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BR 96: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Priority: 1 – BUY it!  (All Categories are 1) Read ASAP! 2) BUY it! 3) SHELF it 4) SOMEDAY it)

Comments: This book tells the story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of this generation complete with the many ups and downs that were part of the journey. It helped me understand what made Jobs the man he was and gave me tons of learnings along the way.

Top 3 Learnings:

I learnt that the best way to learn from books about great men is to understand their strengths. Here is a list of strengths I feel Steve GOT –

1. Relentless strength focus (resulted in someone who was not balanced by any stretch of the imagination. But bloody good at what he did.)

2. Focus on top performers – Johnny Ives is a great example. The moment he discovered Ives, he made sure Ives reported to him directly!

3. Intersection of technology and creativity – This, of course, was his speciality.

4. Balance between design and engineering – Concurrent designing and engineering meant that the teams worked with each other. And, unlike other CEO’s, he gave Design first priority over engineering!

5. Shipping – All his greatest projects involved some amount of rework. But, when they shipped, they were generally perfect!

6. Simplification and simplicity – One button on the iPhone. What more can I say?

7. Finding great talent – From Wozniak and Lasseter to Ives and Cook. A great talent spotter.

8. Understanding Technology and Art. “Art takes discipline and technology takes creativity”

9. Marketing IS the product. All his products had their marketing built in. He cared. And it showed.

10. Negotiation – I’m unsure if anyone else would have been capable of single handedly disrupting the music industry. And let’s not forget his negotiations with Disney.

11. Showmanship. In this, he was probably without peer.

12. Marketing – He learnt a lesson early from his mentor Mike Markula. A great brand must impute i.e. demonstrate it’s greatness in everything it did.

13. Understood  natural materials – Really understood the intricacies of metal, plastic and glass and applied it on the iPod, the iMac, the iPhone and in all the Apple Stores.

14. Importance of Environment – His workplaces had to be well designed. They had to present fantastic collaborative working environments. See NEXT, Pixar and the new Apple complex.

15. Surrounding himself with people that complemented him – Tim Cook was a great example. In his final act, he surrounded himself with persistent folk who managed him.

16. Saying No. How else could he simplify the way he did? He also focused Apple’s energies on few products but made them world class.

(Of course, he was not a role model for many things – e.g.: relationships, diet and the like. But, I couldn’t help marveling at the list of things he was good at.)

2 thoughts on “BR 96: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

  1. Very good list! I barely knew anything about Jobs before reading the book so this book was mind blowing. Another lesson I found very important was the use of his “reality distortion field.” He knew how to bring out the best (and sometimes what seemed impossible) in people. Another lesson was how he always knew what made people tick, and didn’t fear being disliked for doing it.

    One of the best biographies I have read. I can’t wait for the rewrite of this book! (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/12/15/isaacson-jobs-biography-could-expand/)


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