Steve Jobs, The Exclusive Biography

by Walter Isaacson Non-fiction

  • US & Canada Simon & Schuster (October 2011, Ed. 630)
  • UK & Comm Little, Brown & Company

From bestselling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In Steve Jobs, A Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs’ professional and personal life.

Drawn from more than forty exclusive interviews that Isaacson conducted with Jobs over the course of two years—as well as with family members, colleagues, rivals, friends, and adversaries—Steve Jobs is the definitive portrait of our era’s most creative and innovative business leader. Isaacson’s book spans Jobs' entire life, the private and the public, covering exclusive details on his childhood, early influences of Buddhism, tales from inside his design studio, vision at Pixar, and innovative spirit at Apple.
 
Born in 1955 and a product of the late ‘60s San Francisco Bay-area, where flower power and computer processing intersected, young Jobs embraced a variety of experiences and contradictions:  LSD, veganism, and meditation along with fascination for electronics and technology.  He co-founded Apple as a 21-year-old in his parents’ garage, brought it to huge success, was ousted in 1985, and eventually returned in 1997. The one constant throughout his life was the drive to explore the intersection of art and technology.  His artistic genius, volatile temperament and passionate vision led to the creation of revolutionary products that have changed the world. He played by his own set of rules in all facets of life.
 
Isaacson writes, “This book is about the roller coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. You might even add a seventh: retail stores, which Jobs did not quite revolutionize, but he did reimagine. Plus, he opened the way for a new market for digital content based on apps rather than just websites”.
 
This book tells the greatest business story of our time. When Jobs took over Apple for the second time in 1997, the company was seven weeks from bankruptcy, and he made it the most valuable company on earth. He not only produced transforming products but also “a lasting company, endowed with his DNA and filled with creative designers and daredevil engineers who could carry forward his vision”.
 
The genesis of this book, Isaacson has noted, came seven years ago: “In the early summer of 2004, I got a phone call from him. He had been scattershot friendly to me over the years, with occasional bursts of intensity, especially when he was launching a new product that he wanted on the cover of Time or featured on CNN, places where I’d worked.… It turned out that he wanted me to write a biography of him. I had recently published one on Benjamin Franklin and was writing one about Albert Einstein, and my initial reaction was to wonder, half-jokingly, whether he saw himself as the natural successor in that sequence. Because I assumed that he was still in the middle of an oscillating career that had many more ups and downs left, I demurred. Not now, I said. Maybe in a decade or two, when you retire”.
 
“But I later realized that he had called me just before he was going to be operated on for cancer for the first time. As I watched him battle that disease, with an awesome intensity combined with an astonishing emotional romanticism, I came to find him deeply compelling, and I realized how deeply his personality was ingrained in the products he created. His passions, perfectionism, demons, desires, artistry, devilry, and obsession for control were integrally connected to his approach to business, so I decided to try to write his tale as a case study of creativity” (Time magazine).
 
Isaacson adds, “As it turned out, Jobs was right. He is a fitting successor to Franklin and Einstein. Each of them had an intuitive genius, a creative imagination, an ability to think differently, and the type of magical mind that it takes to be an innovator. They weren’t merely smart, they were imaginative and creative. That’s what it will take to succeed in the 21st century.”
 
Although Jobs co-operated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits and encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. Isaacson captures his passions, perfectionism, demons, desires, artistry, devilry, and obsession to tell the most compelling story of the greatest business executive of our time.

 


Read an excerpt from Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography


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