Becoming Steve Jobs? More like Forgetting Walter Isaacson. Photo: Penguin Random House
You may have suspected that the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs had Apple’s official endorsement the moment it was revealed that Jony Ive, Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Pixar’s John Lasseter and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, offered their participation.
However, with just one day to go until the book’s release, the word is now officially out: This is Apple’s sanctioned version of the Steve Jobs story.
“After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said. “We decided to participate in [the] book because of [author Brent Schlender’s] long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.”
New biography Becoming Steve Jobs gets to the heart of Apple’s mercurial co-founder. Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC
I can’t wait to read Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader. The upcoming biography, by veteran reporters Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, promises to be the definitive telling of Steve Jobs’ life.
The writers scored interviews with major players including Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Pixar’s John Lasseter, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. The result is a book loaded with interesting anecdotes and insights about the former Apple CEO.
I haven’t yet read the whole thing (it comes out March 24), but while pre-ordering my copy on Amazon, I could initially access a significant portion of the biography through the site’s “Look Inside the Book” feature. (Amazon later blocked out far more of the book’s contents.)
From what I’ve seen, some of the stories are pretty sensational — providing new details into the close relationship between Jobs and Cook, revealing Jobs’ secret plan to buy Yahoo!, and much more.
Want a few of the highlights? Check them out below.
Steve Jobs introducing the iPod mini. Photo: Apple
The $350 million class action lawsuit against Apple might not even have a legitimate plaintiff anymore, but the trial continued in Oakland today with one of the key witnesses being none other than Steve Jobs himself.
The late Apple CEO appeared on a TV monitor in court today in an unreleeased deposition video that was filmed six months before his death in 2011. CNET reports that in the video Steve Jobs maintained the same stance as Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller earlier this week, that Apple wasn’t trying to block competitors and hurt customers by removing some songs off of iPods. It was simply protecting iTunes from hackers and trying to not violate its record label contracts.
Jobs’ demeanor and responses reportedly suggested he wasn’t taking the antitrust case very seriously, and that Apple didn’t perceive any competitors as legitimate threats.
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?”