Review of the Week

Two new books on Steve Jobs:

Blumenthal, Karen. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. Non-fic. Feiwel/Macmillan, 2012. 310p. $16.99. 978-1-25001-557-0,  PB $8.99 978-1-25001-445-0.  OUTSTANDING. GRADES 6-10.

From birth, early adoption, and early education through his failures and successes, this even-handed biography presents the enigmatic innovator in all his complexity for readers who have never known a world without computers. Using Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech as a framing device, Blumenthal not only mines Walter Isaacson’s biography but many other sources as well. In addition to the basic facts, she more fully explains influential attitudes, events, and movements that shaped the course of Jobs’ life. In short, she describes a precomputer world to children and Steve Jobs’ role in shaping the world they know. In addition to the professional accomplishments, the account provides glimpses of Jobs’ personal life and family. Backmatter includes a timeline of computer development, author’s note, bibliography, notes with citations, glossary, and index.

Linda Perkins, Independent

Doeden, Matt.  Steve Jobs: Technology Innovator and Apple Genius. Photos.  Non-fic..Gateway Biographies Series. Lerner, 2012. 48p. PLB $26.60. 978-1-4677-0215-7. ADDITIONAL. GRADES 4-7.

Steve Jobs comes to life in this serviceable biography of the high-interest public figure. Tracing his life from birth through childhood and throughout his adult years, the text focuses on Jobs’ innovations and his design genius, making products that are both simple to use and greatly anticipate public desires. While Doeden addresses the good and the bad of Job’s personality in his younger years, that discussion does not follow through to the rest of his life. Sadly, this makes for an oversimplification of a brilliant, complex, and not always likeable man. Photographs are aptly chosen and well placed. The overall design of the book is well-organized and user friendly. Extensive back matter includes a timeline, source notes, and a bibliography.

Helen Bloch, Oakland PL

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