Becoming Steve Jobs

New Book on Deceased Apple CEO

You might think you’ve heard all you want to hear about Steve Jobs, but the latest book on his life differs markedly from the official biography created by Walter Isaacson. It portrays a restlessness in Mr. Jobs as an essential component in his development of new visionary products such as the iPhone and iPad. This restlessness, similar to that found in great artists such as Bob Dylan, spurs them forward and keeps them hungry when others might rest on their laurels or cut corners.

Amid its biographical details, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli focus on the time Jobs spent in the wilderness; that is, how he grew after he was kicked out of the company he founded. They reject the portrait of Jobs as a cross between a jerk and a genius, the typical way he has been portrayed, and they show how Jobs became a management genius thanks to his stewardship of creative individuals at Pixar.

The ability of Jobs to rescue Apple from oblivion represented a minor miracle, and one he was totally incapable of achieving when he originally left the company. Of course, the genius side of Jobs goes without saying and represents a point of agreement between Isaacson’s official biography of Jobs and this one.

The ability of Jobs to lead, to know what the public wanted even before it existed, led to the development of visionary devices such as the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. But to Jobs, his company was always about more than the sum of its products. His ability to “Think Different” was about more than a marketing slogan; it was a way of life.

Apple’s afficionados appreciate the attention to detail in all of the devices created by Jobs; but Jobs real intentions went so much deeper. It is summarized by his adage, “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”