Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Steve Jobs: The Man who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

    Review: Steve Jobs: The Man who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

    Published by: R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company, 2012

    ISBN: 978-1-250-01445-0

    Reading Level: Grades 9 and up

I am not really an Apple person. There, I said it. I am awaiting my iPad for the library but admit that part of the reason it was purchased was because that's what is being used by the board, not because that's what I really wanted. Yes it does really cool things but, I guess, I've never been able to buy into the whole 'Apple is God' way of thinking. However, many many many people are into the Apple is all thinking - and many of the things that I enjoy using were impacted by Apple, so even if I don't have Apple products, I still have Apple to thank for a number of the things that I use everyday.
Perhaps some of my lack of passion about Apple comes from my dislike of Steve Jobs. There - an even bigger admittance from me. I'm not a huge fan of Steve Jobs. In works that I've viewed and bios I've encountered, he just seems like not a great guy. Give me The Woz any time, with his sense of humour and appreciation for others. Or even Bill Gates with his dedication to charity and giving away his money. That is if I have to choose. Steve Jobs photographs like he cares but really, the more I learn the less I like him.
So, I approached this bio with a bias. Jobs and his drive to be the best and lack of appreciation for others has been well documented. From early life with his adopted family and his issues in school to his later life with his wife and children and his company, this bio tells the good and bad about Jobs and does so in a clear and concise way. The story of Steve Jobs is a complicated one - you want to admire the man for what he brought to modern technology and yet, so often, learning the truth of his life, his attitudes and his behaviours, it's hard to like him. His abandoning of his first child, his behaviours to his employees, his refusal to contribute to charity, his inability to realize that his choices impact others - all of these things make him appear to be a pretty crappy guy. The good things he has done - helping the world modernize, helping others become financially solvent through their work in the company, his reach for perfection in the products he delivered to his customers - sometimes pale in comparison. How would his first daughter have felt, knowing her dad named a computer after her even though he didn't want to be part of his life? How would business partners feel knowing that he shared what he wanted to share - even financially? After almost any bio I have read or watched about Steve Jobs I am struck with the idea that he wasn't such a great guy. I remarked to my mom after reading this that I knew it was a YA bio of him - I left feeling he was a jerk as opposed to any stronger word I might have used after a non-ya bio!
Despite the flaws of the subject, Blumenthal has created a great profile. Students who are wondering from what brain their apple products emerged will be able to read about one of the people who helped make them happen and do so in an accessible and well written format. She has plenty of pullaway information boxes but puts them at the end of chapters so that the reader is not drawn away from the narrative of her biography. She presents testimony and stories from a number of people who were in the life of Jobs to help develop her story, which aids in trying to understand what kind of man Steve Jobs was.
I gave this book a 4/5.
Goodreads Page.


mahasiswa teladan said...

hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

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