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Steve Jobs (book)
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
AuthorWalter Isaacson
Original titleiSteve: The Book of Jobs.
Cover artistAlbert Watson
CountryUnited States
PublisherSimon & Schuster (U.S.)
Publication date
October 24, 2011
Media typeE-book, Print (Hardback and Paperback), and Audiobook
Pages656 pp.

Steve Jobs is the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. The biography was written at the request of Jobs by Walter Isaacson, a former executive at CNN and Time who has written best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.[1][2]

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—in addition to interviews with more than one hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Isaacson was given "unprecedented" access to Jobs's life.[3] Jobs is said to have encouraged the people interviewed to speak honestly. Although Jobs cooperated with the book, he asked for no control over its content other than the book's cover, and waived the right to read it before it was published.[4]

The book was released on October 24, 2011 by Simon & Schuster in the United States.[5]



The book's cover photograph is similar to one taken previously by Norman Seeff and featured on Rolling Stone.[6]

Front cover

The front cover uses a photographic portrait of Jobs commissioned by Fortune magazine in 2006 for a portfolio of powerful people. The photograph was taken by Albert Watson.

When the photograph was taken, he said he insisted on having a three hour period to set up his equipment, adding that he wanted to make "[every shoot] as greased lightning fast as possible for the [subject]." When Jobs arrived he didn't immediately look at Watson, but instead at the equipment, focusing on Watson's 4×5 camera before saying "Wow, you're shooting film."[7]

If you look at that shot, you can see the intensity. It was my intention that by looking at him, that you knew this guy was smart. I heard later that it was his favorite photograph of all time.

Albert Watson[7]

Jobs gave Watson an hour longer than he had given most photographers for a portrait session. Watson reportedly instructed Jobs to make "95 percent, almost 100 percent of eye contact with the camera," and to "think about the next project you have on the table," in addition to thinking about instances when people have challenged him.[7]

The title font is Helvetica.[8]

Back cover

The back cover uses another photographic portrait of Jobs taken in his living room in Woodside, California in February 1984 by Norman Seeff. In a Behind the Cover article published by Time magazine, Seeff recalls him and Jobs "just sitting" on his living room floor, talking about "creativity and everyday stuff," when Jobs left the room and returned with a Macintosh 128K (the original Macintosh computer). Jobs "[plopped] down" in the lotus positionholding the computer in his lap when Seeff took the photograph.[9]

We did do a few more shots later on, and he even did a few yoga poses—he lifted his leg and put it over his shoulder—and I just thought we were two guys hanging out, chatting away, and enjoying the relationship. It wasn't like there was a conceptualization here—this was completely off the cuff, spontaneity that we never thought would become an iconic image.

Norman Seeff[9]

The placeholder cover used for the book uses the working title, iSteve: The Book of Jobs.


The book's working title, iSteve: The Book of Jobs, was chosen by publisher Simon & Schuster's publicity department. Although author Walter Isaacson was "never quite sure about it", his wife and daughter reportedly were. However, they thought it was "too cutesy" and so Isaacson persuaded the publisher to change the title to something "simpler and more elegant."[10]

The title Steve Jobs was allegedly chosen to reflect Jobs' "minimalist" style and to emphasise the biography's authenticity, further differentiating it from unauthorized publications, such as iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business by Jeffrey Young.[11]

Film adaptation

Proposals for the book to be adapted into a feature-length biographical film were announced a few days after Jobs's death.[12] Sony Pictures acquired the rights to the book from author Walter Isaacson. The film is being adapted by Aaron Sorkin and will be based on his own research in addition to or rather than the biography.[13]

In November 2012, Sorkin had stated that the film won't follow the traditional "cradle-to-grave" structure, but instead feature a unique structure consisting of three 30-minute scenes taking place in real time, all of which are "set right before three major product launches."[14] The film's events will take place backstage at press conferences for The Macintosh (in 1984), NeXT (in 1990), and the iPod (in 2001).[15]

On January 12, 2014, it was confirmed that Sorkin had finished writing the script.[16] On February 26, 2014, David Fincher, who previously collaborated with Sorkin on The Social Network, entered negotiations to direct the biopic.[17] On March 21, 2014, Fincher stated he will only direct the film if Christian Bale stars in the leading role.[18]

Other media

Extracts from the biography have been the feature of various magazines, in addition to interviews with the author, Walter Isaacson.[19]

To commemorate Jobs's life after his death on October 5, 2011, Time published a commemorative issue for Jobs on October 8, 2011. The issue's cover featured a portrait of Jobs, taken by Norman Seeff, in which he is sitting in the lotus position holding the original Macintosh computer, which was published in Rolling Stone in January 1984 and is featured on the back cover of Steve Jobs. The issue marked the eighth time Jobs has been featured on the cover of Time.[20]The issue included a photographic essay by Diana Walker, a retrospective on Apple by Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman, and a six-page essay by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson's essay served as a preview of Steve Jobs and described Jobs pitching the book to him.[21]

Bloomberg Businessweek also released a commemorative issue of its magazine commemorating the life of Jobs. The cover of the magazine features Apple-like simplicity, with a black-and-white, up close photo of Jobs and his years of birth and death. In tribute to Jobs's minimalist style, the issue was published without advertisements. It featured extensive essays by Steve Jurvetson, John Sculley, Sean Wisely, William Gibson, and Walter Isaacson. Isaacson's essay served as a preview of Steve Jobs.

Fortune featured an exclusive extract of the biography on October 24, 2011. The excerpt focused on the "friend-enemy" relationship that Jobs had with Bill Gates.[22]

Awards and honors


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