I am reading the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson which I recommend from a number of viewpoints. First, it’s well researched and well written. Isaacson talked to dozens and probably hundreds of people and had the advantage of unlimited access to the subject himself. And Jobs was, at best, a difficult subject. Jobs picked Isaacson and then took his hands off the project. His only area of influence was the cover design and he was, reportedly, his typical butthead self.
The book is also a great history of development of the high tech industry from the microprocessor through the personal computer through the growth of Apple and, to some extent, Microsoft. Then it tracks Jobs’s influence on how we use technology from tablet computing to music. Jobs was a big, big music fan (his prized possessions were bootleg reel-to-reel tapes of Bob Dylan) which helped motivate him into the digital download business. I had no idea that artists like U2 and Yo Yo Ma made iPod ads for free which resulted in amazing sales figures for their work.
At the center of it is Jobs, intelligent, driven, and intensely creative. Naturally he was not the only one at Apple or Pixar creating. Isaacson points out how Jobs’s “reality distortion field” did affect his recollection of certain events. But the creative types and the technology types needed someone to get them together. And Bill Gates needed someone to commend for his “taste.”