The Much-Awaited Biography

Steve Jobs’ memoir and biography release date was originally set for November 21. His death created unexpected demand and as a result of that, the book’s release date was moved up to October 24. Already, Walter Isaacson’s tome about the life of the most prolific and innovative technology guru is on several best-seller lists.

Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ biographer, is a Pulitzer Prize nominee with such biographies under his belt as Einstein: His Life and Universe, and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Isaacson is also very active in social programs, such as Teach for America, of which he is Chairman of the Board, and Louisiana Recovery Authority, of which he is vice chairman. He was a good choice to write Steve Jobs’ memoir. His voice is dignified, yet elegant, just as Jobs’ products were.

Since 2009, Isaacson has been working with Jobs to tell his story, meeting with the man who helped created some of the sleekest and most user-friendly products in the world. What’s interesting about this is that Jobs was an intensely private man, who didn’t even allow his illness to become public until years after he was diagnosed. So, why did he agree to partner with Isaacson to tell his story?

“I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

It sounds like Jobs’ last days were spent with a tinge of regret that he didn’t spend more time with his children. Like many public figures, there are always two sides to every coin: the known and the unknown. What the public knows about him is that he was the world’s foremost technological wizard. He was supremely passionate about his work, whether it was at Apple, NeXt, or Pixar. He revolutionized computers, and nearly single-handedly helped the desktop evolve into handheld devices like the iPhone and iPad.

But no one really knows anything about Steve Jobs the man, and 1999’s movie Pirates of Silicon Valley wasn’t an overly accurate picture of him. And his four children, who range in age from 33 to 13 haven’t had nearly enough time with their father to fully understand what he did. Two of his children, Erin and Eve, are just teenagers, and his oldest, Lisa, was the result of a relationship with an old high school girlfriend whom he never married. Lisa, now an author in her own right, grew up mainly with only her mom in rented apartments and homes. Only when she was a teenager when she spent a few years in her father’s home, did she experience the wealth and opulence of Jobs’ life.

While some people are flinging insults at the man for being arrogant, stubborn, and driven to succeed at the expense of his family, one thing remains true. He was human, and as a human, he was flawed. No one said he had to be perfect. His biography will most assuredly answer some questions, and no doubt his children have already read (or will soon read) what Isaacson has compiled. The man knew he was dying. He understood he had a limited amount of time left. And even so, he made use of every minute he had left.

Reno Berkeley