Isaacson’s no-holds-barred approach (affiliate link) is bound to turn some people off, as many Amazon.com reviews indicate. Don’t count me as one of them. Jobs was an inherently polarizing figure, both inside and outside of Apple. How does one write a book about him that pleases everyone? It’s not possible.
Pay the naysayers no heed. This is an excellent account of one of the most complex, infuriating, brilliant, and important business leaders of his time. This doesn’t completely surprise me, as Isaacson had unprecedented access to Jobs and his inner sanctum. The result: A fascinating book of Jobs the man and his body of work. The latter is beyond impressive. The book helped me understand many of the details behind the iPad, iPod, iPhone, and other great innovations that had escaped me.
I read this book with a new perspective on the power of the platforms and was relieved to know that many of my suppositions on Apple and Jobs in my own new book were correct. Particularly intriguing is the Gates-Jobs debate over how to best build a platform: Should it a system be open or closed? There’s no one right answer and clearly you can do it both ways.
Do yourself a favor and read this book. It’s one of the best biographies I’ve ever read.