Country United States
Publication date October 24, 2011
Originally published 24 October 2011
Publisher Simon & Schuster (U.S.)
Adaptations Steve Jobs (2015)
Cover artist Albert Watson
Pages 656 pp.
|Media type E-book, Print (Hardback and Paperback), and Audiobook|
Awards Goodreads Choice Awards Best History & Biography
Similar Walter Isaacson books, Biographies
Steve Jobs is the authorized self-titled biography book of Steve Jobs. The book 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.
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. 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.
The book was released on October 24, 2011, by Simon & Schuster in the United States, 19 days after Jobs's death.
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 front cover uses a photographic portrait 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."
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.
The title font is Helvetica.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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).
Extracts from the biography have been the feature of various magazines, in addition to interviews with the author, Walter Isaacson.
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. 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.
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.
Awards and honors
Even after a late release that year, the book became Amazon's #1 seller for 2011.