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Monday, May 21, 2018

"The executive falls deep into Steve's reality distortion field..."


Steve Jobs: Insanely Great

I had heard good reviews of a Steve Jobs biography (probably this one), so when I saw this graphic novel at the library I snagged it. Hadn't heard anything about it. It is a biography of Steve Jobs, and runs the full length of his life.

I feel like this book has both strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths: This book is both matter-of-fact and to the point. I feel like I know a lot more about Steve Jobs now. I appreciated that the book didn't moralize or draw conclusions from Jobs's life and experiences. The pacing is very well done -- we didn't spend a lot of time mired in details. Things move along nicely. And it brought up questions for me that I didn't know I had; it made me want to learn more about Jobs and his life.

Weaknesses: While I feel like I know a lot more about Jobs (and Apple), I don't feel like I know Steve Jobs better. "Jobs liked this, Jobs liked that, Jobs did this next..." My English teacher would have exhorted the author to Show, Don't Tell. In the end I feel less like I read a biography of Steve Jobs and more like someone else read the biography and told me about it. But, hey, I wasn't invested in his life enough to want to read a thick book about it, just a thin one. So, there you go.

The art: The art was really interesting. It's a very casual style and the sort of sketchy that makes me think "If this is all it takes, I could draw a graphic novel!" But upon looking closer I saw more detail and planning than originally greets the eye. The book is in black and white, and all hand-lettered. The panels are hand-drawn. This all contributes to a messy look, of which I can't help but think Jobs would not approve. Do I approve of it? Yes. Although I couldn't tell if Jobs was supposed to look like a wild maniac in one or two of the panels (He definitely was supposed to look like that in some of them, but there were a couple I found ambiguous.)

Overall, I recommend this book. I'm still thinking about it a couple of days after finishing. Benjamin (age 9) picked it up and read it. While it is shelved in the YA section of my library, the book didn't contain content I thought would disturb him. Do I think he picked up on everything? No. But he did ask me about the current price of Apple stock after reading it.

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