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iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business

iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business

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iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business

Recommended Reading | Creator ...

“…getAbstract.com…recommends it highly to all business readers…” (Financial Times, 16th January 2006)

"...the writing is savvy and lively...even readers with a scant interest in computers, technology or animated movies will find the tale entertaining..." (www.getabstract.com, 29 Aug. 2005)

"...a story of the personalities behind the facts and figures...includes some interesting personal touches..." (Liverpool Daily Post, 22nd June 2005)

“…rich in anecdotes and retellings of turning points in the lives of Jobs, Apple and Pixar…” (Information Age, 1st August 2005)

"...the authors paint a vivid picture of Jobs as an occasional genius and a regular jerk. All of which makes for gripping reading for any Mac fan..." (icreate, July-December 2005)

“…Young and Simon are particularly good at telling the inside story…” (Belfast Sunday Life, 3 July 2005)

“…new perspectives on the creation of Apple…details Jobs’s meteoric rise, fall and rise again…” (Moneywise, June 2005)

“…a well-balanced look at an incredible life. The achievements are all catalogued in full, as are the personal idiosyncrasies and shortcomings…” (Glasgow Sunday Herald, June 19 2005)

"Provides insight into inner businer business strategies and power plays between larger-than-life personalities such as Disney boss Michael Eisner." (USA Today)

Apparently, this book hit a nerve. Or several.

According to media reports, Apple Computer removed all of the titles published by John Wiley & Sons from its retail stores to protest this book. Included were the successful Dummies series, as well as computer-related volumes from popular authors Andy Ihnatko and Bob LeVitus.

So what's the fuss?
This biography of Apple's co-founder is fairly well balanced. The authors keenly admire Jobs despite the many personal shortcomings they catalog, gleefully referring to sundry over-the-top idiosyncrasies as examples of Jobs' ''Stevian'' hubris.

But there's much to admire about Jobs. An adopted child of a northern California working class couple, he parlayed rabid curiosity about electronics, preternatural entrepreneurial zeal and a fierce sense of self into a partnership with the brilliant Steve Wozniak and created the revolutionary Apple II, the first popular personal computer.

The pair became multimillionaires, though Wozniak eventually left the company to pursue other interests -- including flying small airplanes -- after nearly dying in a plane crash.
Jobs subsequently latched onto and took over a wayward project at Apple to develop the next generation machine, and the resulting Macintosh became the computer of choice for artists and other creative folks.

Jobs' prickly personality and immense ambition may have helped drive his success but also fueled clashes with executives, board members and others, and led to his forced departure from the company he co-founded.

That was Jobs' wild first act.

But authors Jeffrey Young and William Simon also chronicle what came next.

After leaving Apple, Jobs' new computer company, NeXT, was a near-disaster. Though technologically advanced, the box was expensive and ill suited for its intended market, universities. Still, the operating system held great promise and the possibility for Jobs' return to the spotlight.

When divorce forced Star Wars auteur George Lucas to sell off his nascent computer animation company, Pixar, Jobs scooped it up at a fraction of the asking price. Soon, the production company allied with Disney and became a creative powerhouse in its own right, with smash films, Toy Story and Finding Nemo.

When Pixar went public, Jobs became a billionaire. At the same time, Apple was having a rough time with its latest CEO, Gil Amelio, who slashed costs, consolidated product lines and seemed to be on the verge of turning the company around despite a lack of ''Stevian'' political prowess.

His search for an appropriate operating system for a new, more powerful Macintosh attracted Jobs' attention. His NeXT software was the ticket back to Apple. After some deft machinations, Amelio was sent packing and Jobs became ''interim'' CEO.

Soon, some new, very cool computers were introduced by Apple and the company was again deemed successful and sexy, though Young and Simon suggest that Jobs was the beneficiary of the departed Amelio's cost-cutting and new product development initiatives.

Regardless, Jobs struck gold again with the introduction of the iPod music player, and the ''interim'' was removed from his title.

The biography includes many personal details that surely embarrass Jobs, such as his early abandonment of a daughter born to an unmarried girlfriend (both of whom he later reconciled with and supported), along with endless examples of pride, egotism, venality, ruthlessness and conceit.

But it's still an interesting and engaging tale. Warts and all, for better or worse, Steve Jobs is undisputedly an American business icon. (Miami Herald, June 6, 2005)

"One of the most captivating business biographies of recent years. Young and Simon have done a masterful job." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

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  1. Amazon Review

    Posted by Review courtesy of Amazon on 21st Nov 2009

    Steve Jobs is the greatest second act in the history of business.

    He rose from an outcast high school electronic nerd to become the driving force behind Apple and Avatar of the "computer revolution", only to be driven from the company in failure and disgrace.

    Then, having endured repeated personal and professional disasters, he went on to make an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, reclaim the throne at Apple, and with the extraordinary success of the iPod, regain his reputation as arguably the greatest innovator of the digital age.

    Act 2 begins with Jobs displaying his talent for bedeviling business associates and making enemies along the way. Still stinging with embarrassment after his crash from the heights, he waged a tough negotiation with George Lucas for the purchase of the legendary filmmaker's computer animation business - at one third of the asking price, and pressured his partners into settling for a modest percentage of what would become Pixar, keeping the remainder for himself.

    The most dramatic, and no doubt the most satisfying of Jobs' achievements during his rise from the ashes was his recapture of Apple, 10 years after being booted out at the company. The authors examine the takeover and Jobs's reinvention of the company with the very popular iMac and his transformation of the industry, and again, the culture, with the revolutionary iPod.

    iCon is a must reading for anyone who wants to understand how the modern digital age has been formed, shaped and refined by the most influencial figure of the age - a master of 3 industries: movies, music and computer. It is about understanding the future by understanding the past and present of the Digital King, Steve Jobs.

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