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Steve Jobs (book)

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

Steve Jobs is the authorized self-titled biography of American business magnate and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The book was written at the request of Jobs by Walter Isaacson, a former executive at CNN and Time who had previously written best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.[1][2]

Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—in addition to interviews with more than 100 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] Describing his writing, Isaacson commented that he had striven to take a balanced view of his subject that did not sugarcoat Jobs's flaws.[5]

The book was released on October 24, 2011, by Simon & Schuster in the United States, 19 days after Jobs's death.[6]

A film adaptation written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, with Michael Fassbender starring in the title role, was released on October 9, 2015.


The book's cover photograph is similar to one taken previously by Norman Seeff and featured on Rolling Stone.[7]

Front cover[edit]

The front cover uses a photo of Steve 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."[8]

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.

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.[8]

The title font is Helvetica.[9]

Back cover[edit]

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 position holding the computer in his lap when Seeff took the photograph.[10]

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.

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 as a result Isaacson persuaded the publisher to change the title to something "simpler and more elegant."[11]

The title Steve Jobs was allegedly chosen to reflect Jobs's "minimalist" style and to emphasize 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.[12]


Many of the chapters within the book have sub-headings, which are matched in various audiobook versions resulting in listings showing 150+ chapters when there are only 42 chapters. The audiobook contains a mistake on one chapter title, listing Chapter 41 as "Round Three, A Never-ending Struggle" instead of "Round Three, Twilight Struggle" as published.

Chapter number Chapter title Sub-heading number Sub-heading title Approx. audiobook mark
Introduction How this book came to be 00:00:00
Chapter 1 Childhood, Abandoned and Chosen 1.1 The Adoption 00:13:02
1.2 Silicon Valley 00:25:21
1.3 School 00:42:39
Chapter 2 Odd Couple, The Two Steves 2.1 Woz 01:05:56
2.2 The Blue Box 01:21:37
Chapter 3 The Dropout, Turn On, Tune in... 3.1 Chrisann Brennan 01:30:36
3.2 Reed College 01:35:05
3.3 Robert Friedland 01:46:22
3.4 ...Drop Out 01:54:33
Chapter 4 Atari and India, Zen and the Art of Game Design 4.1 Atari 01:59:40
4.2 India 02:06:39
4.3 The Search 02:15:38
4.4 Breakout 02:26:07
Chapter 5 The Apple I, Turn On, Boot Up, Jack In... 5.1 Machines of Loving Grace 02:33:32
5.2 The Homebrew Computer Club 02:42:29
5.3 Apple is Born 02:51:56
5.4 Garage Band 03:04:24
Chapter 6 The Apple II, Dawn of a New Age 6.1 An Integrated Package 03:13:27
6.2 Mike Markkula 03:23:38
6.3 Regis McKenna 03:34:26
6.4 The First Launch Event 03:38:11
6.5 Mike Scott 03:41:30
Chapter 7 Chrisann and Lisa, He Who Is Abandoned... 03:51:29
Chapter 8 Xerox and Lisa, Graphical User Interface 8.1 A New Baby 04:06:51
8.2 Xerox PARC 04:13:56
8.3 Great Artists Steal 04:22:35
Chapter 9 Going Public, A Man of Wealth and Fame 9.1 Options 04:32:45
9.2 Baby You're a Rich Man 04:38:28
Chapter 10 The Mac is Born, You Say You Want a Revolution 10.1 Jef Raskin's Baby 04:46:11
10.2 Texaco Towers 04:59:56
Chapter 11 The Reality Distortion Field, Playing by His Own Set of Rules 05:06:51
Chapter 12 The Design, Real Artists Simplify 12.1 A Bauhaus Aesthetic 05:26:42
12.2 Like a Porsche 05:34:31
Chapter 13 Building The Mac, The Journey Is The Reward 13.1 Competition 05:52:12
13.2 End-to-end Control 05:57:32
13.3 Machines of the Year 06:03:10
13.4 Let's Be Pirates! 06:09:32
Chapter 14 Enter Sculley, The Pepsi Challenge 14.1 The Courtship 06:26:07
14.2 The Honeymoon 06:42:37
Chapter 15 The Launch, A Dent in the Universe 15.1 Real Artists Ship 06:52:32
15.2 The "1984" Advert 06:59:25
15.3 Publicity Blast 07:08:24
15.4 January 24, 1984 07:12:51
Chapter 16 Gates And Jobs, When Orbits Intersect 16.1 The Macintosh Partnership 07:24:56
16.2 The Battle of the GUI 07:39:51
Chapter 17 Icarus, What goes up... 17.1 Flying High 07:47:33
17.2 Falling 08:03:16
17.3 Thirty Years Old 08:10:45
17.4 Exodus 08:15:37
17.5 Showdown, Spring 1985 08:26:04
17.6 Plotting a Coup 08:39:18
17.7 Seven Days in May 08:43:15
17.8 Like a Rolling Stone 08:59:15
Chapter 18 NeXT, Prometheus Unbound 18.1 The Pirates Abandon Ship 09:08:55
18.2 To Be On your Own 09:27:34
18.3 The Computer 09:42:44
18.4 Perot to the Rescue 09:50:09
18.5 Gates and NeXT 09:55:41
18.6 IBM 10:00:51
18.7 The Launch, October 1988 10:05:37
Chapter 19 Pixar, Technology Meets Art 19.1 Lucasfilm's Computer Division 10:18:42
19.2 Animation 10:29:53
19.3 Tin Toy 10:35:56
Chapter 20 A Regular Guy, Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word 20.1 Joan Baez 10:48:26
20.2 Finding Joanne and Mona 10:55:08
20.3 The Lost Father 11:03:58
20.4 Lisa 11:10:59
20.5 The Romantic 11:18:17
Chapter 21 Family Man, At Home with the Jobs Clan 21.1 Laurene Powell 11:31:43
21.2 The Wedding, March 18, 1991 11:43:48
21.3 A Family Home 11:51:16
21.4 Lisa Moves In 12:02:15
21.5 Children 12:13:07
Chapter 22 Toy Story, Buzz and Woody to the Rescue 22.1 Jeffrey Katzenberg 12:16:46
22.2 Cut! 12:25:23
22.3 To Infinity! 12:32:35
Chapter 23 The Second Coming, What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last... 23.1 Things Fall Apart 12:42:10
23.2 Apple Falling 12:47:19
23.3 Slouching toward Cupertino 12:57:10
Chapter 24 The Restoration, The Loser Now Will Be Later to Win 24.1 Hovering Backstage 13:14:44
24.2 Exit, Pursued by a Bear 13:37:57
24.3 Macworld Boston, August 1997 14:01:30
24.4 The Microsoft Pact 14:05:29
Chapter 25 Think Different, Jobs as iCEO 25.1 Here's to the Crazy Ones 14:16:28
25.2 iCEO 14:30:23
25.3 Killing the Clones 14:36:06
25.4 Product Line Review 14:40:50
Chapter 26 Design Principles, The Studio of Jobs and Ive 26.1 Jony Ive 14:49:26
26.2 Inside the Studio 15:01:45
Chapter 27 The iMac, Hello (Again) 27.1 Back to the Future 15:09:53
27.2 The Launch, May 6, 1998 15:25:06
Chapter 28 CEO, Still Crazy after All These Years 28.1 Tim Cook 15:34:11
28.2 Mock Turtlenecks and Teamwork 15:42:47
28.3 From iCEO to CEO 15:51:45
Chapter 29 Apple Stores, Genius Bars and Siena Sandstone 29.1 The Customer Experience 15:59:31
29.2 The Prototype 16:05:49
29.3 Wood, Stone, Steel, Glass 16:15:58
Chapter 30 The Digital Hub, From iTunes to the iPod 30.1 Connecting the Dots 16:24:58
30.2 FireWire 16:28:45
30.3 iTunes 16:36:07
30.4 The iPod 16:40:49
30.5 That's It! 16:48:37
30.6 The Whiteness of the Whale 16:56:47
Chapter 31 The iTunes Store, I'm the Pied Piper 31.1 Warner Music 17:06:39
31.2 Herding Cats 17:19:12
31.3 Microsoft 17:32:39
31.4 Mr. Tambourine Man 17:42:46
Chapter 32 Music Man, The Sound Track of His Life 32.1 On His iPod 17:53:26
32.2 Bob Dylan 18:05:05
32.3 The Beatles 18:13:52
32.4 Bono 18:18:31
32.5 Yo-Yo Ma 18:31:21
Chapter 33 Pixar's Friends, ...and Foes 33.1 A Bug's Life 18:32:46
33.2 Steve's Own Movie 18:44:06
33.3 The Divorce 18:50:04
Chapter 34 Twenty-First-Century Macs, Setting Apple Apart 34.1 Clams, Ice Cubes, and Sunflowers 19:20:24
34.2 Intel Inside 19:26:52
34.3 Options 19:31:27
Chapter 35 Round One, Memento Mori 35.1 Cancer 19:41:35
35.2 The Stanford Commencement 19:52:09
35.3 A Lion at Fifty 19:56:07
Chapter 36 The iPhone, Three Revolutionary Products in One 36.1 An iPod That Makes Calls 20:16:05
36.2 Multi-touch 20:21:25
36.3 Gorilla Glass 20:30:04
36.4 The Design 20:35:25
36.5 The Launch 20:38:43
Chapter 37 Round Two, The Cancer Recurs 37.1 The Battles of 2008 20:43:19
37.2 Memphis 21:01:25
37.3 Return 21:16:02
Chapter 38 The iPad, Into the Post-PC Era 38.1 You Say You Want a Revolution 21:22:39
38.2 The Launch, January 2010 21:30:43
38.3 Advertising 21:44:29
38.4 Apps 21:51:15
38.5 Publishing and Journalism 21:58:20
Chapter 39 New Battles, And Echoes of Old Ones 39.1 Google: Open versus Closed 22:18:13
39.2 Flash, the App Store, and Control 22:27:46
39.3 Antennagate: Design versus Engineering 22:40:33
39.4 Here Comes the Sun 22:54:44
Chapter 40 To Infinity, The Cloud, the Spaceship, and Beyond 40.1 The iPad 2 22:57:34
40.2 iCloud 23:12:14
40.3 A New Campus 23:23:32
Chapter 41 Round Three, The Twilight Struggle 41.1 Family Ties 23:32:37
41.2 President Obama 23:49:08
41.3 Third Medical Leave, 2011 23:58:04
41.4 Visitors 24:10:16
41.5 That Day Has Come 24:19:43
Chapter 42 Legacy, The Brightest Heaven of Invention 42.1 FireWire 24:32:27
42.2 And One More Thing... 24:50:55
42.3 Coda 25:01:48


Janet Maslin's review of the book for The New York Times mixed mild criticisms with praise. Maslin wrote that Isaacson's biography presented "an encyclopedic survey of all that Mr. Jobs accomplished, replete with the passion and excitement that it deserves."[13]

A number of Steve Jobs's family and close colleagues expressed disapproval, including Laurene Powell Jobs, Tim Cook and Jony Ive.[14][5][15] Cook remarked that the biography did Jobs "a tremendous disservice", and that "it didn't capture the person. The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time."[5] Ive said of the book that "my contempt couldn't be lower."[14][5]

Commercially, the biography was a notable success, selling more than three million copies in the United States alone by 2015.[5]

Film adaptation[edit]

Steve Jobs is a drama film based on the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender in the title role. The film is directed by Danny Boyle, produced by Scott Rudin, and written by Aaron Sorkin (with a screenplay adapted both from Isaacson's Steve Jobs as well as from interviews conducted by Sorkin).

Other media[edit]

Extracts from the biography have been the feature of various magazines, in addition to interviews with the author, Walter Isaacson.[16]

To memorialize Jobs's life after his death on October 5, 2011, TIME published a commemorative issue 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. The portrait 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.[17] 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.[18]

Bloomberg Businessweek also released a commemorative issue of its magazine remembering 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. Similarly to Time's commemorative issue, Isaacson's essay served as a preview of Steve Jobs.

Fortune featured an exclusive extract of the biography on October 24, 2011, focusing on the "friend-enemy" relationship Jobs had with Bill Gates.[19]

Awards and honors[edit]

Even after a late release that year, the book became Amazon's #1 seller for 2011.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yin, Sara (August 15, 2011). "Tell-All Steve Jobs Biography Hits Stores on November 21". PC Magazine. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Gilbert, Jason (August 25, 2011). "Steve Jobs Biography Gets Cover, November Release Date". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Elmer-DeWitt, Philip (August 16, 2011). "A peek at Steve Jobs' book jacket – front, back and spine". Fortune. CNN Money. Archived from the original on October 16, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Olivarez-Giles, Nathan (August 15, 2011). "'Steve Jobs: A Biography' release date is moved up to Nov. 21". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e Chen, Brian X.; Alter, Alexandra (March 22, 2015). "Apple Opens Up to Praise New Book on Steve Jobs, and Criticize an Old One". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Ong, Josh (August 15, 2011). "Biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs to arrive in November". AppleInsider. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Steve Jobs Nobody Knew". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. October 12, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Walker, David (October 6, 2011). "Steve Jobs: Visionary, Inventor, and Very Challenging Photo Subject". Photo District News. Nielsen. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  9. ^ Ong, Josh (August 15, 2011). "Biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs to arrive in November". AppleInsider. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Seeff, Norman (October 6, 2011). "Behind the Cover: Steve Jobs". Time. Time. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  11. ^ Elmer-DeWitt, Philip (July 5, 2011). "Steve Jobs' bio gets a new title". Fortune. CNN Money. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  12. ^ Schramm, Mike (July 5, 2011). "Steve Jobs biography gets new title: 'Steve Jobs'". TUAW. AOL.
  13. ^ Maslin, Janet (October 21, 2011). "Making the iBio for Apple's Genius". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Elmer-DeWitt, Philip (October 11, 2015). "What does Steve Jobs' widow have against 'Steve Jobs'?". Fortune. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  15. ^ Parker, Ian (February 23, 2015). "The Shape of Things to Come". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  16. ^ Weintraub, Seth (October 19, 2011). "Steve Jobs Biographer to be on 60 Minutes Sunday". 9to5Mac. 925. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  17. ^ "TIME's Steve Jobs Covers". TIME. April 2, 2010. Archived from the original on April 4, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  18. ^ Elmer-DeWitt, Philip (October 6, 2011). "The day Steve Jobs called Walter Isaacson". Fortune. CNN Money. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  19. ^ Weintraub, Seth (October 20, 2011). "Fortune will have exclusive excerpt of Steve Jobs bio Monday focusing on relationship with Bill Gates". 9to5Mac. 925. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  20. ^ Marsal, Katie (December 6, 2011). "Steve Jobs biography is Amazon's best selling book of 2011". Apple Insider. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  21. ^ Andrew Hill (September 13, 2012). "Biographies and economics dominate". Financial Times. Retrieved September 15, 2012.

External links[edit]