I thought the 60 Minutes interview broadcast just now with Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson was great. Absolutely great.
It covered a lot of ground I was familiar with and is familiar to most other Apple fans too. But it fresh and fascinating because of the accumulation of small details and revelations. Like the fact that Jobs rarely locked his back door in Palo Alto, and that anybody could have walked in off the street, because he didn’t want to pervert his life by being rich. Alternatively, he looked his childhood friend Daniel Kottke in the eye and denied him the shares in Apple that would have made him a millionaire. So many contradictions.
But there were three profound revelations for me, which really shed light on Jobs’ life and work:
Steve Jobs was working with the Dutch ship maker Feadship on a luxury yacht.
Although Steve Jobs is not known for ostentatious displays of his wealth, he was designing his own luxury yacht. And typical of Jobs, he was designing it himself so that he could obsess over every detail.
If you can’t handle waiting for the official Steve Jobs biography release on November 21st, the folks at Fortune have you covered. The editors of Fortune have complied a comprehensive selection of articles about Apple’s former CEO and published a Kindle eBook called “All About Steve.”
A little heads up on the state of the official Steve Jobs biography: MacRumors has confirmed that the book is getting longer — 208 pages longer to be exact.
Since the former Apple CEO’s resignation, there’s obviously more material that belongs in an official biography. The bio, by Walter Isaacson, is still slated for a release on November 21st. Publisher Simon & Shuster’s has already made the book available for preorder on Amazon.
I just spent the last hour or so reading the 1996 profile, which Isaacson published when Gates was at the height of his power. Isaacson managed to get full access by persuading Gates it was a shot at winning Time’s Person of the Year. Gates didn’t win, but the profile is a great piece of work. It’s full of personal anecdotes and is psychologically penetrating. Isaacson talked to Gates’ friends, family and colleagues, and paints a rich, detailed portrait. It’s highly readable but also critical of Gates. We can only hope Isaacson does the same thing for Jobs, who has famously resisted biographers so far. As previously reported, Jobs has granted Isaacson full access for iSteve: The Book of Jobs, which is to be published early next year. (I don’t think it’s fair, but columnist Michael Wolff says Isaacson is a social-climbing sycophant).
Here’s a taste of the Gates piece:
When Gates decided to propose to Melinda in 1993, he secretly diverted the chartered plane they were taking home from Palm Springs one Sunday night to land in Omaha. There Buffett met them, arranged to open a jewelry store that he owned and helped them pick a ring. That year Gates made a movie for Buffett’s birthday. It featured Gates pretending to wander the country in search of tales about Buffett and calling Melinda with them from pay phones. After each call, Gates is shown checking the coin slot for loose change. When she mentions that Buffett is only the country’s second richest man, he informs her that on the new Forbes list Buffett had (at least that one year) regained the top spot. The phone suddenly goes dead. “Melinda, Melinda,” Gates sputters, “you still there? Hello?”