Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson


The creativity that can occur when a feel for both the humanities and the sciences combine in one strong personality was the topic that most interested me in my biographies of Franklin and Einstein, and I believe that it will be a key to creating innovative economies in the twenty-first century. 

He knew that the best wya to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. 

If he’s decided that something should happen, then he’s just going to make it happen.

A drive for perfection meant caring about the craftsmanship even of the parts unseen. 

Markkula wrote his principle in a one-page paper titled “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” that stressed three points. The first was empathy, an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer. “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.” The second was focus: “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” The third and equally important principle, awkwardly named, was impute. It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. “People DO judge a book by its cover,” he wrote. “We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.” 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

The best way to predict the future is to invest it. 

The journey is the reward. 

We probably only have the opportunity to do a few things really great and do them well. None of us has any idea how long we’re going to be here, nor do I, but my feeling is I’ve got to accomplish a lot of these things while I’m young. 

A great company must be able to impute its values from the first impression it makes.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. 

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Walt Disney once said. 

Jobs could be charming to people he hated just as easily as he could be insulting to people he liked. 

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to thing they can change the world as the ones who do. 

One of Job’s great strengths was knowing how to focus. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he said. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”

People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.

“Less but better,” Weniger aber besser.

Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential. 

Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers. 

Products should be made to look pure and seamless. 

Mike Markkula had taught Jobs to “impute”—to understand that people do judge a book by its cover—and therefore to make sure all the trappings and packaging of Apple signaled that there was a beautiful gem inside. 

There jobs are team sports. I accept your thanks on behalf of everybody at Apple. 

The store will become the most powerful physical expression of the brand. 

But there’s a simpler reason: It’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people. And it hurts your own character. 

In ancient Rome, when a victorious general paraded through the streets, legend has it that he was sometimes trailed by a servant whose job it was to repeat to him, “Memento mori”; Remember you will die. A reminder of mortality would help the hero keep things in perspective, instill some humility. 

Tools that allowed people to make music, videos, websites, and blogs, which could be posted for the world to see. “The iPad shifts the emphasis from creating content to merely absorbing and manipulating it.

“If Jobs had not changed the context from the iPhone 4 to all smartphones in general, I could make you a hilarious comic strip about a product so poorly made that it won’t work if it comes in contact with a human hand. But as soon as the context is changed to ‘all smartphones have problems,’ the humor opportunity is gone. Nothing kills humor like a general and boring truth. 

As Dylan says, if you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.