Given that I am a very longtime Mac user and follower, I was eagerly interested in reading this book, and particularly interested in learning new bits about the life of what I consider one of the main genius in modern technology.
First of all I must say that the book is nicely written, not so nicely translated to Spanish, and you get immersed in the story quickly. It is really long and quite detailed, but it does not get overwhelming or boring with so much information. Yet, since this has been the only book I have read part in English (in an e-book) and part in Spanish (in a standard book), I could compare between both, and frankly the contrast between the original and the translation is noticeable, and not for the better.
One of the great surprises of the book, for me, and taking into account the control freak which was Jobs, is that Isaacon was given full access to all kind of sources in order to obtain information, including some that would obviously not be too fond of Jobs behaviour. Jobs not only allowed this: he gave full freedom and did not require approval before publication. Which makes me think that possibly being close to the end offered another perspective to Jobs, leading him to change some of his most important habits.
Another aspect (which besides is repeated at several places) which produced a bit of incredulity to me was the statement that Jobs cried during a number of heated discussions, all of them related to work. Maybe it's just me, but I simply can't believe it happened for real. As it does not fit, at all, with the same Steve Job which is described -in this and other works- as a very hard negotiator, and someone used to utilize cruel words to criticize the work of others, including his own employees at Apple. Honestly, does not feel the kind of guy who will end in tears during a hot discussion with others.
On purely technical grounds, I have the feeling that Isaacson is not too interested in technology, because of his rather naive approach in some specific parts of the book. For instance, I couldn't avoid a smile when reading a comparison between iPhoto and Photoshop as competing applications: for anybody remotely interested in photography and Macs, that is just a joke. A quick round of reviews would have corrected this kind of simple mistakes. And this might be the biggest flaw of the book, since many people were possibly expecting an insightful approach from someone with deep knowledge of computers, portable devices, software, operating systems, etec... For good or bad, this is not a book written with that perspective in mind, and maybe that's the reason why some gurus as Gruber found it disappointing: if you expect to find in it the final explanations on why Jobs made such a success and found a few holy grials in computing, applications or devices, you will be disappointed.
But it has to be said that this biography offers a really comprehensive overview on the life of Steve Jobs, obviously very focused on his impact in technology, but not forgetting his personal life. For anyone interested in this figure, I think this book will be a nice read and will provide more than enough information to understand the impact of Jobs during the last 30 years.
Going to the life of Steve Jobs, I was happy to complete my knowledge about it: any Mac follower was well aware of Jobs importance for Apple, but certainly this book puts that importance into a huge context, which only makes Jobs importance appear even more remarkable.
I was not surprised to learn in full detail how overcontrolling and often impersonally cruel could Jobs become when dealing with his work, to the point of forgetting about family life. Furthermore, I was also shocked by learning he had simply ignored his first daughter, Lisa, by simply focusing on other aspects of his life. The conclusion: his extraordinary capacity to focus attention on some things was at the same time a blessing (leading to his unprecedented series of hits in technology, which is widely recognized today) and at the same one of his darkest aspects, helping to draw a figure for whom people were often far less important than bits.
Yet I found somehow worrying to discover that Jobs, a person with an intelligence out of the ordinary, was stupid enough to avoid first, and then delay, the pancreatic surgery needed once doctors discovered he had cancer. Apparently he was convinced he could fight the illness with some specific diets and other brilliant ideas of the same kind. This is something I can't understand, but it evidences that all human beings are a mixed bag, and that truly nobody's perfect, no matter what have been his accomplishments.
All in all, I think this is a book well worth to read, even though for those of us with an eye on the finer details, THE final story on why and how Steve Jobs changed the world of technology remains to be written.