“I am Steve Jobs!”
598 pages, ★★★★★
Everyone’s reading this in Beijing. And suddenly, everyone thinks they’re [the next] Steve Jobs. Of course, I was no exception.
We’re alike. Steve Jobs found enlightenment in India, whereas I found it in China. Neither of us work for the money, which makes us both very difficult people to manage. While Steve was extremely passionate about projects he believed would succeed (the iMac, the iPod), he was also quick to throw tantrums of “this is shit” and destroy other people’s plans (the Newton, the first cancer diagnosis). I do this too.
Steve Jobs admitted he never worked for the money, and I could relate to that. He proved this by working for no salary as the “iCEO” of Apple from 1997. This book actually inspired me to walk away from a well-paying job I didn’t enjoy, which freed up 3 more days of my week to do things that I do enjoy (such as reading books).
Steve Jobs later postulated that the year he spent running around making billion-dollar deals for other people (Pixar) made him stressed and weak, which allowed his cancer to grow. I could relate to that, too: in the last 2 years, I’ve learned that one should only ever work for oneself, i.e. in projects that one truly believes in. Working for anyone else makes you feel sick at worst, and unsatisfied at best.
I read faster in the middle (where Jobs was ousted from Apple) because the ever-increasing sums of money didn’t interest me. Fortunately, it’s the only part of the book which focusses on his financial negotiations (“$”, “billion” and “CEO” were keywords in these chapters). I slowed down significantly towards the end because I didn’t want him to die. Useful spoiler: he doesn’t die in the book.
Al Gore was missing from this book. Having read The Assault on Reason and this TIME feature article (long ago), I expected to see Al Gore more in this book than the 2-3 times that he contributed to Apple meetings. I’ve read elsewhere that Jobs and Gore were good friends outside the boardroom. They even had similar N-shaped careers (being ousted from Apple; the 2000 election respectively). The fact that Gore has massive political and economic interests at stake (Apple, Current, the Alliance for Climate Protection, and many green start-ups) means he probably doesn’t want certain things exposed. To learn more about Steve Jobs, I look forward to reading Al Gore’s next, and hopefully more revealing, biography. ★★★★★