In the current New Yorker, Malcom Gladwell boils it down to this: Jobs was a "tweaker"
I'm only 46% of the way through Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs, according to the Kindle app on my iPad, but I've read enough to recognize that Malcom Gladwell has captured the essence of the book -- and the man -- in his 3,000-word review in the current New Yorker.
Gladwell's thesis is that Jobs, at heart, was an information-age version of those 18th and early 19th century engineers who put Britain in the forefront of the industrial revolution by creating and perfecting the automatic mule for spinning cotton. Such men, according to a recent article by economists Ralf Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr, provided the "micro inventions necessary to make macro inventions highly productive and remunerative."
It's a strong thesis -- one that Isaacson doesn't offer his readers -- but what bring it to life in Gladwell's piece are the intimate and revealing details that he lifts from Isaacson's painstaking reporting.
I believe that anybody who is curious about the man who built Apple (AAPL) ought to read Isaacson's book. But if you want a quick hit to the get the flavor of Steve Jobs in all his terrifying complexity, Gladwell's review is the best entry point I've seen to date.
You can read it here.
"When companies plan wildly ambitious, over-the-top headquarters, it is sometimes a sign of imperial hubris."
Writing in the New Yorker's blog (but not, interestingly, in the magazine itself) Paul Goldberger has cast his architecture critic's eye on drawings for Apple's (AAPL) proposed headquarters and found them troubling -- and a bit scary.
[Foster + Partners] has proposed a gargantuan glass-and-metal ring, four stories high, with a hole in the middle a third of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 27, 2011 7:08 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of the weekend's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you every day.
* Facebook started moving the first bunch of lucky staffers into its new 1-million square-foot Menlo Park campus. Company product architect Aaron Sittig documented the move with some choice snapshots.
* Apartment-swapping startup Airbnb is on a roll: it just raised $112 million at a $1 billion valuation, led MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jul 25, 2011 3:30 AM ET
Perhaps Apple's magazine subscription rules weren't as one-sided as publishers feared
If you were subscribing to the online edition of, say, Wired, Vanity Fair or the New Yorker on the iTunes store, and you were faced with the pop-up window at right, would you opt-in and click "Allow"?
Most major magazine publishers, when shown this screen by Apple (AAPL) representatives, blanched. Each of them knew full well the kind of gravy they MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 12, 2011 6:49 AM ET
It seems that the move may not have only ended Google's presence in China, but also Schmidt's tenure.
In a piece in the New Yorker, Googled Author Ken Auletta argues that the decision to pull Google (GOOG) out of China was the turning point for outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt in his decision to step down from the company's Chief Executive role.
According to close advisors, the Google C.E.O. was upset a year ago when MORESeth Weintraub - Jan 23, 2011 2:37 PM ET
The cover of the inaugural issue of the New Yorker, published Feb. 17, 1925, featured a dandy peering through a monocle at a butterfly. Eustace Tilley, as the character was called, became the New Yorker's official mascot and has appeared ever since on its anniversary issue.
Since 1994, the magazine has invited contributing artists to reinterpret Tilley in a style appropriate for the times. In 2008, Colombian graphic artist Camilo Ramirez MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 17, 2009 1:14 PM ET
|The Winklevoss twins are Bitcoin bulls|
|Bernanke's advice for college grads|
|Signs of new housing bubble in several areas|
|Prison exclusive: Bernie Madoff can't sleep|