Dive into the fascinating world of technology and innovation with the legendary Jean-Louis Gassée and author of “Grateful GEEK”.  Jean-Louis Gassée will take you on a captivating journey through the pages of “Grateful Geek,” sharing the secrets, experiences, and wisdom he has acquired throughout his remarkable career.

Read the review by Marylène Delbourg-Dephis and enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of the book

Business autobiographies penned by technology entrepreneurs and executives often paint a curated picture of their authors, presenting them as role models to emulate, and describing their achievements as the quintessential result of a success-driven mindset. However, Jean-Louis Gassée‘s book, Grateful Geek: 50 Years of Apple and Other Tech Adventures, breaks from this simplistic mold, meriting unique attention.

In its role as an autobiography, the book delivers precisely what one might anticipate: inspiring tales interwoven with industry insights, pragmatic lessons, and nuggets of advice. It offers a comprehensive view of the tech landscape spanning the past fifty years. Yet, it does so with a welcome selection bias that is emblematic of genuine autobiographies. Put another way, Gassée recounts his executive journey as a deeply human experience, illuminating both its highs and lows, and carefully avoiding excessive hindsight rationalization. While many autobiographies trace a hero/adventurer narrative, our protagonist here is distinguished not just by his resilience but by his unwavering loyalty to friends and family. This loyalty, in turn, powers his ability to stand as an irrepressible outlier, keenly attuned to his surroundings and armed with a formidable survival instinct. Through all of life’s fluctuations, he remains steadfastly true to himself. As Gassée remarks, “Today, more at peace with myself, I smile thinking about how that feisty, arguably assholic aspect of my behavior — which I chastised myself for back then — turned out to be invaluable during pivotal moments.”

The book channels the observational acumen many admire in his “Monday Note(s),” a learned and discerning column on the tech industry’s pulse, punctuated with historical asides that provide context amid the hype and bustle. As he delves into events, such as his tenure at HP France and his inaugural visit to the HP premises in Loveland, Colorado, we gain a deeper understanding of the company’s roller-coaster journey and its emergence as fertile ground for both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs. Apple enthusiasts will uncover a frank portrayal of the company’s intricate interlude preceding Steve Jobs’s departure in 1985 and subsequent years. The story of Be, a company Gassée started in 1991, stands as evidence of the hurdles innovators grapple with within established ecosystems, even when their ideas possess undeniable potential.

The penultimate chapter, “The Late Wise and Learning Years,” bearing the subtitle “Understanding the Mindset of a Geek Leader,” melds Gassée’s experiences as a corporate maverick, a free-spirited entrepreneur, and an unconventional venture capitalist. The result is a host of salient recommendations and visualizations presented in an engaging conversational style that will resonate with many startup founders—and potentially spare them from numerous missteps and challenges.

This autobiography is a well-written endearing fusion of personal narrative and tech industry wisdom— and a must-read story of perseverance, innovation, and the unwavering belief in one’s true self!

Merci Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

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