Steve Jobs

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When I was in seventh grade I got into the "gifted and talented"* math program. Once a week, after school, I'd meet up with the other nerds from around the county at one school and we'd have a three-hour math lesson. The teacher would assign us a bunch of homework and the idea was that we'd sit in a regular math class back in our normal school and do the homework while sitting there. At my school** when we had finished our homework (or, more accurately in my lazy case, when I told the teacher that I had finished my homework) we could go play in the "computer lab"—a little cubicle with 4 Apple II+s.

I'd have to ask my dad, but I think that played a part in our choice of home computer—we ended up getting an Apple IIe. That workhorse served us for typing school papers and so on for years and years. When I got to college, as a CS major (for my sins), I spent a lot of time on UNIX systems, and dorm-mates' PCs, but my sophomore year my roommate had a Macintosh SE and it just worked the way I wanted a computer to work and I was firmly in the Mac camp.

So, all that is to say that I've been an Apple Computer user, and indeed fan, for years and years and years. So Steve Jobs was, of course, present in my computing life. It'd be hard not to use Apple computers for so long and not be aware of Steve, to know some of the mythology of the creation of the Apple I, of the pirate flag over the Mac group's headquarters and so on and so forth. But I'm not sure I was really quite as informed about his life and his history with the company as others. I'm not sure I noticed when he was kicked out of the company, for example, and then some years later he was back and that just sort of happened in the background for me.

That's all to say, I know a complaint I've heard from some people about Walter Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs, is that covers a lot of ground that's already been covered in other histories of Apple the company. But I hadn't read those books, so it was new to me. So as a summarizer, Isaacson is pretty OK. But this isn't a great book. But as the one official biography, and now that Jobs is dead, it's probably the one we're going to get.

If want an extended and super-nerdy*** takedown of this book, check out the Hypercritical podcast, episodes 42 and 43.

FuzzyCo grade: B-

* Sorry, but that's what it was called.
** Go Owen Brown Middle School Pumas!
*** I mean that in the most nerd-positive way possible.