India, Obama, Turf Wars: Bits from the Biography of Steve Jobs

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By Staff /  24 Oct 2011 , 14:33

After more than a 100 interviews of Steve Jobs and the people that made up his life, Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late co-founder of Apple went on sale today. We bring to you a few nuggets from the book, simply titled, “Steve Jobs”.

Isaacson, chosen by Jobs as his biographer in 2003 after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was a former editor of Time Magazine and has written books about Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.

Among other things, Isaacson says Jobs – who grew up in northern California, a place that was “still learning to turn silicon into gold” – was a hippy, rebel kid, loved acid, loved electronics.

In an interview to CBS’s 60 minutes just before his book hit the stands, Isaacson shared details about his subject – Steve Jobs – and his observations and stories of him.

Steve Jobs, succumbed to pancreatic cancer on 5 October at the age of 56.

From the slew of leaks, interviews, and previews here are our picks:

The Man

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs could be mean, abrasive and cuttingly dismissive of co-workers in his quest for perfectionism, according to his biographer.

In an interview on CBS’s ’60 minutes’, Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer said that Jobs “was not warm and fuzzy” and that he in fact “was very petulant. He was very brittle. He could be very, very mean to people at times.”

Jobs as Manager

Isaacson told CBS that Jobs may have come up with the Macintosh computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad during his brilliant career but he “was not the world’s greatest manager”.

“In fact, he could have been one of the world’s worst managers, you know? He was always, you know, upending things. And, you know, throwing things into turmoil. This made great products, but it didn’t make for a great management style,” Isaacson said in the interview.

Isaacson told ’60 Minutes’ that much of Jobs’ attitude could be traced to the earliest years of his life, and to the fact that Jobs was born out of wedlock, given up by his birth parents and adopted by a working class couple from California.

Jobs said he realized he was not “just abandoned. I was chosen. I was special.”

The biography of "Steve Jobs" went on sale today. AFP

The Perfectionist

In his quest for perfection, Steve Jobs was inconsiderate towards human emotions, says his biographer.

Whether it was to a waitress in a restaurant, or to a guy who had stayed up all night coding, he could just really just go at them and say, “You’re doing this all wrong. It’s horrible.”

Isaacson said, if you’d say, “Why did you do that? Why weren’t you nicer?”

Jobs would say, “I really wanna be with people who demand perfection. And this is who I am.”

Issacson said Jobs’ quest for perfection came in part from his adopted father, Paul Jobs.

“Once they were building a fence. And he said, ‘You got to make the back of the fence that nobody will see just as good looking as the front of the fence,'” Paul Jobs is said to have told his son according to Issacson. “That will show that you’re dedicated to making something perfect.'”

On Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg

Steve Jobs, had high regards for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and admired his Silicon valley counterpart for “not selling out.”

“I admire Mark Zuckerberg,” Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. “We talk about social networks in the plural, but I don’t see anybody other than Facebook out there…Just Facebook, they’re dominating this.”

“I only know him a little bit, but I admire him for not selling out, for wanting to make a company. I admire that, a lot,” Jobs said of Facebook’s chief executive officer.

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