Steve Jobs’ top lieutenants at Apple are speaking out to help reshape his image after an earlier authorised biography by Walter Isaacson did a “tremendous disservice” to the Apple chief according to present Apple chief executive, Tim Cook.
Cook is quoted in a new unauthorised biography 'Becoming Steve Jobs' released Monday, written by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, and excerpted in the April issue of Fast Company.
The authorised biography 'Steve Jobs' by Walter Isaacson, was published shortly after Jobs’s death in 2011.
“It didn’t capture the person,” Cook said. “The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time.
Apple design chief, Jony Ive, added his criticism of the Isaacson biography last month in a New Yorker profile. “My regard couldn’t be any lower” for the book, saying he had read only parts of it.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s chief of software and Internet services, endorsed the new book on. Jobs on Twitter last week: “Best portrayal is about to be released — Becoming Steve Jobs (book). Well done and first to get it right.”
Apple’s iBooks account also tweeted last week that “ ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ is the only book about Steve recommended by the people who knew him best.”
The New York Times said yesterday the book-on-book criticism was “a rare public cavalcade from Apple executives, who under Jobs kept quiet about the company’s activities.
“It shows the lengths that Apple is going to in its effort reshape the posthumous image of Jobs as a kinder spirit, rather than a one-dimensional mercurial and brash chief. To that end, Apple gave the authors of “Becoming Steve Jobs” interviews with four executives, including Cook. In another sign of the company’s implicit approval of the biography, the writers will discuss the book and field questions about it on Thursday at the Apple store in New York.
Schlender covered Jobs for almost 25 years. He said he wanted to write the book because he felt there was a side of his personality never captured by journalists.
“After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew,” Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, said. “We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.”
In an interview, Isaacson, chief executive of the Aspen Institute and a former managing editor of Time, said he had tried to take a balanced view that did not sugarcoat the Apple co-founder’s flaws.
He interviewed Jobs more than 40 times and spoke to more than 100 of his friends, relatives, rivals and colleagues, including Cook and Ive.
Isaacson wrote that Jobs, who had handpicked him as biographer, didn’t try to exert any control over the book, except for weighing in on the cover. The biography sold more than three million copies in the United States alone.
“My book is very favorable and honest, with no anonymous slings,” Isaacson said, adding that he was criticized at times for being too soft on his subject.
“Jobs was a mastermind at controlling the narrative on Apple, and one of the ways he did that was to make sure that he was the sole spokesperson and that officially, at least, the company.
As the Drum reported earlier, in the new book, Cook told a story of what happened after he learned that . Jobs needed a liver transplant in 2009. When Cook discovered that he and Jobs shared the same rare blood type, Cook offered a part of his liver
.“I really wanted him to do it,” he said in the book. “He cut me off at the legs, almost before the words were out of my mouth. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I’ll never let you do that. I’ll never do that!’ ”
“Somebody that’s selfish,” Cook continued, “doesn’t reply like that.”
The publisher of “Becoming Steve Jobs,” the Crown Publishing Group, is promoting the book as the first account to get the story right, calling it “the definitive history.” Crown has increased the print run to 85,000 copies from a planned first printing of 40,000.