One of the books I started and finished over the weekend in Portland was Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson.

It is a massive read, and I found it at times very good.There are a lot of stories I hadn't known, but the stories of most of the products–the iPad, the iPhone, I had picked up recently. Perhaps most interesting was the role Steve played with Pixar. I had no idea how active he was with the company, and some of the stories about the creation of Toy Story were really interesting (early on Disney kept pushing for more "edge," so much so that for awhile, Woody was a real jerk).

Jobs' cutting personality was hard to take sometimes. He could really tear into people, and Isaacson notes that it's hard to say it was necessary. He could have been the taskmaster, the impossible to please boss, without humiliating employees, as he did at times.

But his sense of design was definitely strong, and it was a part of everything. I found this to be one of the most telling passages. This takes place during his cancer treatments.

Even when he was barely conscious, his strong personality came through. At one point the pulmonologist tried to put a mask over his face when he was deeply sedated. Jobs ripped it off and mumbled that he hated the design and refused to wear it. Though barely able to speak, he ordered them to bring him five different options for the mask and he would pick a design he liked. The doctors looked at Powell [his wife], puzzled. She was finally able to distract him so they could put on the mask. He also hated the oxygen monitor they put on his finger. He told them it was ugly and too complex. He suggested ways it could be designed more simply.

I love that scene.

There's a lot more I would have wanted to know, but for a behind-the-scenes look at a very private person, I thought it was an interesting read.