Thursday, November 5, 2015
Steve Jobs: Insanely Great
It hits all the highlights from his life, a true biography that takes him from his being born and adopted to his enterprising childhood and adolescence when his tinkering and playing around with gadgets and machines was encouraged.
Apple, as well as being instrumental in the success of Pixar, one of today's most lucrative and lauded animation studios. Those alone would make for an excellent resume for anyone, but he also had a huge hand in creating devices that have changed the way we interact with the world, namely the iPod, iPad, iPhone, and iTunes.
The book also describes some of his not so positive attributes, namely his extreme perfectionism and blunt talk that often alienated those around him, but it mainly focuses on the good he did. Those looking for a more critical or nuanced biography should probably look elsewhere. Still, I think it is a great elementary introduction to the man and his works, and it has a few other features that recommend it. The artwork is appealing, breezy, and whimsical. There are sequences that demarcate decades and show what devices were invented and commonly used the, which I think is a very helpful thing for younger readers to see. And the entire narrative is cleanly told.
This book is the creation of Jessie Hartland, an accomplished commercial artist and children's book illustrator. Her prior books include nonfiction about dinosaurs, meteorites, and a biography of Julia Child. She speaks much more about her work on the Jobs' biography here.
All of the reviews I have read about this book have been positive. Andrew Hayward wrote, "The book is nuanced without being sprawling; comprehensive but not exhaustive—or exhausting, for that matter." J. Caleb Mozzocco summed up, "I don’t know I’d go so far as to call it insanely great, but it’s pretty great, and a perfect place for anyone interested in Jobs, regardless of their age or sophistication, to start learning about the pivotal figure." Kirkus Reviews was in agreement, concluding, "Nothing new or revelatory here, but the book can serve as a good introduction to Jobs and will impress with its concision those who already know a lot about him."
Steve Jobs: Insanely Great was published by Schwartz & Wade, and they have a preview and more information about the book here.