Steve Jobs as Seen by Isaacson: And a Couple of Problems with the Bestselling Steve Jobs Bio

My homage to steve jobs, "I want to put a ding in the universe."

It’s a huge book. And there are some points that Isaacson gets very accurately. And there are some parts that the official biographer of Steve Jobs missed an opportunity of a life time to illuminate some of the amazing mysteries, successes and failures that were Steve Job’s MO.

Let’s start with what was great. The personal photos in the book are practically worth the cost of the book by themselves.

And the tenderness with which Isaacson treats Steve’s decline and tenacious fight to live.

But the beautiful moments were really captured by others. SISTERS Eulogy, MOK design, the outpouring of Steve Jobs tweets and tributes.

And there were some huge, disappointing misses that I think stem from the fact that Isaacson did not, and still does not, understand technology. Some of the biggest moments in Apple’s history were glossed over or missed completely because Isaacson didn’t know what to ask. He didn’t know what make Apple’s shift from PowerPC to Intel chips such a revolutionary win for Apple.

He covers all his bases with the Apple breakthroughs: iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad. But he fails to understand or proclaim how Job’s vision combined with his amazing teams, broke through so many industries and changed our expectations of technology for ever.

There’s an interesting caveat coming to light now about how Jobs was really working to break the code on television, and that even in the days before he died he was talking to Tim Cook about the next revolutionary product. And now we’re all in anticipation of the Apple TV v3. It’s almost magical, imagining his next industry warping win from the beyond.

We can expect that Apple’s product roadmap was a few years out. So they’ve got iPhones, iPods, iPads and macs to surprise and amaze us into opening our pocketbooks well into Christmas 2015. But the TV would be a huge victory. Because like radio did 10 years ago (transformed by the iPod) live TV sucks.

So maybe Steve is happily planning his next launch and guiding Ivey and Cook with his spiritual influence. Let’s hope Apple can do something with the TV.

So the bio, was big and full and just okay. It was as if, Isaacson was writing a bio of a historical icon who was already dead. He did not go beyond his initial notes to learn about the Macintosh or why Apple’s reinvention of 5 industries was more than just brilliant, it was magic. And the miss is for all of us from here on out that we won’t get the answers to the tough questions that Jobs was okay with not answering.

It’s unvarnished, but it’s also incomplete. It’s a best seller and will be a movie of the life of Steve Jobs. Maybe Isaacson will release the audio tapes of the 40+ interviews he had with Jobs and we can listen to Steve tell his own story. He chose his biographer because he wanted that type of iconic and lasting biography. He might not have been happy with a tech writer who really understood all the disruption and wonder that Apple created.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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