After snubbing every previous attempt to chronicle his life, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is finally ready to participate in a biography. Simon & Schuster made the announcement on Sunday.
Walter Isaacson will pen iSteve: The Book of Jobs, and it will hit bookstores in early 2012. The Associated Press reported that Isaacson has been working on the biography since 2009 and has interviewed Jobs, members of his family, Apple colleagues, and competitors.
"This is the perfect match of subject and author, and it is certain to be a landmark book about one of the world's greatest innovators," said Jonathan Karp, publisher of Simon & Schuster. "Just as he did with Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson is telling a unique story of revolutionary genius."
Will Steve Tell All?
Isaacson is a former managing editor of Time magazine. The New York Times reported in February 2010 that the book would include chronicles of the dark days when Apple sent Jobs packing, through his remarkable comeback as a consumer-electronics visionary. It's not clear how much of Jobs' personal health challenges the book may reveal as part of the unfolding drama that is the Silicon Valley tech guru's life.
"As people get to the end of their career, they tend to want to set the record straight. There have been so many unauthorized biographies that it seems Steve's family would be pushing him to get his perspective out there," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
There are more than a few books with Jobs' name in the title. There's The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How To Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. There's Return to the Little Kingdom: How Apple and Steve Jobs Changed the World. There's also Inside Steve's Brain and Steve Jobs: The Brilliant Mind Behind Apple. All of those hit store shelves in late 2009 and early 2010.
Older titles seeking to give readers a glimpse into the life of this charismatic tech character include iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, and Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs. In fact, if you search Amazon's book department, you'll come up with dozens of titles.
Movie in the Making?
Isaacson is no stranger to biographies of the rich and famous, though this could be his first popular book on a living subject. Isaacson also wrote two best-selling biographies, Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.
"There could be some incredibly interesting stories about Steve and the Clintons and other government bodies, some of the early drama between him and Bill Gates, or setting the record straight from his perspective on what happened between him and Steve Wozniak," Enderle said.
Of course, depending on what Jobs reveals in the book, iSteve could spawn follow-up books from people mentioned in the authorized biography who want to tell their side of the story. In other words, the book could be controversial.
"This story is going to be told from Steve's perspective, so you would expect in all cases he will be the hero, not the villain. A reader is going to want to contrast the book with some of the unauthorized biographies to get balance," Enderle said. "The book could spawn a number of things, not the least of which is a miniseries or even a movie. If [Facebook's Mark] Zuckerberg could pull a movie, you would think Steve Jobs probably could."
Image credit: Screenshot from 2010 video by Apple.