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400 Years Of Freethought
Samuel Porter Putnam
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
Philip Pullman, Jacob Grimm
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
Jennifer Michael Hecht
The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America
Paul E. Johnson, Sean Wilentz

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson Isaacson is probably lucky that Steve Jobs did not have a chance to read his biography. Jobs comes off as a spoiled Californian hippy-wannabe who pretty regularly cries to get his way. Maybe the real Jobs was as un-selfaware as he’s portrayed, but it’s not the impression you get when watching things like the joint interview Jobs and Bill Gates did with Mossberg in 2007. I think in spite of his protestations regarding Steve Jobs’ brilliance, Isaacson probably focuses too much on Jobs petty flaws, and misses some of the really big, historic business issues that are much more important parts of the Steve Jobs story than his personal hygiene and relationships with ex-girlfriends.I’ve never read anything by Isaacson before, but he ran CNN, didn’t he? So he can’t be as naive about business as he pretends to be. He relates a story about Steve telling Obama that Apple employs over 700,000 factory workers in China. Apple would really like to build factories in America, Steve tells the President, but he can’t find the 30,000 engineers needed to supervise those assembly lines. So Obama tells his staff that this education gap needs to be addressed ASAP. Really? It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Apple can’t find 700,000 Americans willing to work for ten dollars a day and live in dormitories where they put up chain link outside the windows to stop you from jumping out and killing yourself? Similarly, Isaacson comes back again and again to the closed-versus-open systems argument, without ever really getting the point. The Microsoft DOS and Windows-based “IBM compatible” clone world created a global economy that would never have existed if Apple and its closed system had won. Don’t get me wrong: I bought my first Macintosh in 1984 and I’m typing on one now. But let’s be real. Thousands of companies, millions of jobs would never have existed. And if you listen carefully to the Mossberg interview, Steve Jobs knew this. So, thank you, Microsoft.Maybe the situation is different today. Isaacson implies that the Apple-Microsoft war has been replaced by an Apple-Google war over basically the same issues. However, I was struck by a little detail I’m sure Isaacson missed, which Steve would never have approved. At the end of the book (at least in the Kindle version — it may be elsewhere in the print version), there are a series of Diana Walker photos, and the final one is this 2004 portrait. This is the very last thing you see, after reading six hundred pages. Look what’s sitting on the big box under the brick archway at the far left. Then read Wired’s cover story last month. I’m just sayin’…