Thoughts on Becoming Steve Jobs

Yesterday, I finished reading the new Jobs bio by Brent Schneider and Rick Tetzeli, which I tore through pretty quickly. I’m very pleased; anyone interested in Apple or Jobs as a businessman should consider this a must-read.

The biggest arguments for this in comparison to the Issacson bio are: 1) the authors’ extensive knowledge of the field of both personal computers and the tech business, 2) extensive coverage of Jobs’ years at NeXT and Pixar, which get short shrift in Issacson’s book, and 3) many insightful interviews with Jobs’ colleagues, competitors, friends (which Schneider can count himself among), and family. Essentially, these authors “get” their subject in a way that Issacson did not.

The trajectory of the book as it pursues its thesis — Jobs’ evolution as a business leader and tech innovator — is also something I found more compelling than Issacson’s more traditional biographic perspective. Their discussion of people they see as Jobs’ various mentors had me adding books on them to my Wish List.

It’s great read and, especially towards the end as it tackles Jobs’ illness and passing of the reins to Tim Cook, can be quite moving. I consider it the definitive book on Jobs at this point.

In looking for links to include with this post, I stumbled upon original Apple employee and Macintosh team member Andy Hertzfeld’s response to the book. He seems a lot more favorable towards Issacson and raises some interesting concerns about this book:

https://medium.com/backchannel/would-steve-jobs-have-liked-the-new-biography-i-don-t-think-so-c9ceb4fc3005

(Hertzfeld’s Revolution in the Valley is one of the best books ever written about Apple and the Macintosh; I cannot recommend it enough. You can read it for free at http://www.folklore.org, but the book itself is a worthy artifact to have on your shelf.)

And the book’s co-author, Rick Tetzeli, responds to Hertzfeld in turn:
https://medium.com/backchannel/becoming-steve-jobs-co-author-responds-to-andy-hertzfeld-ddf33293624b