Steve Jobs Insanely great《乔布斯传》疯狂的伟大
REMOVING the sleeve reveals a bookthat is entirely white, except for the names of its author and subject inelegant black type on the spine. It is the perfect design for the biography ofa man who insisted that even the innards of his products be exquisitelycrafted, and that his factory walls gleam in the whitest white.
The cover was the only part of thebook Steve Jobs wanted to control, writes Walter Isaacson in his introduction.The rest of his long-awaited tome bears this out. Though Mr Jobs pushed thebiographer of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin to pen his own, granting him more than 40 interviews, this book offers a refreshing counterbalance to theadulation that followed his death on October 5th at the age of 56.
The picture Mr Isaacson paints,particularly in the first half of this book, is not flattering. Mr Jobs emergesas a controlling and often unsympathetic character. A child of the 1960scounterculture, he abhorred materialism and lived in simply furnished houses(in part because he was too picky to decide on furniture). But when Apple wentpublic in 1980, he refused to give any stock options to Daniel Kottke, alongtime supporter and soul mate from college. “He has to abandon the people heis close to,” observes Andy Hertzfeld, an early Apple engineer. Mr Isaacsonfinds meaning in the fact that Mr Jobs was adopted, but this excuse feels thin.
作者描述的情境，尤其是本书前半部分的那些，并不讨好。他们表现出了乔布斯极有控制欲望且没有同情心的个性。做为二十世界60年代文化冲突中的孩子，他憎恶物质主义，住在装修及其简单的房子里——当然，对于家具过于挑剔也是部分原因。可是当苹果公司1980年上市的时候，他却没有给Daniel Kottke任何股票期权，这位Daniel Kottke可是从乔布斯大学时代起的支持者和知己。苹果早期的工程师Andy Hertzfeld觉得，“他似乎一定要疏远那些跟他关系密切的人”。作者把这归咎为当年乔布斯被弃养，可是这理由似乎没有什么说服力。
Mr Jobs was disarminglycharismatic, employing what has been dubbed a “reality distortion field” toinspire cult-like loyalty. But also he could be cold and cruel. If hedisapproved of an employee’s work, he often humiliated him. “This is who I am,”he once said after being challenged, “and you can’t expect me to be someone I’mnot.” This nasty edge wasn’t always helpful, but it served a purpose, writes MrIsaacson: many would “end their litany of horror stories by saying that he gotthem to do things they never dreamed possible.”
Often eccentric, Mr Jobs developedobsessive dietary habits in his early 20s, along with a taste for Bob Dylan,LSD and Zen. At Reed College in Portland before he dropped out, he ate onlyfruits and vegetables, if anything. When diagnosed with pancreatic cancer inlate 2003, he refused surgery for months, opting for alternative treatment including a strict vegan diet.
特立独行的乔布斯在他二十岁出头的年纪，就养成了近乎偏执的饮食习惯，他还喜欢Bob Dylan, LSD(一种强烈的半人工致幻剂)，禅学。他从波特兰州Reed大学退学前，如果吃东西，他只吃蔬菜和水果。当2003年他查出患有胰腺癌的时候，他曾经几个月拒绝手术，而选择其它的治疗方式，包括严格的vegan饮食（一种极为严格的素食主义）。
Whereas Mr Jobs might have thrownone of his tantrums after reading the first half of the book (which he neversaw), he would have enjoyed the second. It describes the period following hisreturn to Apple in 1996, more than 11 years after he was pushed out. He hadbecome a more mature manager, if not quite a mellow one, after running, with mixedsuccess, Pixar, a film studio, and NeXT, a computer maker. He quickly turnedthe nearly bankrupt Apple around and made it into the world’s most valuabletechnology company.
Much has been written about how hepulled this off. Mr Isaacson offers new perspectives. Mr Jobs was not simply abrilliant albeit quasi-autistic innovator, nor was his firm a one-man show. Hereadily—sometimes too readily—took on ideas from others and recruited great talent, not least Tim Cook, Apple’s new boss, who made the firm’s operationsinto one of the industry’s most efficient.
More interesting is Mr Isaacson’sdescription of how Mr Jobs engineered a different kind of technology company:one that could develop tightly integrated packages of hardware and software.This meant departments had to work together. At most companies engineeringdrives design; Apple does it the other way around. Together with Jonathan Ive,the firm’s chief designer, Mr Jobs would decide on how a product should lookand feel, and the engineers had to make it happen.
The book’s flaws are a result ofits rush to print (publication was expedited when Mr Jobs’s health was failing).But despite being repetitive and long-winded, it is worth the read. Mr Isaacsonhas achieved what Mr Jobs wanted: an account for his four children of what their father did and why. “There are parts of his life and personality that areextremely messy,” observes Laurene Powell, his wife of 20 years, “but he alsohas a remarkable story.”