Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

“Traces the inspiring life and career of the late founder of Apple, covering topics ranging from his struggles as an adopted child and a college dropout to his Buddhist faith and friendship with Steve Wozniak, in a portrait framed around his inspirational Stanford University commencement speech.”

Blumenthal, Karen. (2012). Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. Harrisonburg, VA: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company. ISBN: 978-1-250-01557-0. Hardcover. $16.99.

This book follows Jobs from his time in youth being a difficult child to parent and never taking no for an answer all the way to his death, still wanting to do things his way. Steve Jobs was adopted and knew so at a young age. He was difficult as a youth and but extremely gift when he applied himself. He quickly found an interest in technology and, with the ingenuity of his friend Steve Wozniak, started building a personal computer in his parent’s garage. They struggled, as most startups do, to receive funding but eventually came out with their first personal computer with some success. They found more success with their Apple II computer which established them in the new personal computer business. After some issues with clashing personalities, which Jobs was famous for, he was asked to leave the company. He went on with the money he made from Apple to join Pixar and NeXT. NeXT turned out to be a flop in the personal computer business but were successful on the software front. Pixar was failing as well and Jobs was forced to do some pruning in order to focus the company in areas where there was a chance to gain revenue and not be so disbursed. Disney found the value in Pixar’s animation and after various struggles, were successful partners in the movie Toy Story. Jobs was able to sell NeXT to Apple after Apple had lost their footing and their company began to plummet. Jobs slowly took over and brought Apple successful product after successful product with the introduction iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, MacBook Pro and iPad. While bringing all of this, Jobs found out that he had an aggressive form of Cancer which, despite his transplant, brought him to an early end. Jobs had left his mark on the industry without being a programmer due to his, sometimes unrealistically, high expectations and desire for perfection.

I don’t remember the commercials that ran starting in 1997 stating that you should “think different” but now the grammar of the title makes sense. I know there is another popular biography written by Walter Isaacson who spent a good amount of time with him while he was still alive. I bring that up to say that this book would probably serve as a more extensive reading because it was referred to on numerous occasions in this book, but is less appropriate for teens than this biography. I found this biography to be an enjoyable read and feel this a great biography for teen readers because some of the content is better geared toward younger readers. I could see this book in school libraries and public libraries. I feel like if given the choice, I would have preferred to read the Walter Isaacson biography, but this peaked my interest, and I could see myself reading the biography in the future.

Awards won:

  • Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award
  • Booklist Top 10 Biography Books for Youth
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice Books for Youth
  • Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth
  • ALSC 2013 Notable Children’s Books

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