I would not have been considered as part of the ‘target market’ for Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Steve Jobs. I knew very little about Jobs. I am at best a point and click MicroSoft computer user and really only have a vague idea of what an operating system is.
I began reading this book because over the last 4 years, I have been told I look like Steve Jobs, maybe a hundred times. I was actually pulled out of line by the TSA last year at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and brought through a special line. I thought I was going to be searched but as I was walking through, the TSA agent said, “I am praying for you, Mr. Jobs.” I laughed and told him I appreciate the prayers but I was not Mr. Jobs. He then asked to see my license. He didn’t believe me.
I have worn black turtlenecks for years. I didn’t know Jobs wore them. I hate to shave, so usually have a face full of stubble. I only pull out a razor when I am speaking (I am an author and professional speaker) or have a “suit and tie” business meeting. I began wearing glasses full-time in 2008 and the mistaken identity began almost immediately. My only other connection to the man is that I love my iPhone.
The publicity surrounding his death increased the “do you know who you look like?” questions by ten times. During a recent walk through Midway Airport in Chicago, the young lady at the ticket counter said, “I know everyone must tell you that you look like Steve jobs, right?” As I walked to security, the TSA agent looked at me and asked if I was a celebrity impersonator. I said “No, but I do get mistaken for John Wayne often.” Then, as I loaded into the Southwest flight, one of the flight attendants was looking at me and walked up with her copy of the book and held it up to my face and asked, “Are you trying to look like him?” I assured her I was not. I then told her that I bet Steve was often mistaken for me. She looked at me and responded, “Nah.”
So when I landed in Dallas, I downloaded this book on my new Kindle and the unexpected happened – I was mesmerized. People will say in reviews, as a standard line, “I could not put this book down.” We all know they certainly were able to put it down … but never in my life have I been so captivated by a book.
Walter Isaacson has performed an incredible service in his skillfully writtten examination of a life. It is structured perfectly, flows beautifully and is a brutally honest look at a brilliant man who will become a colorful part of our cultural history. Through most of this story, I did not like Steve Jobs but tolerated his arrogance and rudeness as part of what makes this story great. Then came the point in the book where I realized it is not arrogance if it is true and I believe Steve Jobs to be a genius.
I feel sorry for those who loved and respected him but suffered his wrath and continued to do so because of their loyalty to him and the “Apple Idea.” I despise him for the rejection and denial of his first daughter and know she will suffer for the rest of her life because of both his actions and inactions. I feel sorry for him because of the joy his daughter could have brought to his earlier life, that he chose to miss. Yes, he tried to make up for it later, but I think those are the kinds of losses that can never be regained.
As the book progressed, I still did not like him, but the tremendous respect I felt for his accomplishments and intellect blossomed. Steve Jobs is the most interesting human being I have ever encountered, even though my only introductions are through this book … and being occasionally misidentified as him. However, Walter Isaacson’s skillful masterpiece is more than enough. Through Isaacson’s insightful eyes and his carefully chosen and crafted words, I feel I have personally met a man that will be remembered as an American icon and revered for generations to come. Through this book, I witnessed a combination of his genius and severe personality defects in a way that displayed, what I believe is, a complete picture of Steve Jobs.
When I began reading this book, the LAST thing I ever expected to say was this …
“This is the best book I have ever read. Period.”
Go figure … I would have never guessed.