Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: "I, Steve : In His Own Words" by George Beahm スティーブ・ジョブズ:夢と命のメッセージ: ジョージ・ビーム

Steve Jobs was bright and driven. Due to Apple's recent stock price success, he may now be remembered as the first Trillion Dollar Man! I have met some very bright people in business, academics, and the arts. However, I do not think I have ever met anyone quite like him. The more you read about his thoughts and ideas, the more you wonder what made him tick inside, inspired him forward or why he had that deep drive.

I also wonder if he would have been even more driven if raised by his biological parents and not adopted? His father was Syrian, and met his mother in college. They gave him up for adoption and hoped that his new parents would be college educated. Would his strong personal drive have come out more (or less) if he knew them early on? Would he have been the same person or even more of a visionary if raised by his biological parents? Nurture vs Nature is a DNA struggle that many wonder about today.

There are questions you pose yourself while reading this book. There is a personal demon fighting with his personal identity and it is not an easy answer. However, maybe this demon was just a drive for discovery. One thing that is clear is that many of the experiences of life can be used in alternative ways. Steve Jobs seems to have exposed himself to many things in his early days that came together in unexpected ways usually for the better.  

During his time in India, this trip started key ideas on what personal computers could be in schools. It also exposed him to calligraphy created during the Great Indian Renaissance. This would one day be key to future fonts with a GUI on an Apple PC. Was this just common for others in California of his generation? He seems to have a rare combination of right and left brain segments in balance. He can really see the potential of ideas early on in the creative process.

He can then follow it up with the more realistic needs to execute, and do so extremely well. It is not a combination that is common in many people. Steve Jobs certainly has thoughts that are very deep for a young person, and very clear towards performance. I came away wondering if in future, he will seem like a kind of historical Napoleon like figure in future corporate history, and never just one of many CEOs who did well in a certain beginning of the technology age?

Time will of course tell, but if you read his thoughts they are not of a person consumed by material wealth need. He bought his first house but kept almost no furniture. He is more of a person driven to complete a vision of technology that just needed to be done. 

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) He was a very unique thinker that was a result of rare experiences. During college, he went to India. He was fascinated by locally written texts. This was the seed that drove him to create various fonts within the Mac PC.

2) The journey of life is never perfect or smooth. You evolve and can do different things at different stages of your life. If he was not kicked out of Apple, he would never have had the ability to see its problems, focus on its core business, and help it to recover.

3) Keeping any organization in line with a strong set of standards is a leader's job. It may not be easy or pretty, but raising the bar always helps any firm be more competitive over time.

You learn that Socrates would have been one of the conversation partners he wished he could have had in life. It is a good choice when you learn more about what drove him. He seems like the kind of soul who needed to seek some things out, even at a high cost, because it just needed to be done. The goal would be worthwhile to those that followed. 

To a point you may be able to say that about Apple products in general, and that certainly confirms the imprint of the man, and his words. Steve like many Apple products, represent a new standard of perfection. This book was worthy of many reads, and his thoughts were enlightening in their honest clarity. I would even dare say they were insanely great. Highly Recommended!

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