The Cult of Steve: Why Apple insiders are so worked up over two Steve Jobs biographies

“Someday, someone will write the definitive book about how Steve Jobs led Apple out of the wilderness, saving a near-dead company that ultimately became one of the world’s most valuable and beloved enterprises. It will combine a genuine understanding of technology with a full, nuanced, and unblinkered view of Jobs, the company, and its products, all placed in the context of our emerging digital age,” Dan Gillmor writes for Slate. “Becoming Steve Jobs, the new book by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, isn’t it.”

“But neither was the earlier book that key Apple insiders hope the new one will submerge in the public’s mind. That of course, is Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s best-selling tome released soon after Jobs’ death in 2011,” Gillmor writes. “ccording to several accounts, some of Jobs’ colleagues—at least those who maintained strong relationships with their tempestuous leader—have been among the most eager sources for and promoters of Schlender and Tetzeli’s book, a goal of which is to show Jobs’ full “Shakespearean” complexity—genius, leader, learner, martinet, family man—but with a very positive spin. (I recommend both books if you have a passionate interest in the topic because you’ll learn new things.)”

“The Steve Jobs book I want to read would certainly recognize and celebrate his accomplishments, which were truly astonishing, and the ways he was a genuinely great man,” Gillmor writes. “But it would place them, and his life, in the larger context of how he operated, and how his company continues to operate. The threads of this story are not separate. They are intertwined.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote earlier today:

It will take an entire shelf of books to get as clear a picture as possible of this amazing and complex historical figure.

And, again, beyond the fact that even we (who have more than a passing interest in the subject) struggled to get through Isaacson’s boring textbook:

Our issue with Isaacson was fortified after he began trotting himself out on business TV as some sort of self-styled expert on what Apple should do and, even worse, what Steve Jobs would have done were he still alive.

Related articles:
Apple execs, including Tim Cook, praise new Steve Jobs biography, and criticize an old one – March 23, 2015
Disney CEO Bob Iger kept Steve Jobs’s cancer a secret for three years – March 20, 2015
The evolution of Steve Jobs: It’s time to revisit — and correct — the myth – March 20, 2015
Apple CEO Cook blasts Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’ bio as a ‘just a rehash; a tremendous disservice’ – March 17, 2015
Steve Jobs: ‘I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again’ – March 13, 2015
Tim Cook reportedly offered Steve Jobs his liver, but Jobs refused – March 12, 2015
Gruber: ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ is a remarkable new book – March 3, 2015


  1. Slate.

    To me, their writers have always seemed to come off as a little too glib, too knowing. “Neither book tells the full story.” Slate will let us know when that happens, never fear. What they say has to be true, right? I’ll tell you what. If this new book outsells Isaacson’s, I bet Slate comes up with a completely different analysis. These critics slide around just like snake-oil men.

    1. ANY article that has as part of its central thesis “Neither book tells the full story” is automatically nonsense. How could ANY one book of any length tell the full story?

  2. Reminds me of the four gospels — even eye-witnesses of the same guy you spent years working/eating/sleeping with have different takes.

    I would have thought that living in this digital age our memories of a life would become indisputably crystal clear, but that apparently is not so.

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