tweeted me the exact same question earlier today and my answer to her was that to enjoy any book, especially a biography, one needs to have an interest in the subject matter being written about. Having said that, any business student, entrepreneur or person interested in reading about businesses MUST read this book. Any person interested in technology, the history of technology or in the media business MUST read this book. Any creative person wanting to learn more about the business aspect of creativity, any artist wanting to get their creative juices flowing, any person interested in the dichotomy of spirituality and making money MUST read this book. And of course, people interested remotely interested in understanding about the world we live in today with even a faint curiosity on technological advances and how they came about to be, MUST read this book.
While it is at it's core definitely a business book and is a book about a businessman, I believe it's also a great insight into the minds of one of the most influential people of our times and a lot of people will enjoy reading it, as long as they do remember that it is a book about a businessman. One that may have changed the world and left a mark on it forever, but this isn't a book about spirituality or values or an extended version of his Stanford commencement speech. It's not a feel-good book and I think a lot of people who don't know much about him might think that's exactly what it is- a guide to how to be inspiring and creative and successful and world-altering just like him. Again, this is a book about a businessman and a ruthless one that too and it's a true picture about the story of his life.. so definitely keep that in mind before picking it up.
While I'd followed Jobs' career and believed I'd read almost every article on him ever published, a lot in the book came as a complete surprise. While his temper was legendary, I didn't realize that he was cold and distant even with his family, and had very few scruples even when dealing with close friends. Also the amount of times they refer to Jobs' crying in the book really makes me believe he was bipolar or had some sort of personality disorder- Isaacson touches on him having a narcissist disorder, but that thought is never really explored. While I absolutely love Jobs' and love his contribution to the world, I was shocked while reading the first half of the book as to how little I actually liked the man I was reading about. I do believe his failures in his life may have humbled him a tiny bit which is why the reader goes from thinking he's an asshole to being fascinated with finding out where he got his ideas from about the various products he launched, and the thought process and meticulous attention to detail he gave. While you may finish the book still not loving him, you put down the book having a lot of respect for him and really, really loving his company, Apple.
Overall the book was quite fast paced, is PACKED with anecdotes- ever wondered why he switched to wearing his standard uniform of mock-turtlenecks with Levi's jeans? Wonder which was conceived first- the chicken or the egg (the iPhone or the iPad)? What the series of events were that brought him back into Apple? What his relationship with Woz was like? How Apple will survive after he's gone? What new products he may have conceived of that have still not been launched? The answers to all that and more are in the book, and are absolutely fascinating to read. You get to read about a note he wrote to his wife on their 20th anniversary, or what Bill Gates and Jobs' spoke about when Gates visited him out of the blue one evening a few months before he passed away. You read about his relationship with each of his children and how he went about finding his biological parents and his relationship with his daughter that he abandoned in his younger days. It's all there, and it all makes for a riveting tale.
The book also managed to do something few non-fiction books are ever able to do- make me laugh out loud, and make me cry. There were a few moments of tears, and there were few outright sobs, but then again I absolutely love Jobs so maybe someone with less of an attachment to him might not go through that.. but for sure, there will be quite a few misty eyed moments. Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough and think a lot of people who begin to read it will, like me, not be able to put it down!