If you read one book this year, make it Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I have just finished it and I can honestly say that it has changed the way I look at the world. Due to its sheer volume, I elected to read this book on my light and user-friendly Kindle rather than attempting to make my way through the rather intimidating and seriously heavy hard-copy version.
As a bonus, this allowed me to digitally capture a few of what I deemed to be its most compelling business lessons, namely the following:
- Your goal should be to create great products or services, not to make money;
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication;
- ‘Impute’ your (product’s) greatness by making a memorable first impression on people. People do judge a book by its cover;
- Focus on creating a handful of ‘insanely great’ products, rather than 40 or 50 mediocre ones;
- A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it;
- People don’t always know what they want. They need to be shown what they want. Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?;
- Nurture and trust your intuition;
- A players like to work only with other A players, which means you can’t indulge B players;
- When people say things cannot be done, 9 out of 10 times they’re wrong; and, last but not least,
- The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
Business lessons aside, what I found to emerge most strongly from Walter Isaacson’s unbiased and honest account of Jobs’ life, was the almost inescapable probability that those qualities that led Steve Jobs to create the world’s most valuable company (the obsessive, compulsive, near-impossible standards of perfection) are also those that, in the end, led to his premature death.
This book is, in my humble opinion, a biographical masterpiece that will teach you as much about business as it will about the human race.