Several years ago I read Karen Blumenthal’s Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. I almost didn’t finish the book because I found Jobs so off-putting.
I was a little nervous when I picked up Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland,
expecting to feel the same anger and irritation at Jobs. Although Hartland talks about Jobs’ difficult relationships with people, I enjoyed this graphic biography immensely.
The text really focuses on Jobs as an innovator and reveals his innovations by repeating the book’s subtitle: “insanely great”.
The book follows Jobs’ life in chronological order, but pages are arranged creatively, sometimes with two or three cells per page, sometimes with only one. Hartland’s simple black & white line drawings make his life interesting and even entertaining.
One of the real strengths of the book is that it does not assume readers know about the technologies that predated personal computers. One and two-page spreads explain “old” technology like arcade games, the history of the computer and how records had to be played on record players. All this is cleverly tied into Jobs’ great desire to make technology better and more beautiful. The overall impression I have from this book is that, for good or ill, Steve Jobs was a man who had a vision and would do whatever it took to implement it. You might not admire his style, but it certainly left me admiring his tenacity in adhering to his ideals.
This graphic biography would be a great introduction to the life of Steve Jobs. It also includes a bibliography in case readers want to learn more about the Apple co-founder.
If you enjoyed reading this post, please check out the other graphic novels recommended during October’s Graphic Novel Celebration.