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Steve Jobs

The penetrating biography of Steve Jobs.

By Walter Isaacson
  • Read in 21 minutes
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  • Contains 13 key ideas
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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This book chronicles the audacious, adventurous life of Steve Jobs, the innovative entrepreneur and eccentric founder of Apple. Drawing from Jobs’s earliest experiences with spirituality and LSD to his pinnacle as worldwide tech icon, Steve Jobs describes the man’s successful ventures as well as the battles he fought along the way.

Key idea 1 of 13

A handyman father and a prankster best friend instilled in Jobs a love of engineering and design.

On February 24, 1955, a boy was born to Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble.

However, Jandali and Schieble wouldn’t raise their child. Since Schieble came from a strict Catholic family who would disown her for having a child with a Muslim man, the pair were forced to give the baby up for adoption.

And so the child was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, a couple living in Silicon Valley, who named him Steven.

Paul Jobs was an engine technician turned car mechanic, and he introduced Steve to the world of engineering and design.

From an early age, Paul tried to pass along his love of mechanics to Steve, who recalls being impressed by his father’s focus on craftsmanship. If the family needed a cabinet, for example, Paul would simply build one, letting Steve help him in the process.

Additionally, the family’s smart yet inexpensive Eichler house – an “everyman” modern home, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and an open floor plan – sparked Steve’s obsessive interest in clean, elegant design.

Later, in high school, Steve Jobs met Steve Wozniak; the two immediately clicked.

Wozniak was five years older and already a talented computer technician, from whom Jobs learned a lot about computers.

In many ways, Jobs and Wozniak were typical young boys and liked to play pranks. But they also loved to explore the world of electronics and see what they could create.

Combining both interests, in 1971 they launched their first product: the “Blue Box,” a device that allowed users to make long-distance phone calls for free.

Wozniak supplied the design and Jobs turned the innovation into a business, taking $40 worth of parts and selling the device for $150.

The pair sold almost 100 boxes, giving them a taste of what they could do with Wozniak’s engineering skills and Jobs’s vision; and paving the way for what would become their joint venture – Apple.

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