Wednesday, January 2, 2019


I am back into the full swing of things on the second day of this new year with a busy caseload. Four clients had sentencings in circuit court plus had some matters relating to an upcoming trial to take care of while there. So didn't have time to get away from the courthouse for lunch today.

Instead I spent a few moments of downtime in the courthouse reading a book the Quarto Group sent my way that I had tucked in my briefcase for occasions such as this.  STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT by Kevin Lynch provides a vibrant look into the up and downs in the life of one of history's great innovators. This 272 page hardback book immerses readers into the story of Steve Jobs life with vivid photography and colorful graphics that compliment a thoroughly researched biography filled with insights and trivia about a man that fundamentally changed technology's place in our world.

As co-founder of Apple Inc.,  Steve Jobs was a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s who was forced out of the company he helped create by its board of directors. He then went on to create a new business called NeXT that was successful at selling computers directly to businesses and colleges. Jobs used his personal profits from NeXT to partner with George Lucas of Star Wars fame to create a computer animated special effects division of Lucasfilm. He eventually bought out Lucas and spun off this division into an independent movie studio called PIXAR that produced the first fully computer animated motion picture called TOY STORY. Out of coincidence both Lucasfilm and PIXAR over time have both been purchased and become part of Walt Disney Studios.

While NeXT continued to be profitable, Apple Inc. had fallen on tough times and was on the verge of bankruptcy by the mid-1990s.  NeXT merged with Apple in 1996.  This reunited Steve Jobs with the company he originally founded with Steve Wozniak as the merged company kept the Apple name and made him CEO.

During his second stint at Apple, Steve Jobs initiated a second technological revolution as he steered the company away from producing PCs and into manufacturing mobile devices like the iPod and iPhone and providing Internet services like iTunes and the App Store. This led to a transformation which made Apple one of the most powerful businesses on Earth.  In fact, according to STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT at one point Apple Inc. had more money in cash reserves than the United States Treasury. Think about that … a business had more cash than the country that was printing the currency. Wow!

With the sale of PIXAR, Steve Jobs became Disney's largest shareholder which combined with his stake in Apple Inc. gave him a net worth of approximately 7 billion dollars! He was at the pinnacle of a career that had made him one of the leading innovators and wealthiest men on the planet. Unfortunately, Jobs than encountered a problem that his ingenuity and money couldn't overcome … pancreatic cancer. He lost his fight with cancer in 2011 and passed away at the age of 56. A life cut short way too soon.

What I really liked about STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT is that it is not a book geared just for people with an interest in computers and technology. It is a book about overcoming adversity, leadership, entrepreneurship and living your best life that all of us can take away something from. Kevin Lynch writes the book so that it really delves into the talent and genius of Steve Jobs without getting too bogged down looking into personality flaws and relationship troubles.

That being said, the book also doesn't just focus on the highlights of Steve Jobs life but also points out some of his rotten apples. For example there was the Apple Lisa that had ground-breaking features but was a flop because of its nearly $10,000 price tag; Pippin video game console that sold less than half the 100,000 units produced, and the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system that couldn't compete with other audio brands like Bose. It also points out mistakes like how Jobs sold all his initial shares of Apple, except one share so he would continue to receive an annual report, after he was ousted from the company he helped create.

If he held onto those shares instead of selling them their value alone after the company's turnaround during his second stint with it would have made him the 5th richest person in the world. Of course, if he did that may not have had the resources to start NeXT and PIXAR and history may have well been much different. So maybe his selling them was a good thing!

Another nice touch to STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT is that it is laid out similar to a corporation's annual report with a look that mimics Apple's marketing style. It is not a bulky text book but rather is full of vibrant imagery which is pleasant to peruse through. Colorful photography, graphics and charts further draw your attention into the book's text making it very enjoyable to read.

Since I'm reading for leisure rather than as a school or work obligation its is nice the way the layout provides a relaxed tone for some weighty subject matter.  I've found STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT to be both an educational and entertaining read keeping my interest throughout the book so glad to give it A Geek Daddy nod of approval. If you are looking to join me in doing some leisurely reading this year, make some time to flip through the pages of this great book compiled by Kevin Lynch.

Find out more about STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT over at

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