I recently finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. As an entrepreneur and person that builds products for a living, I found his story highly fascinating. Most people know Steve Jobs for the products he created at Apple and his prickly personality. However, there is much more to his story than that.
As a person, he was a family man. He had quirky habits, especially when it came to diet and nutrition. He was spiritual. He was a mentor. Unfortunately, the personality traits that helped make him successful in business had a way of hurting those closest to him.
As an entrepreneur, he was relentless. He started Apple out of a garage, took it public (by age 26), then got booted out by his board. For awhile he questioned himself and wandered Europe. Then he started NeXT, only to be acquired by Apple later and in an incredible jiu jitsu move, he replaced the entire board and became CEO again. This was when Apple was at its lowest, heading towards bankruptcy. Over the next decade, Apple reinvented itself, launching its next way of successful products like the iPhone, and catapulting itself to the most valuable company in the world. Astonishingly, most of his wealth did not come from Apple. In fact, it came from his side hustle. A company, called Pixar, that he got involved in almost by accident.
Sadly, he died at the age of 56. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and spent the last few years of his life battling it. During this time, he managed to still have some of the biggest achievements in his career, like the iPhone and iPad. Again, the personality traits that made him successful in business, like ability to tune certain things out and focus, did not aid in his recovery from cancer.
It’s a lengthy read, probably about 20-25 hours, but well worth it. Steve Jobs was a true entrepreneur and his story sheds light on how a single person was able to shape the world through sheer will alone. However, it’s also a somewhat tragic reminder that what worked for Steve Jobs is probably not worth emulating in your own life. He did change over time though, growing as a person, as you can see below is his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address after being diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, Steve Jobs is no longer with us today. But his legacy is still here and there’s a ton of wisdom to be passed on.
Have you read the book? What did you think? I’d love your thoughts below.