New biography Becoming Steve Jobs attempts to answer an important question: What happened to Steve Jobs during his wilderness years outside Apple that turned him from a gifted-but-impossible-to-work-with youngster into the seasoned digital emperor he would be following his return to the company he founded?
It’s a question that’s crucial to understanding Apple’s rise back to prominence from the late 1990s onward — but one that was ignored by previous Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson, whose 2011 book Steve Jobs sold a gajillion copies, but is now (perhaps unfairly) being recast as an unqualified failure.
In Isaacson’s book, these crucial years away from Apple take up just five chapters out of 42 — and that section also includes Jobs’ marriage to Laurene Powell and the birth of his children. In Becoming Steve Jobs, the lessons from that era permeate almost every page.
Steve Jobs may have had an astonishing ability to predict where tech was going next, but he very nearly missed out on the iPhone and iPad altogether.
That’s because — according to a quote from Jony Ive in today’s freshly-released biography, Becoming Steve Jobs — Apple’s late CEO didn’t see “any value to the idea” of multi-touch: the breakthrough touchscreen technology which makes iOS regulars like “pinch-to-zoom” possible.
And it was left up to Ive and a few other core Apple employees to save it.
It’s been over three years since Steve Jobs died, however the hole he left at Apple and those closest to him still hasn’t been filled. Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli’s upcoming book Becoming Steve Jobs is full of anecdotes and events that showcase just how much Steve meant to his friends.
One such event happened in 2013, during Laurene Powell Jobs’ fiftieth birthday. Pixar CEO John Lasseter recounts in the book that he got there early and started talking to Tim Cook.
“Do you miss him? I really miss Steve,” Lasseter said, and then pulled out iPhone to show Tim that Jobs phone number and photo were still on the list.
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.”
Tim Cook tells how Apple avoids Microsoft-style screw-ups, how many Apple Watches the company plans to sell, and why he keeps Steve Jobs’ office exactly as he left it in a new interview filled with fascinating tidbits.
The interview in Fast Company comes in the run-up to the March 24 launch of Becoming Steve Jobs, a biography by veteran journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. The book is viewed by some Apple execs as a corrective following Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio, and this is Cook’s well-timed salvo in the campaign to set the record straight.
Although he ultimately ran the show at Apple until the middle of 2011, Steve Jobs began thinking about succession plans as early as 2004, when he was just 49 years old, according to a Becoming Steve Jobs.
2004 was one year after Jobs had a medical scan which revealed he had a tumor in his pancreas. While it was later revealed to be a rare type of pancreatic tumor which grows slower than usual, at the time Jobs was told that he should expect to live no longer than three to six months. 2004 was, of course, years before Apple unveiled the iPhone and iPad: two of the devices for which Jobs is best remembered.
The book excerpt also reveals that, right up until the very end, Tim Cook was convinced that Steve Jobs had a longer role to play at Apple as chairman.
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.
A new book about Steve Jobs is coming later this month, and it’s the first look at the late Apple co-founder that the company has aided in making since Walter Isaacson’s biography.
Becoming Steve Jobs is written by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, two veteran journalists who scored interviews with people like Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Pixar’s John Lasseter, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs.