Becoming Steve Jobs, Reviewed


The essay was written as an assignment of the Advanced English Reading course I attended in the second year of college.

It is hard to become ourselves.

We are gifted with various characteristics and abilities, which distinguish us from any other people in the world. But it’s quite uneasy to identify and fulfill the potential of them. We make wrong choices for immaturity, seek for temporary pleasure led by impulse, and miss the voice of heart in blind conformity. It’s strange but true that we are born to be ourselves while there’s a long way to go before we can approach them.

So did it work on Steve Jobs.

Featured an Apple-endorsed corrective to Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, the previous generally-acknowledged authoritative biography for the legendary Apple co-founder, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli’s Becoming Steve Jobs focused on the “evolution of a reckless upstart into a visionary leader”. Thanks to the authors’ close relationship with Jobs, we could have a look into Jobs’ decisions and behaviour from a more sincere and intimate angle, and enjoy stories never revealed before. Rather than a plain and neutral narrative, they are offering a chronicling of Jobs’ peaks and valleys weaved by the words of those who knew him best.

The book unprecedentedly describes Jobs in his early years as a paradox of “half genius, half asshole”. Despite his clear vision of future, mismanagement, conflicting priorities and squandering operations would result in a series of failures. Fortunately, his utter confidence and curiosity never diminished. During the period when he was in charge of Pixar-to-be, he gradually learnt how to collaborate, to compromise, and to take the responsibility of a mature leader. After his returning as Apple CEO, he behaved much more sophisticatedly and steadily, leading the company to reclaim its past glories and cultivate even more. He eventually became himself, Steve Jobs, with flaws repaired and advantages polished, the truly extraordinary person.

The book doesn’t mean to encourage everyone to literally become Steve Jobs. There’s no sense to duplicate Jobs’ innermost insight into tech and culture, which, scorched into his gene, is the kernel characteristic that distinguished him from any other leaders ever in IT history. It does, however, encourage people to become themselves, which means discovering potentials, bearing ups and downs, and finally become the better ones we were determined to be. That’s the most important thing for us.

We are to become ourselves.