Ever wonder what it would be like to be rich? I don’t mean Porsche driving, large house living rich; I mean crazy rich and one of the most influential people on the planet. Writer Dan Lyons did when he started his blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. This blog, written as if he was Steve Jobs, brought a humorous and surreal outlook to the technology icon.
Recently Lyons retired the blog and is now continuing to write as fake Steve Jobs in book form and oPtion$: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs is his first original entry in that proposed series. oPtion$ is set during Apples' infamous SEC crisis and during the development period of the world-changing iPhone.
Going forward I am going to refer to the character as only Steve Jobs, but bear in mind this is fiction based on a real person written by a man who pretended to be that person in blog form.
Our story begins with Steve Jobs meditating on the internal design of the iPhone. The exterior is already planned, but having seen the ‘messy’ and ‘inelegant’ circuit board, Jobs faces a crisis and must redesign the interior workings of the unit. This opening section, as well as how Jobs deals with co-workers and his work environment, sets the tone for this humorous and outrageous novel.
Steve Jobs is not a normal person, how could he be? He invented the iPod, re-invigorated Apple and is an international technology superstar. As he deals with his day to day workings, he is described as, most of the time, a creative genius with no people skills and less logic.
As Lyons continues to explore his perceived notions of Steve Jobs' day to day life we see the icon interacting with Bono, Sting, heads of state as well as other technology giants (except Bill Gates – Steve Jobs would never hang with Bill). During all of these escapades the SEC continues to breathe down his neck and the Apple board of Directors is getting nervous.
As the story progresses oPtion$ eventually tackles these investigation concerns and Jobs is forced to examine his life and how much being a part of Apple means to him. Big business being what it is there is more going on behind Jobs’ back than he could ever imagine.
oPtion$ is a really funny and interesting book, and I have to confess that like many others I have a fascination with figures like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others of their ilk. This book is written in a very satirical manner and rarely takes itself seriously. The life of Jobs, his family and friends is so surreal, so larger then life you can’t help but be amused and interested.
Lyons has done a truly remarkable thing in this book. So many of us only know the mock turtle neck wearing, creative genius, dynamic speaker persona of Jobs that when Lyons is writing as that persona I found myself believing it at times. We all have our opinions of what it must be like in that life and Lyons is able to take our everyday fascination with this icon and represent it within this story.
That is not to say all is perfect within the pages of oPtion$; some of the story twists are a little unbelievable (even for people with this scale of money), and at times his portrayal of Jobs doesn’t sit well with me. My perception of the CEO of Apple is that he is intelligent, perceptive, and creative – eccentric yes, but definitely talented.
Lyons take on Jobs at times is that he stumbled upon many of the Apple innovations and was simply in the right place at the right time. You can tell that Lyons believes that Jobs is also responsible for all of Apples current success, but it isn’t demonstrated clearly enough on the pages.
That being said, oPtion$ is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a definite page turner. I was smiling throughout my reading experience and was pleasantly immersed in the world of Steve Jobs and his iconic life. I highly recommend this novel to anyone with not only an interest in Steve Jobs and the Apple culture, but also anyone who enjoys interesting characters and an entertaining story.