Saturday, April 27, 2013

Steve Jobs The Man Who Thought Different, a biography by Karen Blumenthal

       We all know about Apple, Steve Jobs created one of the most influential and well known companies in the world. Most of us have owned or still do own an Ipod, an Iphone, or a Macbook, and consequently look to Apple for many of our technological needs. So much of the world's technology today began with the work and ingenuity of Steve Jobs. Ever wonder how he did it?
     In Karen Blumenthal's insightful account of Steve Job's life, she seeks to illuminate just that, how exactly did Steve Jobs create such a powerful worldwide influence? Through a careful examination and explanation of his childhood, his adoption, his incredible intellect at a young age, and his remarkable talent for breaking the rules, Blumenthal relates to the reader what exactly about Steve Jobs was so different, and so impactful. The reader learns that from a young age Jobs was obsessed with how things worked, he took pride in his developing ability to take things apart, learn them, and reassemble them. Jobs desire to understand the logical underpinnings in life, debatably inspired by his adoption and a resulting feeling of independence, ended up leading to a set of circumstances that would change his life, and many of ours as well, forever. 
    The age of the hippies, college dropouts, emerging technologies, and the Vietnam War: essential points in history that all played into Jobs's success. Blumenthal does a wonderful job of integrating key historical moments into the readers understanding of Jobs's development. We begin to see how impacted he was by the ideals of the hippy, and how it may not have exactly inspired good hygiene (many people who have worked with him have attested to this). We begin to see how small happenings in his life, like a seemingly random calligraphy class, ended up years later giving Jobs the ability to revolutionize the computer industry. We see how a casual meeting of Steve Jobs and his friend in college, Steve Wozniak, ended up as the mixture of the essential ingredients to the inception of an industry changing company. We read about the progression of the computer age, the struggles that technology faced along the way and how Jobs dealt with them, and we read about momentous occasions such as the add for the Macintosh in 1984, which ended up as one of the most famous commercials in history with its controversial implications about Bill Gates in relation to George Orwell's warnings in his book, 1984.
    Blumenthal cuts to the core in her examination of Jobs (the core of the apple perhaps?), and while honest, not all of it is pretty. Jobs was a genius, a revolutionary, and profoundly insightful, and according to Blumenthal he was also confused at times, bitter and volatile at others, and had a nasty habit of taking credit for things that he did not do. Jobs abilities as a father are questionable, his abilities as a husband are not perfect either, and it becomes clear through reading that his realtionship with his own company was not alwasy golden as evidenced by his infamous firing in 1985 that inadvertently led to the success of Pixar.
    This book is an excellent choice for any reader who seeks to understand how a man, through self-reliance and the choice to be different, can change history. Blumenthal provides students with an amazing opportunity to fall in love with reading and simultaneously learn about business, technology, and personal success. Any reader from the 6th grade and up would benefit and no doubt enjoy this read, just as I did. This book would make an excellent addition to any middle school or early high school reading list, and provides countless opportunities for discussion of topics such as ethics, business, and history.


Zia Nathan said...

Steve Jobs is actually one of the most inflectional people to me. His life and upbringing really fascinates me. All that he did in his short life is astonishing. For me he really is living proof that you can accomplish anything as long as you believe in yourself. Jobs dropped out of college and many people probably doubted whether he'd be success and he ended up becoming one of the most successful and innovative businessmen of all time.

Tess said...

I think this story would be very influential for young students. When I was observing in CPS, I was able to work with students in small groups. I asked them about college and their future. Several of the students said they didn't think they could ever have the chance to go to college. It was heartbreaking. Steve Jobs was called a failure and was told he wouldn't ammount to anything. He is the story of an underdog, and I think students would be able to see him as a role model. Also, it's not a story about some so far in the past. Steve Job's inventions and creations are relevant today, and who appreciates and uses technology more than the younger generation?

maria hernandez said...

I was about to picked this book. I consider myself a very fan of Steve Jobs. He is aspiration to me because although he dropped our of college he became one f the most successful individual of the planet. He proof that with dedication and believe you can become what ever you want to become.