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Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different
By Karen Blumenthal
(Feiwel and Friends, New York, 2012, $8.99)
When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in October 2011, he left an impressive legacy: the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Pixar animation, even the very ubiquitousness of the personal computer. Without being a computer geek himself, he brought geekdom to the masses. His vision and perfectionism made computers more usable in everyday life – and his marketing strategies persuaded people to buy the new products his company pioneered. We communicate, work, and play the way we do in large part because of Steve Jobs.
In Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different, Karen Blumenthal explores the relentless drive and many contractions of the IT entrepreneur. A rebellious prankster, college dropout, and dabbler in 70s counterculture, he nonetheless determined to become a millionaire at a young age – and realized that ambition. However, though he amassed a fortune in his early twenties, money was never an end in itself: he was always more interested in developing Apple than in enjoying his wealth. And although he was notoriously difficult to work for and with – his outbursts got him exiled from Apple for years – his genius lay in understanding people and their interactions with technology. Blumenthal neither shelters nor attacks her subject: instead, she shows the various sides of his complex character and invites readers to make up their own minds.
Appropriately, Steve Jobs doubles as a history of information technology in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. An accessible glossary introduces readers to various computer terminology or, at least, refreshes their memory. That DOS, floppy disks, and BASIC now seem so distant is largely a result of Jobs’ efforts.
Steve Jobs is a highly readable biography of a fascinating innovator. Adults, as well as teens, should enjoy this introduction to a figure whose influence spanned popular culture, technology, and business. Depending on their age, readers will ponder how his innovations have shaped their lives and world.
Dorothy A. Dahm