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Random thoughts on the book: Steve Jobs

Popularity 3Viewed 2819 times 2017-1-12 17:30 |Personal category:reading|System category:Life| Apple, Steve, Jobs

I just finished reading Steve Jobs' biography. Honestly, I didn't expect it to be this good, more in terms of his charisma than of the writing. I bought a copycat of the book and paid only $3 for it, which I believe it's something Jobs would personally hate and berate considering how much he valued intellectual property and how much he hated other companies stealing Apple's ideas and ripping it off. To this, I think I should buy an authentic book just for collection and more importantly to honor Jobs' belief in protecting intellectual property.


I have never been a true fan of Apple products. I didn't know the existence of Apple until I was already an undergraduate. (I come from a small village.) My first mobilephone was a Samsung and then a Nokia. When I was thinking about getting a smartphone in 2011, even though I had already seen the beauty of iPhone and had been told many times of the amazing functions of it, it wasn't considered as it was way out of my budget. Instead, I got a HTC. The interface was fascinating but the flaws soon surfaced. The operating system wasn't stable and it would suddenly go dead and the apps didn't run smoothly. It lasted for like a year. I later regretted for getting a HTC instead of an iPhone.


In the past, it was believed in China that Apple products were symbols of status: being rich as well as hip. They seemed to be great attention-getters in public place and to subtly asserted that I was a sort of different people by being able to buy and use Apple products. I didn't like the whole concept of using consumer products to grade people.


But I decided to buy an iPad 3 when it was realeased to facilitate my teaching. It was of course a bit clumsy compared with the latest iPad. But it was really sleek and exquisite and it indeed helped me with my teaching. I would use it to show my slides or students writing works when I was doing one-on-one teaching. Thanks to it, I also developed a great habit of reading editorials on the website of Chinadaily. I was and still am not technology-savvy. So I didn't really explore most of the functions afforded by iPad like iTunes, iBook and iMovie.


The technological advancement was far more slow in China than in the United States then. When iTunes and iMovies started selling music and videos to American customers at a certain price, Chinese people could still download music and movies and basically everything for free from the internet. So these functions probably never meant much to Chinese consumers. Regarding iBook, I belive it is a great app. But I have never taken to reading e-books or digital articles as I have always held this special and intimate feeling about reading printed books. But I did use my iPad to read digital papers while studying in Australia as printing there was a bit expensive. In leisure time, I would watch videos and listen to music on it which considerably enriched my entertainment life. The time I would fought with my family over which TV program we should watch was officially over because I would just immerse myself in what I was doing with my iPad. More than 4 years passed, my iPad still functions well enough. So I suppose it is fair to say that Apple products are quality-guaranteed.


I soon got my first iPhone 5. I particularly like the color of black and the possibility of holding it firmly in my hands. At that time, iPhones iPads and MacBooks could be seen almost everywhere. They got incredibly popular in China and the majority of people started buying them no longer for the embodiment of social status but for the beauty and high quality that come with these products. Most of the time, I just used my iPhone to check updates on social networking websites, to listen to music, to write emails and to take photos as well. Accidentally, I cultivated a habit of taking digital notes and writing articles on it which I have insisted and have benefited from enormously.


There was a time some Chinese people went absolutely crazy about Apple products. One sensational event was that a teenager at 17 sold one of his kidneys so as to be able to buy the latest Apple products. People were shocked when this came out. People questioned the relatively forbidding price of Apple products and the morbid passion as well as love some people showed for them. I found this absolutely absurd to trade an organ for some consumer products.


I am never a geek and always find it difficult to understand the diehard fans of Apple. I couldn't figure out why tech-geeks would be willing to line in front of an Apple Store days and nights in order to have the opportunity of getting hold a new product released by it until I finished the biography of Steve Jobs.


Like what many people have said, Jobs was undoubtedly a genius. Admittedly, he was flawed in many ways. He was brutally honest and would never sugarcoat anything that ordinary people usually do. He would go ballistic and scream people for not meeting his high standards and fiercely push people to go beyond their limits to achieve what was usually considered to be unachieveable. As an excutive of both Apple and Pixar, he was extremely decisive when it came to what the company should really focus on. He could be so ruthless that he could fire thousands of people within a short amount of time. He wasn't a great father. With so much going on his career, he barely had time for his children. When he was 23, he abandoned his daughter Lisa he had with one of his girlfriends and his relationship with her had been on and off when he was alive. He paid more attention to his son Reed compared with his other two daughters. He also had this almost unbearable diet. He was a strict vegan and would sometimes eat only fruits and fruit juice for a long time and refused to shower as he firmly believed his diet would make his body odorless.


On many levels, he was such a difficult person that nobody would really want to deal with him or to work with him. But at the same time, he was just so charismatic and so innovative that people would be blown away by his extraordinary talent and vision. Bill Gates never thinks Jobs as an engineer because Jobs didn't know much about programming. But Jobs was always unbelievably visionary and was able to think ahead of his competitors. When Macintosh was unveiled, people were awed by the beautiful machine and its graphic interface which made it very distinctive. He was the person who helped the invention and the design of iPod and changed music industry. iPhone and iPad helped enrich and change they way people entertain themselves. His burning desire and intensity for perfection invariably drove him to be controlling about every single detail with regards to product ranging from the design, the produce, the package and the marketing. This is the probably the essence why Apple products always stand out among their competitors. He indeed had poured heart and blood into the establishment of Apple and finally turned it into the greatest company in this world with rich and profound corporate culture.


He might be awful on many levels. But he was awesome on many far more important levels. He had left a great legacy for this world.


This is a better world with him.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report Kevinfly 2017-1-13 10:40
I am reading this book too. Only finished first half of the book. Jobs is a genius, I have no doubt to that fact. But according to the first part of this book, Jobs is not a nice person in his first half of his life. At least he is a tough man to live with or work with. He is cruel to his employees and friends. He even do not admit that Lisa is his daughter.

I am looking forward to reading the left part of this book and seeing Jobs turned to be a hero when he came back to Apple again.
Reply Report Min1989 2017-1-13 10:55
Kevinfly: I am reading this book too. Only finished first half of the book. Jobs is a genius, I have no doubt to that fact. But according to the first part of t ...
I hope this may not be a spoiler. Jobs was never a good person in terms of manners and empathy even until his death. He was indeed a very difficult person to pretty much everyone in his life. I suppose it would be difficult for him to achieve what he had achieved in his life if he were more tender or more compassionate. He was a man charismatic in his unique way. His passion and enthusiasm were just so contagious and charming.
Reply Report shehemego 2017-1-18 16:57
it is a very good book review. Though I haven't read this book, I do know something about Steve Jobs throught watching the movie adapted by the book. After the book, you found out why franzy people flocked to buy apple products. As to me, only from my enlightenment from the movie, I do like Steve Job. Not because of what Apple does for the world in the hands of his, how amazing the world becomes with Apple products. I like him. In my mind, he was a cool guy. He did a lot of cool things, from scratching from the start to build up his business to gathering old friends together to bring his idea inro reality in the times of being kicked out of the position of CEO. His charisma of doing things entranced me.
Reply Report Min1989 2017-1-19 22:11
shehemego: it is a very good book review. Though I haven't read this book, I do know something about Steve Jobs throught watching the movie adapted by the book.  ...
Hi, thank you for your comment. I didn't know there was a movie. I will make sure I watch it some time. Indeed Jobs was a very charismatic person. What's more, according to his biography, he was extraordinary good at convincing people to do what he wanted them to do. They called it his reality distoration field. I think on a certain level, he was just mesmerizing.
Reply Report shehemego 2017-1-20 23:30
Mesmerizing is cool. Every time I listened a speech held by my middle school, I was always believing that the lecturer was mesmerizing us. However, words they spoke to encourage us to keep planning or striving for goals or anything else were just in our minds for a day or two days or as much as a week and we would stay back in our respective routines.
Reply Report Min1989 2017-1-21 09:40
shehemego: Mesmerizing is cool. Every time I listened a speech held by my middle school, I was always believing that the lecturer was mesmerizing us. However, wo ...
Thank you for sharing this. I actually had very similar experience in my high school and univerisity. I felt like pumped when listening to those inspiring speeches. But I would soon wind up remembering nothing. Gradually, I ddin't  go to listen to those lectures any more unless they were like really great.
Reply Report mauriciomunhoz 2017-3-8 11:50
I believe there was a lot of fiction

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