“In 2011 Walter Isaacson published a biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs,” Lev Grossman writes for TIME Magazine. “Isaacson’s biography was fully authorized by its subject: Jobs handpicked Isaacson, who had written biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.”
“But now its account is being challenged by another book, this one called Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender, a veteran technology journalist who was friendly with Jobs, and Rick Tetzeli, executive editor at Fast Company,” Grossman writes. “Some of Jobs’ former colleagues and friends have taken sides, speaking out against the old book and praising the new one. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO and Jobs’s successor, has said that Isaacson’s book depicts Jobs as ‘a greedy, selfish egomaniac.’ Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief, has weighed in against it, and Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of software and Internet services, tweeted about the new book: ‘Well done and first to get it right.'”
“A more interesting question might be, why has the story of Steve Jobs become so important to us? And why is it such contested territory?,” Grossman writes. “It’s as if Jobs’ life has become a kind of totem, a symbolic story through which we’re trying to understand and work through our own ambivalence about the technology he and his colleagues made, which has so thoroughly invaded and transformed our lives in the past 20 years, for good and/or ill. Apple’s products are so glossy and beautiful and impenetrable that it’s difficult to do anything but admire them. But about Jobs, at least, we can think different.”
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MacDailyNews Take: It matters who Steve Jobs really was because he made a dent in the universe.
It will take an entire shelf of books to get as clear a picture as possible of this amazing and complex historical figure.