Steve Jobs Bio Gets Praise From Tim Cook, Apple Execs - InformationWeek

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3/23/2015
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Steve Jobs Bio Gets Praise From Tim Cook, Apple Execs

The latest bio about the life and times of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is drawing praise from Tim Cook and others at Apple, even though the company did not cooperate with the authors.

Steve Jobs: 5 Things We Miss Most
Steve Jobs: 5 Things We Miss Most
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The latest biography of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is drawing praise from top company executives in advance of its publication, while excerpts published online attempt to show one of tech's most enigmatic personalities in a new light.

In the book Becoming Steve Jobs, an unauthorized biography by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, the executive editor at Fast Company, current Apple CEO Tim Cook says the previous tome, written by Walter Issacson (after being hand-picked by Jobs), did a "tremendous disservice" to Jobs, contending it described a person, "I would never have wanted to work with over all this time."

The image of Jobs, often painted as hard-driving, megalomaniacal, and selfish, gets a refresh with the book, which includes an episode where Jobs, in need of a liver transplant, flat-out reuses Cook's offer to donate part of his own.

"Somebody that's selfish doesn't reply like that," Cook recalls in the book, noting it was one of just four or five times in 13 years of working together that Jobs had ever yelled at him.

(Image: Amazon)

(Image: Amazon)

Issacson's Steve Jobs was a publishing success. The book sold more than 3 million copies in the US alone and was Amazon’s best-selling book of 2011. However, other high-ranking Apple executives, including Jony Ive, the company's design lead, were highly critical of its portrayal of the man.

In an interview published in The New Yorker in February, Ive said his regard for the book "couldn't be lower," although he admitted that he had read only parts of the biography.

Adding to the cavalcade of positive voices, Eddy Cue, Apple's chief of software and Internet services, tweeted last week that the book was the first to "get it right."

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told The New York Times that although the company initially declined to cooperate on the book, Brent Schlender's long relationship with Jobs would give him a unique perspective, noting the book "captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen."

[Read more about the new Steve Jobs bio.]

Ahead of the latest book's release, which hits the market this Tuesday, March 24, carrying the subtitle The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader, interested readers can download and read the 13th chapter, documenting the run-up to his Stanford commencement speech, from iBooks.

Advanced praise for the book, which can be found on publisher Random House's website, singles out the biography for its "insightful" and "honest" portrayal of Jobs, with Ed Catmull, president of Disney Animation and Pixar, praising the book for capturing the "growth and complexity of a truly extraordinary person."

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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
3/31/2015 | 1:30:38 PM
Re: Interesting spin
If you're not interesting point it is all about everyone's spend . We've all had the experience where we met someone in the group and some of the members really like the person and some of them didn't . It's human nature our personal experiences and perceptions are own . While they can be influenced they are not usually changed . Biographies tend to be a collaboration of a group of people's perceptions about an individual while interesting they may not of been your perceptions if you met that person .
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2015 | 3:18:04 PM
Interesting spin
I'm interested to see how they chronicle his creativity and skill in getting the right product to the right people at the right time.With a title like that it need to give some pretty solid work on how the ideas came forth from the eureka moment to production. I like the idea of this spin on his life and wonder what actual reviewers think of the book, ones that weren't working for Apple.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2015 | 1:34:14 PM
Biography variability

I don't think any biography will be universally loved, after all everyone is perceived differently by their peers, friends, family and even their adversaries. The only accurate biography of Mr. Jobs is the one that every person that knew him can recount as their personal experience. Understanding what makes someone a creative genius is difficult and cannot be replicated. The circumstances that led him down that path were a unique mix of who he was and how he interpreted life. Books will have a hard time chronicling that....

vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2015 | 12:31:15 PM
Re: There's always two sides to every story
@whoopty - I don't disagree with you about the pitchman part, but marketing is everything.  You can have invented the best product in the world and it won't amount to a hill of beans unless you get it in the right hands with the right message.  Few people have that kind of ability on such a massive scale - impressive.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2015 | 11:57:06 AM
Re: There's always two sides to every story
Praise from Apple's PR minders is a warning this is more hagiography than biography.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2015 | 8:15:40 AM
Re: There's always two sides to every story
While I doubt Steve Jobs is the demon that some paint him to be, he's also a far call from the product genuis that Apple fans hold him up to be. He was a pitch man rather than an innovator, especially in later years and he made a lot of morally ambiguous choices in his personal life that shouldn't be glossed over just because he turned down a liver. He also turned down traditional healthcare, believing his diet could fix the cancer. 

That doesn't make him good, selfless or anything else but, unfortunately wrong. 
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2015 | 7:54:50 PM
There's always two sides to every story
Much of what is written about Steve Jobs paints him to be a self-important, maniacal, ruthless tyrant with little to no regard for rules, authority, or other people.  

While all of these things hold true to some degree, there is another side to him and another story to be told.  I'm hoping to hear that side of the story with the release of this book - from what I understand, it attemps to humanize him a little bit and I'm really curious to see if they succeeded.

A person this influential and this successful can't be all bad, can they?  (tongue in cheek)
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