Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

The book is 50% story of Jobs and 50% history of the Valley.
From the beginning of Apple to it becoming the world’s most valuable company, the book covers everything in depth (and is a bit too long)
Some of the key things in the book are Steve Job’s fruitarian diet, journey to India, love for absolute minimalism, extreme (positive as well as negative) treatment of employees, relation with Bill Gates (and Microsoft), battle with Google, battle with cancer and a strong belief that normal rules simply don’t apply to him.
The book covers a few major ideas including iTunes store (which brought music online), making of Toy Story, development of iPhone and iPad in detail.
At several points, the author clearly illustrates that Apple’s designers and NOT engineers make the rules, for example, during the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco.
Overall, it was a nice read, especially, when reading it along with In the Plex which is about Google.

Book Summary: In the Plex by Steven Levy

An amazing book which describes Google’s journey right from its beginning in the Stanford dorm. The author interviewed several top echelons of Google and presented several interesting insider anecdotes and stories of Google.

The book provides details of major projects like Gmail, Google Desktop, Google News and Google Toolbar, Google Books and the failure of Orkut. It also describes the process of acquisition of YouTube, Blogger, Docs, GrandCentral and Double Click.

In the Plex

Following are the few salient points. The book has many more interesting anecdotes which I am forced to skip here.

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Book Summary: Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

The book presents a generalists view of post-independent India. Unlike India Unbound, this book focuses primarily on post-independent India and takes a more pragmatic approach towards understanding the problems of contemporary India.  The best parts of the book are the interesting contradictions which the nation went through – love/hate relationship with the English language, fear of technology and neglected urban development.

Imagining India

Overall, the book is divided into four sets of ideas, that have arrived, that are in progress, that are still being debated and finally, that have yet to become part of public debate.

I have highlighted the best sections of the book in bold.

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Summary: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The book talks about a set of habits which differentiates successful people from the normal. It criticizes [recently popular] personality ethic which it terms as deceptive and manipulative and calls for character ethic which is a fundamental change in human character. This change must begin from inside and spreads out [inside-out] and the reverse is not possible.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The book is divided into three parts

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Summary: India Unbound

The book is divided primarily into three parts, pre-independence era [focused on British Raj including some stories of Mughal period], post-independence pre-liberalized era and post-liberalized India.
Since the author was born in 1943 West Punjab, which is now under the occupation of Pakistan, he narrates his personal experiences of the economic conditions of India from 1947-2001.

India Unbound

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