Sunday, 22 April 2012

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal
Paperback, 320 pages

Published 16th February 2012 by Bloomsbury

My shelves: lasting-impression, memoirs-biographies-etc, non-fiction, read-in-2012
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Inventor. Visionary. Genius. Dropout. Adopted. Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple and he was all of these things.

Steve Jobs has been described as a showman, artist, tyrant, genius, jerk. Through his life he was loved, hated, admired and dismissed, yet he was a living legend; the genius who founded Apple in his parent's garage when he was just 21 years-old, revolutionising the music world. He single-handedly introduced the first computer that could sit on your desk and founded and nurtured a company called Pixar bringing to life Oscar wining animations Toy Story and Finding Nemo.

So how did the man, who was neither engineer nor computer geek change the world we live in, making us want every product he touched?

On graduation day in 2005, a fifty-year-old Steve Jobs said: 'Today I want to tell you three stories from my life, That's it. Just three stories'. The first story is about connecting the dots. My second story is about love and loss. My third story is about death.

This is his story...
My thanks go to Bloomsbury for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm writing this review on my MacBook Pro, whilst listening to music on iTunes. My iPhone sits beside me and my mum is currently using my iPad. I love Apple products and I use them everyday - in fact, I'd feel lost without them. Most of you will either own at least one of Apple's products, or know somebody who does. Even if you don't, you surely must've watched or heard of a Pixar film, such as Toy Story or Finding Nemo. It's pretty clear what sort of impact that Apple and Pixar have had on the world of technology today. 

I'm a huge fan of Apple, and as soon as I heard of the biography, entitled Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I really wanted to pick it up and read all about the company. However, as much of a fan as I am, there was, to simply put it, no way that I was going to read a 600-750 page biography. The book is huge and I'm afraid that I just wouldn't have the patience to read it all - I was intimidated by it. When I was told by Bloomsbury that Karen Blumenthal had written a biography that was aimed at the 'iPhone texting, white-headphone-listening, iTunes downloading generation', I absolutely pounced at the chance to read it. At a much more digestible 320 pages (including photographs) and straight to the point, this gave me just the insight that I wanted into Steve Jobs and Apple's life.

I admit that at the start of the book, I wasn't really getting into it. I think that this was partly because I was learning things that I didn't really know about Jobs - he certainly had a bit of a dark side and was quite fiery, but not in a very good way. I think that it's fantastic that Blumenthal did include all of those harsher details though, as it helped me to get to know what Jobs was really like behind the scenes. I went from somebody that, before opening the book, admired Jobs and his creativity, to taking quite a strong dislike to him. However, I came to understand that he was young, he had a strong personality and was determined. Although he wasn't always the most socially acceptable, he had faith in himself and what he was doing, something to admire. I'm glad to say that when I hit the half-way part of the book, I had learnt why he was acting the way he did and began to honour him a lot more. I felt as though Blumenthal was giving him a fair representation, showing both his good and bad sides - of course nobody is perfect.

I thought it was really interesting to see how both Jobs and his companies progressed. It was inspiring to see that although Jobs did hit a lot of difficulties, he still kept going and wasn't afraid to take many risks. I also learned a whole lot things that I had no idea about before reading the biography, some facts were really quite surprising. Alongside the facts about business and technology, particularly towards the end, we learned more about how Jobs dealt with the news of his very poor health and the fact that he had cancer - it was incredibly heartfelt, and I was shedding a tear by the end. It's so sad that such a hugely creative mind is no longer with us, but through learning about him and his products, I'm sure that Apple will still have even more genius to unveil.

Steve Jobs once said "Your time is limited... have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - no other words could be more appropriate to his actions in his, sadly shortened, life. Blumenthal has done his story justice though, and has certainly made me want to abide by his words of "stay hungry, stay foolish." A fantastic biography, for both teenagers and adults alike, that I'd recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about Jobs, Apple and/or Pixar.

Here's some facts about Steve Jobs that you may not 
  • As of October 2011, Apple reported that the total number of iPods sold worldwide was 300 million
  • Over 15 million iPads were sold between April 2010 and March 2011
  • Pixar's 10 feature films to date have grossed a combined $5.5 billion at the box office
  • In 2003 iTunes sold over 275,000 tracks in its first 18 hours of launch. It has now sold over 10 billion tracks worldwide
  • The iPod was selected by Stephen Fry as the 3rd greatest gadget in history, beaten only by the wristwatch and the lighter
  • Steve Job's famous 2005 commencement speech has been viewed over 13.5 million times on Youtube
...pick up the book to learn more!


  1. I never read biographys, but i think i'll read a snippet of this. The quotes that you've shared ("stay hungry, stay foolish") i like it very much. I agree with you that Apple is the best tech product in the world.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. I've read a lot about his background, but I'm still really curious to read his biography. I don't like how people were trying to capitalize on his death after with the book and everything, but I understand and am intrigued by it. I love that you said they showed both sides of him. It makes me want to read it even more.

  3. This sounds like an interesting biography and I like that you mention that they do show a bit of his darker side.
    My sister is an iHo. So I know she might like this book, so I'm going to try to get it for her :D

    Thanks for the review.

  4. Thanks so much for posting this review! I really enjoyed learning about this book. I'm not much for biographies, but if there is anyone worth learning about, I think Steve Jobs is the guy. Love the quotes you included. He's certainly made the most impact on daily living this century.

  5. I remember watching a video documentary about Steve Jobs in college.. His life was so fascinating! I can totally relate to you, having your Mac Book pro in one hand, while listening to your ipad, as your iphone is charging close by. :) I'm a BIG audiobook junkie, and I could not survive without my itunes... seriously... I hate silence lol.
    Thanks for sharing this review, I'll have to check this book out.
    Your new follower via GFC,
    Suzanne @ YA Nation

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  7. I found this book to be very interesting, great read and would recommend it, it was hard to put down.


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