Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.
Isaacson's (Einstein: His Life and Universe) new biography of Steve Jobs (1955-2011) will satisfy the curiosity of all those looking to delve into the nitty-gritty details of the tech titan's life. Though it begins with a traditional sketch of his parents (both biological and adopted) and birth, the book quickly gets down to business: readers see the creation of the Apple I within the first 60 pages. Isaacson's primary focus is on Jobs's professional life, and chapters are often organized around a single product, e.g., the Mac or the iPod. Jobs emerges a man who cares deeply about the wares he sells and the companies he builds, but one who (famously) is all but unbearable for it. Starting his career smelly and shoeless, the eccentric Jobs even at the end of his life eschewed cancer treatment for nine crucial months on behalf of a strict, carrot-juice-heavy diet. Verdict Isaacson has produced a full, detailed account of an influential man's life, but the style never rises above that of a well-graded research paper. As for Jobs, readers will newly admire their iPhones but not the near-sadistic management style that produced them. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/11.]-Molly McArdle, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Isaacson's authorized biography of the founder of Apple Computers draws upon 40 interviews with Steve Jobs as well as 100 interviews with Jobs's friends, co-workers, and adversaries. Surprisingly, the notoriously secretive Jobs was the biography's biggest advocate, lobbying Isaacson repeatedly to work on the project. Besides Jobs's personal development, Isaacson also charts the growth of the tech industry in Northern California and the numerous moguls who worked alongside and clashed with Jobs. Dylan Baker's narration is straightforward and precise, and maintains listener interest throughout-even during sections of text that detail the dryer aspects of the industry. Though numerous individuals discuss Jobs, Baker doesn't attempt to differentiate their voices. Still, it's always clear who is speaking, which proves a testament to Baker's abilities as a reader and Isaacson's clarity as a writer. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.