This is a book about the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries:
personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
You might even add a seventh, retail stores, which Jobs did not quite revolutionize but did reimagine.
In addition, he opened the way for a new market for digital content based on apps rather than just websites.
Along the way he produced not only transforming products but also, on his second try,
a lasting company, endowed with his DNA, that is filled with creative designers and daredevil engineers who could carry forward his vision.
In August 2011, right before he stepped down as CEO, the enterprise he started in his parents’ garage became the world’s most valuable company.
This is also, I hope, a book about innovation.
At a time when the United States is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build creative digital-age economies,
Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination, and sustained innovation.
He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology,
so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.
He and his colleagues at Apple were able to think differently:
They developed not merely modest product advances based on focus groups, but whole new devices and services that consumers did not yet know they needed.
He was not a model boss or human being, tidily packaged for emulation.
Driven by demons, he could drive those around him to fury and despair.
But his personality and passions and products were all interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system.
His tale is thus both instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.
Shakespeare’s Henry V—the story of a willful and immature prince who becomes a passionate but sensitive, callous but sentimental, inspiring but flawed king—begins with the exhortation
“O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.”
For Steve Jobs, the ascent to the brightest heaven of invention begins with a tale of two sets of parents,
and of growing up in a valley that was just learning how to turn silicon into gold.