STEVE JOBS by Jessie Hartland


Insanely Great
by illustrated by
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A free-wheeling graphic biography of Steve Jobs.

The late visionary behind Apple and Pixar lent himself to caricature, and illustrator Hartland (Bon Appétit: The Delicious Life of Julia Child, 2012, etc.) takes full advantage. Her inspirational version of the “insanely great” Jobs is a misfit who refused to follow the rules or play well with others, who was as rebellious as he was smart. Eventually becoming one of the richest men in the world, he followed a spiritual path of asceticism, looking for gurus, seeking a purer truth than can be found in material possessions. Yet he showed a remarkable lack of compassion and empathy toward his associates and was forced out of the Apple he had founded because others considered him so difficult. He wasn’t the computer whiz that his early collaborator Steve Wozniak was, but the marketing acumen of his passion for design and simplicity proved equally crucial in Apple’s transformation of the personal computer from a hobbyist pursuit into a paradigm-shifting commercial product. “Woz is the engineering genius,” the author writes in a kid’s scrawl that matches the rough-hewn illustrations. “Steve is the salesman with the big picture.” As she later quotes her subject, who saw Apple prosper beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, “I don’t think it would have happened without Woz and I don’t think it would have happened without me.” Recognizing his own deficiencies, Jobs recruited Pepsi’s John Sculley to run the company: “While Steve knows himself to be quirky, tactless, confrontational, and insensitive, he knows Sculley is polite, polished, and easygoing”—though inevitably, there was a power struggle between the two. The narrative somehow squeezes Jobs’ important innovations—the iMac, the music empire of iPods and iTunes, the smartphone revolution, the iPad—into a breezy narrative that engages and entertains.

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.

Pub Date: July 21st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-307-98295-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2015


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