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Writer hails ‘genius’ Steve Jobs October 25, 2011


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Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson, talks about Jobs’ battle with cancer

The genius of Apple founder Steve Jobs lay in his ability to connect poetry to technology, Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson has said.

Isaacson’s book Steve Jobs, released on Monday, is based on over 40 interviews, some of which took place in the Apple co-founder’s living room.

Speaking to ABC News, Mr Isaacson said Jobs intended to wait six months after publication before reading the book.

Instead he died on 5 October, aged 56, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The volume is the only authorised biography of the man who transformed the Silicon Valley and built one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Temper and fury

Isaacson said he warned Jobs there would be things he would not like in the book. But the only input the Apple boss asked for was to choose his biography’s cover.

“He hated the cover that they originally put on it,” Isaacson told ABC.

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Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at time magical. He was, indeed, an example of what the mathematician Mark Kae called a magician genius, someone whose insights come out of the blue and require intuition more than mere mental processing power. Like a pathfinder, he could absorb information, sniff the wind, and sense what lay ahead.

Steve Jobs thus became the the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.

Extracted from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

“And so I heard his temper, that fury he sometimes has, and he said: ‘I’ll only work with you if you let me have some input in the cover.'”

Steve Jobs commissioned Walter Isaacson to write his biography in 2004, before Isaacson knew about Jobs’ struggle with cancer.

“I thought: he’s young, has got a long career ahead of him. Then when he was sick I decided this is the most innovative guy, the guy who is connecting poetry to technology and it would be a great thing to do,” the writer said.

Isaacson said that Jobs “wanted the truth out”, but also wanted the biography to be a way for his children to know him better.

“No other great leader has ever opened up this way,” he said.

Intense emotions

In his 627-page book Isaacson chronicles Steve Jobs’ life from his childhood, through the creation and establishment of Apple, the battles with Microsoft and his great rival Bill Gates, his departure from and return to the company he founded, and its continuing long boom since the start of the 21st Century.

While much of the story is familiar, especially to Apple fans and followers, Isaacson unique access offered him the chance to paint a full picture of Steve Jobs’ life.

Over the course of dozens of interviews, Isaacson interviewed Jobs at home, in his childhood neighbourhood and at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

“His genius was the ability to connect poetry to technology. That art and technology thing. I mean Bill Gates has astonishing mental processing power. But he didn’t have that sort of feel for design and art,” he told ABC News on Monday.

That way of thinking permeated Jobs’ search for treatment when he was diagnosed with cancer.

“Once he decided to get the surgery, he said: ‘I should have gotten it earlier.’

“I mean it took him a few months before he decided to get the surgery. He was just searching, he was always on the search including when it came to his cancer,” the author said.

‘Greatest CEO ever’

Last week, a private memorial service was held at the Apple headquarters for company staff, celebrating the life of Steve Jobs.

Apple designer Jonathan Ive worked closely with Steve Jobs on many products

A video of the 90-minute memorial service was posted on Apple’s website late on Sunday evening, viewable using Apple’s Safari web browser on Mac computers.

Speakers included chief executive Tim Cook, board member and former US Vice President Al Gore, and Jonathan Ive, the British designer responsible for many of Apple’s iconic products.

Mr Cook described his friend as “the greatest CEO ever”.

Mr Ive described Steve Jobs as his closest and most loyal friend. In pre-released extracts from Isaacson’s biography, Jobs called Jonathan Ive his “spiritual partner”.

The memorial service was also attended by his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs.

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Jobs vowed to ‘destroy’ Android October 22, 2011

The relationship between Steve Jobs and Google chairman Eric Schmidt soured over Android

Steve Jobs said he wanted to destroy Android and would spend all of Apple’s money and his dying breath if that is what it took to do so.

The full extent of his animosity towards Google’s mobile operating system is revealed in a forthcoming authorised biography.

Mr Jobs told author Walter Isaacson that he viewed Android’s similarity to iOS as “grand theft”.

Apple is suing several smartphone makers which use the Android software.

According to extracts of Mr Isaacson’s book, obtained by the Associated Press, Mr Jobs said: “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

He is also quoted as saying: “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion [£25bn] in the bank, to right this wrong.”

Sour times

Apple enjoyed a close relationship with Google prior to the launch of the Android system. Google products, including maps and search formed a key part of the iPhone’s ecosystem.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

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Steve Jobs
Apple co-founder

At that time, Google’s chief executive, now chairman, Eric Schmidt also sat on the board of Apple.

However, relations began to sour when Google unveiled Android in November 2007, 10 months after the iPhone first appeared.

In subsequent years, Apple rejected a number of Google programs from its App store, forcing the company to create less-integrated web app versions.

Android has subsequently enjoyed rapid adoption and now accounts for around 48% of global smartphone shipments, compared to 19% for Apple.

But its growth has not gone uncontested. Apple has waged an aggressive proxy-war against Android, suing a number of the hardware manufacturers which have adopted it for their tablets and smartphones.

Motorola was one of the first to be targeted, although it is Samsung that has borne the brunt of Mr Jobs’ ire.

The South Korean firm is currently banned from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and Germany because of a combination of patent infringements and “look and feel” similarities. A smartphone ban is also pending in the Netherlands.

Samsung is counter-suing Apple for infringing, it claims, several wireless technology patents which it holds the rights to.

Defence mechanism

Patents blogger Florian Mueller, who has been following the court cases closely, said Apple would be conscious of its past, where other companies exploited some of its early ideas.

“If Apple doesn’t want the iPhone and iPad to be marginalised the way it happened to the Macintosh at the hands of the Wintel duopoly, it has to use the full force of its intellectual property to fend off the commoditization threat that Android represents,” he told BBC News.

Mr Mueller – who has previously undertaken consulting work commissioned by Microsoft – was also critical of Eric Schmidt’s dual role at the time: “The fact that Eric Schmidt stayed on Apple’s board while he was preparing an iOS clone was an inexcusable betrayal of Steve Jobs’ trust.”

Mr Schmidt resigned from the Apple board in August 2009. He was later quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “I was on the board until I couldn’t stay on the board anymore.”

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Steve Jobs regretted delaying cancer surgery, biographer tells CBS October 21, 2011

Steve Jobs regretted his decision to delay having potentially life-saving surgery for his pancreatic cancer, his biographer has revealed.

After being diagnosed with the cancer in 2004, Jobs embarked on a series of alternative therapies including spiritual healing, said Walter Isaacson, author of the upcoming biography Steve Jobs.

Despite pleas from his family to have surgery, Jobs initially refused, Isaacson said, in an interview for CBS News 60 Minutes to be broadcast on Sunday.

The co-founder of Apple, who died this month after a long battle with the disease, had been told he had a very slow growing type of pancreatic cancer, and that his was one of the 5% “that can actually be cured”.

Isaacson said that Jobs, after his diagnosis, “tries to treat it with diet, he goes to spiritualists, he goes through various ways of doing it macrobiotically – and he doesn’t get an operation.”

Asked why not, Isaacson told CBS: “I’ve asked him that and he said: ‘I didn’t want my body to be opened, I didn’t want to be violated in that way.’ He’s regretful about it.”

Interviewer Steve Kroft asked why “such a smart man could do such as stupid thing”. Isaacson said: “I think he kind of felt: if you ignore something you don’t want to exist, you can have magical thinking. It had worked for him in the past. He’d regret it.”

His wife, Laurene, and others around Jobs convinced him to “quit trying to treat it with all these roots and vegetables and things” and have the surgery nine months later.

But when he finally had the operation it may have been too late, said Isaacson, as the cancer had already spread to the tissues surrounding the pancreas.

After the surgery, Jobs told his employers but played down the seriousness of his condition.

A piece on CBS News website said the interview covers “several of the best stories from the biography, including the fact that Jobs had actually met the man who turned out to be his biological father before he knew who he was.”

They also talk about Jobs’ disdain for excess consumerism. In a taped conversation, he tells Isaacson how he saw Apple staffers turn into “bizarro people” by the riches the Apple stock offering created, it said.

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Steve Jobs refused cancer treatment for too long, says biographer

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs refused potentially life-saving cancer surgery for nine months, shrugging off his family’s protests and opting instead for alternative medicine, according to his biographer.

When Jobs eventually sought surgery, the rare form of pancreatic cancer had spread to the tissues surrounding the organ, his biographer, Walter Isaacson, said in an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS, to be aired on Sunday.

Jobs also played down the seriousness of his condition and told everyone he was cured but kept receiving treatment in secret, Isaacson said in the interview.

The biography hits bookstores on 24 October and emerged from scores of interviews with Jobs. It is expected to paint an unprecedented, no-holds-barred portrait of a man who fiercely guarded his privacy, but whose death ignited a global outpouring of grief and tribute.

The book reveals Jobs was bullied in school, tried various quirky diets as a teenager, and exhibited early strange behaviour such as staring at others without blinking, according to reports.

In his 60 Minutes interview, Isaacson confirmed details that had been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his “slow-growing” cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.

Jobs deeply regretted putting off a decision that might have ultimately saved his life, according to Isaacson.

“He tries to treat it with diet. He goes to spiritualists. He goes to various ways of doing it macrobiotically and he doesn’t get an operation,” Isaacson said in the interview.

“I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking,” he said. “We talked about this a lot.”

Jobs announced in August 2004 that he had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his pancreas. In 2008 and 2009 – as his weight loss caused concern in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street – he said first he was fighting a “common bug”, then that he was suffering from a hormone imbalance. In 2009, news emerged that he had undergone a liver transplant.

Jobs died on 5 October at the age of 56. Outpourings of sympathy swept across the globe as state leaders, business rivals and fans paid their respects to the man who touched the daily lives of countless millions through the Macintosh computer, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

He had never revealed much about his life or thinking – until he commissioned Isaacson for a biography he hoped would let his children know him better.

Adopted as a baby by a family in Silicon Valley, Jobs met his biological father – Abdulfattah “John” Jandali – several times in the 1980s without realising who he was, according to Isaacson.

Jandali had been running a restaurant in the area at the time. But Jobs never got in touch with Jandali once he found out the restaurateur was his biological father, according to an excerpt from the TV interview posted on CBS’ website.

Jobs also revealed he stopped going to church at age 13 after he saw starving children on the cover of Life Magazine.

He spent years studying Zen Buddhism and has famously travelled through India in search of spiritual guidance.

He talked in his biography about his love for design and called Apple’s design chief Jonathan Ive his “spiritual partner”; Ive had “more operation power” at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself, according to the Associated Press.

Jobs, who counted The Beatles among his favourites, came up with the name of his iconic company while on one of his “fruitarian diets”. He had just returned from an apple farm and thought the moniker was “fun, spirited and not intimidating,”.

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Steve Jobs biography to be released on 24 October October 7, 2011

The official Steve Jobs biography will be released on 24 October after being rushed forward because of the Apple co-founder’s death.

  1. Steve Jobs

  2. by

    Walter Isaacson

  3. Buy it from the Guardian bookshop

The authorised biography Steve Jobs is written by Walter Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time magazine. Customer pre-purchases have already made it the number one bestseller at Amazon. Publishing house Simon Schuster had originally planned to release it on 21 November.

Isaacson has told how Jobs, in pain and too weak to climb stairs a few weeks before his death, wanted his children to understand why he wasn’t always there for them. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying in their final interview at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California. “I wasn’t always there for them and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

Isaacson said he visited Jobs for the last time a few weeks ago and found him curled up in some pain in a downstairs bedroom. Jobs had moved there because he was too weak to go up and down stairs “but his mind was still sharp and his humour vibrant”, Isaacson writes in an essay that will be published in Time magazine’s 17 October edition.

Jobs died on Wednesday at the age of 56 after suffering a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

Simon Schuster’s synopsis says the book is based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years – as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues. “Although Jobs co-operated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against.

“Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership and values.”

Another publisher, Bluewater Productions, has said it is rushing out a special edition e-book of its forthcoming comic book on Jobs.

The 32-page comic titled Steve Jobs: Founder of Apple is initially being sold on the NOOK and Kindle readers. The print edition is due for release at the end of October, with a portion of the profits from both issues going to the American Cancer Society.

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