Steve Jobs biography becomes management bible (with video)

Since the publication of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, some executives have read the book as a management bible, Leslie Kwoh reports on digits.

Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs is based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues.

The book’s description in Apple’s iBookstore states:

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Video source: MarketWatch


  1. I didn’t read anything in the biography that screamed “management bible”, but I guess anything with Jobs’s name attached is going to get ink.

    The MarketWatch video does nothing to dispel this. Consolidate your emails? Design your mattress stores to look like Apple Stores and have your employees wear black?

    But yea, I guess you’re going to get people to watch the video based on the title. Cha-ching.

  2. Steve Jobs emphasized a few key things:

    1) Relentless attention to ease to use capability for the end user
    2) Non-stop work on highest quality physical products

  3. I hope it’s not a management bible. For crying out loud, Steve had severe mental issues that came along with his genius. And for every useful nugget, there are two bad examples.
    There are lots and lots of nuggets, but to call it a management bible! I shudder at the thought.

    1. Do not worry, there is no way how anyone could “learn” how to become someone like Steven Jobs. His mental issues are continuation of his genius, and vise versa. This is defined not by education, training, learning or whatever, but almost completely by genome.

  4. I can’t wait to see all the managers drop acid, and take their management retreats in the ashrams of India. 🙂

    His biography would make a horrible management bible, but it’d make an excellent management bumper sticker/fortune cookie/T-Shirt. It could say “it’s the product, stupid.”

    If you had given Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller, or any number of Apple product people the choice of either making the iPad, iMac, iPod, iPhone and be only modestly successful OR they could have their current quarterly reports, clout, stock price, and cash holdings, but they would be making the Galaxy Tab, the Zune, etc and only after somebody else paved the way with the iPod, iPad, Mac OS X, etc etc, I have very little doubt what they would choose. And thats WHY they are successful in both senses of the word, but it wasn’t a given that it would turn out that way.

    Many of us were here through the years and years where just because Apple had the best products it did not equate into the other type of success. I evengalized their products back then because there was a very real fear that they would go belly up and it was frustrating to no end. I would ask people WTF are they doing touting Microsoft and Dell as successful when everything they did was derivative, uninspiring, versions of what Apple did better.

    It’s the products stupid. You can’t want the best products so you can have the most cash. You have to want enough cash so you can make the best products.

  5. If any manger or CEO wishes to learn something or emulate a Jobs style – prove it by taking a 1 dollar a year pay cheque home.

    This article and what people see as value in the Jobs biography is further example of just how totally misunderstood Steve Jobs was.

  6. The bio is the perfect management bible. I thought that when I read it. You just closely observe how Steve “managed,” and do the opposite. Yes, he was right about focus and products, but that was part of his genius. When it came to executing those precepts, Steve was horrible. He destroyed egos, careers, families (no doubt) through his abusive and childlike behavior. He used intimidation (along with his weird practiced non-blinking stare; weird), manipulation, thievery (he unabashedly took credit for others’ ideas) and lying to get his way. He threw famous tantrums or broke down into crying (crying! for crying out loud) when he couldn’t get his way. He screwed staff over who helped make him successful and left many a knife in backs.

    So if you want to retain talent, prepare people for higher leadership positions, make people truly proud of your company and loyal to it, read this book and do as Steve did not. But make great products (or stellar service) and keep a sharp focus. Just don’t be a Steve.

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