I just finished Walter Isaacson’s bio of Steve Jobs. I would say it is informative but not insightful. For tech junkies, especially of the Apple genre, the book has detailed information about the history of Apple and especially how product and business decisions were made. This history is presented in a clear and factual manor. Steve Jobs controlled the flow of information out of Apple with a tight grip, until he could no longer close his hand. Isaacson was able to get this history from Jobs in a comprehensive way and from those at Apple that Jobs allowed to speak with Isaacson (I am sure they all checked in with Steve). Jobs wanted to control how history would see him. That is why he sought out Isaacson to do his bio. Jobs said he was doing this for his children, so that they could know him better. I don’t think this was sincere . Of course, he knew that the bio would have to deal his dark side and the awful way he had treated people including members of his own family. He knew that he could work with Isaacson in such away that the sting of his behavior could be minimized and that his accomplishments would dominate the book. Isaacson was afraid to fall into the Jobs reality distortion field and fought hard with himself to maintain his objectivity. But in the process, I think he may have lost the essence of what made Steve Jobs be Steve Jobs. Isaacson might of gotten close in discussing how Jobs felt both abandoned by his biological parents and at the same time felt special because he was chosen by his adoptive parents. But I don’t think this was really what drove Steve Jobs. I think this was just something he fed to Isaacson and was an example of Jobs manipulation. It had a profound effect on the book with Isaacson coming back to this theme time and time again. Jobs may not have known what made him the person that he was but if he did he would surely not have shared it.
Steve Jobs was a remarkable man with great gifts. He was driven by his product visions. He wanted to leave a mark on the world and he did. Apple and Steve Jobs were the same in his mind. The more he realized that he would die the more he wanted to make sure Apple would live. As he was dying he put much, if not almost all, of his energy in to making sure that Apple would not only survive but dominate. Because Apple was Steve Jobs. He probably saw his wife and children much as he saw his own dying body – as something that had to be left behind.