Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. A Review
That's how I found out Steve Jobs had died.
I had already been planning on reading Isaacson's biography when it was released, but the news of Jobs' death jumped the book ahead in my queue. I purchased the book on October 24th through iBooks (I felt it was poetic) and found myself transported into the story of how the world I live in was created. It's well-worth the time to read through this volume.
Isaacson has woven together a story that posits Jobs almost as an anti-hero. He is appreciative of Jobs' genius and insight into people, but is equally as troubled by Jobs' anti-social behavior. Steve Jobs complex psychology seems to have been summed up for Isaacson by Chrisann Brennan, "He was an enlightened being who was cruel." Isaacson's work is no hagiography, telling the story of the sainted Jobs creating the blessed garden of the digital world, but the work is more authentic because of it. Steve himself was comfortable that there would be portions of the book he wouldn't like (even though he also admitted they would make him angry). He was glad his biography wouldn't appear to be an "in-house" book.
Steve Jobs wasn't a "nice man," he probably did suffer from a relational disorder, but he was a passionate and caring man. He loved his parents and family, craved beauty, and could see the potential for wonder in the simplest of things. Yet he could also throw wild tantrums, ignore important details he didn't want to wrestle with, and could be vindictive towards those by whom he felt betrayed. Isaacson's brilliance as a writer tied the paradoxical threads of Steve Jobs' psyche and story into a compelling whole. Having read the book, I can honestly say I'm not sure I would have liked Steve Jobs all that much. Yet, I also come away assured that Jobs wouldn't give a crap if I didn't like him (he had friends and family for that). He'd want to know if I thought he managed to change the world. The answer to that question is, without question, yes.
If you are interested in the history of the digital age, and the emergence of digital culture, Isaacson's book is a must read.