As a fan of both Walter Isaacson and of Apple products, I have happily begun reading (along with a few million others) the new Steve Jobs biography. So far I find it to be as compelling as expected. Just a few pages into it, I was struck by this thought: as much as Jobs is known for the iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc., I couldn’t help but think that the book itself is in some ways Jobs’s final product.
In the introduction, “How This Book Came To Be,” Isaacson — who, it should be made clear, is a true heavyweight of a non-fiction writer — relates how Jobs approached and repeatedly pursued him to write the book. The terms were clear: Jobs would participate fully, and give others (including those who might be hostile to him) the go-ahead to do the same, and Jobs would have no right to approve or edit material. “He didn’t seek any control over what I wrote, or even ask to read it in advance,” Isaacson writes. That said, it becomes clear that Jobs was infinitely interested in shaping the book. To wit:
His only involvement came when my publisher was choosing the cover art. When he saw an early version of a proposed over treatment, he disliked it so much that he asked to have input in designing a new version. I was both amused and willing, so I readily assented.