Last Friday, I presented my synopsis of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. At our monthly First Friday Book Synopsis event, we aim to finish our synopses in 15 minutes. I missed it this time – going almost 20 minutes. It was not easy to present this terrific book in such a short time.
I loved the book!
The book is a thorough, flowing narrative of the life and business career of Steve Jobs. It reveals so much about the culture he grew up in, with a great look at the struggles –the very personal struggles – of a man who never knew his biological father, and only later came to know other members of his “birth family.” (He loved his adoptive parents!).
Thus, one of Isaacson’s key observations is this: Steve Jobs always felt
“Abandoned. Chosen. Special.”
I want to encourage you to read the book. And, whether you read it or not, I encourage you to order my synopsis of the book. (It will be available soon, with handout + audio, on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com). I prepared a comprehensive 10+ page handout that has many of my favorite quotes from the book. But, trust me, you need to read the book – slowly! — to get the full story.
I learned plenty about the genius of Steve Jobs. He cared deeply about ease of use, simplicity of design, producing good, usable products for the “regular person” (the “non-techie”). After I finished reading the book, I tried to come up with the “lessons” – the “business lessons” — to take away from the book. Here’s my list of seven (it could have been much longer):
1) Care about the product, not about the money. The money must – must! — be the by-product, not the focus.
2) Everything matters. Everything. Including what no one can see. Insanely great cuts no corners!
3) Do few things. Do them really well.
4) Absolute control. Because such control created consistent quality. (No “crap”!)
5) Don’t ship junk!
6) The customer does not know what he/she wants “until we’ve shown them”…
7) Build a team of A Players – Keep them A Players. Non-A Players create more non-A players. (They drag people down…) A Players are genuinely, truly critical.
Now, putting these lessons into practice will take some work. If you’re like me, you have some serious work to do…