changed. It was the chance to actually try something, to fail, to succeed, to grow. Politics wasn’t the place to be these past ten years if you were eager to try things out. As someone who hasn’t turned 30 yet, I think your 20s are the time to be impatient, and a lot of these people’s idealism would have been deeply frustrated in politics; it would have been blunted. I think it takes a crisis for something to occur in America. And I believe there’s going to be a crisis of significant proportions in the early Nineties as these problems our political leaders should have been addressing boil up to the surface. And that’s when a lot of these people are going to bring both their practical experience and their idealism into the political realm. You’re going to see the best-trained generation ever to go into politics. They’re going to know how to choose people, how to get things done, how to lead.

Playboy: Doesn’t every generation say that?

Jobs: These are different times. The technological revolution is more intertwined every day with our economy and our society‐‑more than 50 percent of America’s gross national product comes from information-based industries‐‑and most political leaders today have had no background in that revolution. It’s going to become crucial that many of the larger decisions we make‐‑how we allot our resources, how we educate our children‐‑be made with an understanding of the technical issues and the directions the technology is taking. And that hasn’t begun happening yet. In education, for example, we have close to a national embarrassment. In a society where information and innovation are going to be pivotal, there really is the possibility that America can become a second-rate industrial nation if we lose the technical momentum and leadership we have now.

Playboy: You mentioned investing in education, but isn’t the problem finding the funds in a time of soaring deficits?

Jobs: We’re making the largest investment of capital that humankind has ever made in weapons over the next five years. We have decided, as a society, that that’s where we should put our money, and that raises the deficits and, thus, the cost of our capital. Meanwhile, Japan, our nearest competitor on the next technological frontier‐‑the semiconductor industry‐‑has shaped its tax structure, its entire society, toward raisin  the capital to invest in that area. You get the feeling that connections aren’t made in America between things like building weapons and the fact that we might lose our semiconductor industry. We have to educate ourselves to that danger.

Playboy: And you think computers will help in that process.

Jobs: Well, I’ll tell you a story. I saw a video tape that we weren’t supposed to see. It was prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By watching the tape, we discovered that, at least as of a few years ago, every tactical nuclear weapon in Europe manned by U.S. personnel was targeted by an Apple II computer. Now, we didn’t sell computers to the military; they went out and bought them at a dealer’s, I guess. But it didn’t make us feel good to know that our computers were being used to target nuclear weapons in Europe. The only bright side of it was that at least they weren’t [Radio Shack] TRS-80s! Thank God for that. The point is that tools are always going to be used for certain things we don’t find personally pleasing. And it’s ultimately the wisdom of people, not the tools themselves, that is going to determine whether or not these things are used in positive, productive ways.

Playboy: Where do you see computers and software going in the near future?

Jobs: Thus far, we’re pretty much using our computers as good servants. We ask them to do something, we ask them to do some operation like a spread sheet, we ask them to take our key strokes and make a letter out of them, and they do that pretty well. And you’ll see more and more perfection of that‐‑computer as servant. But the next thing is going to be computer as guide or agent. And what that means is that it’s going to do more in terms of anticipating what we want and doing it for us, noticing connections and patterns in what we do, asking us if this is some sort of generic thing we’d like to do regularly, so that we’re going to have, as an example, the concept of triggers. We’re going to be able to ask our computers to monitor things for us, and when certain conditions happen, are triggered, the computers will take certain actions and inform us after the fact.

Playboy: For example?

Jobs: Simple things like monitoring your stocks every hour or every day. When a stock gets beyond set limits, the computer will call my broker and electronically sell it and then let me know. Another example is that at the end of the month, the computer will go into the data base and find all the salesmen who exceeded their sales quotas by more tha  20 percent and write them a personalized letter from me and send it over the electronic mail system to them, and give me a report on who it sent the letters to each month. There will be a time when our computers have maybe 100 or so of those tasks; they’re going to be much more like an agent for us. You’re going to see that start to happen a little bit in the next 12 months, but really, it’s about three years away. That’s the next breakthrough.

Playboy: Will we be able to perform all of those things on the hardware we have now? Or are you going to charge us for new machines?

Jobs: All? That would be a dangerous statement, using the word all. I don’t know about that. Macintosh was certainly designed with those concepts in mind.

Playboy: You take great pride in having Apple keep ahead. How do you feel about the older companies that have to play catch-up with the younger companies‐‑or perish

? Jobs: That’s inevitably what happens. That’s why I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete. I think that’s one of Apple’s challenges, really. When two young people walk in with the next thing, are we going to embrace it and say this is fantastic? Are we going to be willing to drop our models, or are we going to explain it away? I think we’ll do better, because we’re completely aware of it and we make it a priority.

Playboy: In thinking about your success, did you ever get to the point where you slapped your head and asked yourself what was happening? After all, it was virtually overnight.

Jobs: I used to think about selling 1,000,000 computers a year, but it was just a thought. When it actually happens, it’s a totally different thing. So it was, “Holy shit, it’s actually coming true!” But what’s hard to explain is that this does not feel like overnight. Next year will be my tenth year. I had never done anything longer than a year in my life. Six months, for me, was a long time when we started Apple. So this has been my life since I’ve been sort of a free-willed adult. Each year has been so robust with problems and successes and learning experiences and human experiences that a year is a lifetime at Apple. So this has been ten lifetimes.

Playboy: Do you know what you want to do with the rest of this lifetime?

Jobs: There’s an old Hindu saying that comes into my mind occasionally: “For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you.” As I’m going to be 30 in February, the thought has crossed my mind.

Playboy: And?

Jobs: And I’m not sure. I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there, but I’ll always come back. And that’s what I may try to do. The key thing to remember about me is that I’m still a student. I’m still in boot camp. If anyone is reading any of my thoughts, I’d keep that in mind. Don’t take it all too seriously. If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values. That is why it’s hard doing interviews and being visible: As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.

Playboy: You could take off. You certainly don’t have to worry about money. You’re still working‐‑

Jobs: [Laughs] Because of guilt. Guilt over the money.

Playboy: Let’s talk about the money. You were a millionaire at 23.

Jobs: And when I was 24, my net worth was more than $10,000,000; when I was 25, it was more than $100,000,000.

Playboy: What’s the main difference between having $1,000,000 and having several hundred million?

Jobs: Visibility. The number of people who have a net worth of more than $1,000,000 in this country is in the tens of thousands. The number of people who have a net worth of more than $10,000,000 gets down to thousands. And the number who have a net worth of more than $100,000,000 gets down to a few hundred.

Playboy: What does the money actually mean to you?

Jobs: I still don’t understand it. It’s a large responsibility to have more than you can spend in your lifetime‐‑and I feel I have to spend it. If you die, you certainly don’t want to leave a large amount to your children. It will just ruin their lives. And if you die without kids, it will all go to the Government. Almost everyone would think that he could invest the money back into humanity in a much more astute way than the Government could. The challenges are to figure out how to live with it and to reinvest it back into the world, which means either giving it away or using it to express your concerns or values.

Playboy: So what do you do?

Jobs: That’s a part of my life that I like to keep private. When I have some time, I’m going to start a public foundation. I do some things privately now.

Playboy: You could spend all of your time disbursing your money.

Jobs: Oh, you have to. I’m convinced that to give away a dollar effectively is harder than to make a dollar.

Playboy: Could that be an excuse to put off doing something?

Jobs: No. There are some simple reasons for that. One is that in order to learn how to do something well, you have to fail sometimes. In order to fail, there has to be a measurement system. And that’s the problem with most philanthropy‐‑there’s no measurement system. You give somebody some money to do something and most of the time you can really never measure whether you failed or succeeded in your judgment of that person or his ideas or their implementation. So if you can’t succeed or fail, it’s really hard to get better. Also, most of the time, the people who come to you with ideas don’t provide the best ideas. You go seek the best ideas out, and that takes a lot of time.

Playboy: If you plan to use your visibility to create a model for people, why is this one of the areas you choose not to discuss?

Jobs: Because I haven’t done anything much yet. In that area, actions should speak the loudest.

Playboy: Are you completely virtuous or do you admit to any extravagances?

Jobs: Well, my favorite things in life are books, sushi and…. My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. As it is, I pay a price by not having much of a personal life. I don’t have the time to pursue love affairs or to tour small towns in Italy and sit in cafes and eat tomato-and‐‑mozzarella salad. Occasionally, I spend a little money to save myself a hassle, which means time. And that’s the extent of it. I bought an apartment in New York, but it’s because I love that city. I’m trying to educate myself, being from a small town in California, not having grown up with the sophistication and culture of a large city. I consider it part of my education. You know, there are many people at Apple who ca  buy everything that they could ever possibly want and still have most of their money unspent. I hate talking about this as a problem; people are going to read this and think, Yeah, well, give me your problem. They’re going to think I’m an arrogant little asshole.

Playboy: With your wealth and past accomplishments, you have the ability to pursue dreams as few others do. Does that freedom frighten you?

Jobs: The minute you have the means to take responsibility for your own dreams and can be held accountable for whether they come true or not, life is a lot tougher. It’s easy to have wonderful thoughts when the chance to implement them is remote. When you’ve gotten to a place where you at least have a chance of implementing your ideas, there’s a lot more responsibility in that.

Playboy: We’ve talked about what you see in the near future; what about the far future? If we’re still in kindergarten, and you start imagining some of the ways computers are going to change our lives, what do you see?

Jobs: When I came back from India, I found myself asking, What was the one most important thing that had struck me? And I think it was that Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic. It is a learned ability. It had never occurred to me that if no one taught us how to think this way, we would not think this way. And yet, that’s the way it is. Obviously, one of the great challenges of an education is to teach us how to think. What we’re finding is that computers are actually going to affect the quality of thinking as more and more of our children have these tools available to them. Humans are tool users. What’s really incredible about a book is that you can read what Aristotle wrote. You don’t have to have some teacher’s interpretation of Aristotle. You can certainly get that, but you can read exactly what Aristotle wrote. That direct transmission of thoughts and ideas is one of the key building blocks of why we are where we are, as a society. But the problem with a book is that you can’t ask Aristotle a question. I think one of the potentials of the computer is to somehow … capture the fundamental, underlying principles of an experience.

Playboy: For example?

Jobs: Here’s a very crude example. The original video game, Pong, captured the principles of gravity, angular momentum and things like that, to where each game obeyed those underlying principles, and yet every game was different‐‑sort of like life. That’s the simplest example. And what computer programming can do is to capture the underlying principles, the underlying essence, and then facilitate thousands of experiences based on that perception of the underlying principles. Now, what if we could capture Aristotle’s world view‐‑the underlying principles of his world view? Then you could actually ask Aristotle a question. OK. You might say it would not be exactly what Aristotle was. It could be all wrong. But maybe not.

Playboy: But you would say it was at least interesting feedback.

Jobs: Exactly. Part of the challenge, I think, is to get these tools to millions and tens of millions of people and to start to refine these tools so that someday we can crudely, and then in a more refined sense, capture an Aristotle or an Einstein or a Land while he’s alive. Imagine what that could be like for a young kid growing up. Forget the young kid‐‑for us! And that’s part of the challenge.

Playboy: Will you be working on that yourself?

Jobs: That’s for someone else. It’s for the next generation. I think an interesting challenge in this area of intellectual inquiry is to grow obsolete gracefully, in the sense that things are changing so fast that certainly by the end of the Eighties, we really want to turn over the reins to the next generation, whose fundamental perceptions are state‐of-the-art perceptions, so that they can go on, stand on our shoulders and go much further. It’s a very interesting challenge, isn’t it? How to grow obsolete with grace.

Hats off to this Man…Love you Steve…

Disclaimer: This interview is from  http://www.txtpost.com/playboy-interview-steven-jobs/, and thanks to http://longform.org/ for this.