Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Book Reviews: iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business.

Are three times a fluke?

Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon don't think so. Writing iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, they explore Steve Jobs' ascendancy in three highly competitive fields: computers (Apple), movies (Pixar) and music (ipod/itunes).

While it's true that these fields overlap, it is beyond legitimate cavil that Jobs has shaped these fields. For that multifaceted achievement, one must be impressed. The authors are. However, they cannot decide if Jobs is a positive figure.

The book alternates between laudatory language that would make some publicists blush, and punishing portrayals.

However, this dichotomous mode carries their message of contradiction. They argue that Jobs is an oxymoron--a selfless humanitarian and a self-involved, ruthless leader.

This two-faced portrait is foreshadowed in the title. Through creative capitalization, "iCon" carries a double meaning (especially when viewed in the context of the pages that follow). Is Jobs a business icon who has achieved the "Greatest Second Act in the History of Business"? Or, is the small "i" to distinguish it from the "con" so that they are a personal pronoun and verb in the context of an "act"?

After reading the text, I can't decide the authors' ultimate conclusion. They appear content to leave both images linger.