Becoming the Better Biography

I enjoyed Ken Segall’s observations about Becoming Steve Jobs, the authors’ interview with John Gruber, and points of contention between the new biography and Walter Isaacson’s.

Few will remember at this point, but the original title for Isaacson’s book as announced was iSteve. What a horribly cute title that would have been for a life so important. While the author gets credit for changing course (at Steve’s request, we understand), he gets more demerits for considering it in the first place. It says something about the man’s sensibilities.

I re-listened to the episodes of Hypercritical (1, 2) wherein John Siracusa reviewed Isaacson’s book. I had forgotten many of the shortcomings, which he laid out very clearly. There is really no good excuse for the disappointments in the official biography.

I’m in the middle of the new biography. It’s the fifth book about Steve that I’ve given the time. The first one was iCon: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, which was largely my introduction to Steve Jobs’ and Apple’s story. Reading material has come a long way since then.

Both Steve Jobs and Becoming Steve Jobs share many of the same facts. But, like any two essays on the same topic, what one chooses to emphasize makes all the difference. By focusing more on Steve’s “wilderness years,” and acknowledging the man’s human side, Becoming Steve Jobs offers a deeper explanation of Steve’s evolution.

Agreed. If you took the time to read Steve Jobs, then you should do yourself a favor: read Becoming Steve Jobs. There’s not going to be a perfect biography, but this one comes closer than the rest. Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli know plenty about the computer industry. Isaacson did not. They also had a personal relationship with Steve for many decades, which Isaacson did not. The new book offers a relatively accurate vantage point.

[Via Apple Spotlight]


Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.