Tomorrow, a new biography Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader hits the bookstores. It joins a long list of books about Jobs, most of which tell pretty much the same story. However, here are 7 books that provide iconoclastic perspectives into the life of the world's most-written-about entrepreneur:
Subtitle: A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs
Author: Chrisann Brennan
Why It's Intriguing: Written by the mother of Jobs's first child, this book documents how Jobs changed over the years, going from a self-absorbed boyfriend to a cheapskate paternity-denier to a reluctant father. It's hard not to feel more than a little disappointed with Jobs's character when he's seen from this perspective.
Best Quote: "He had beautiful, quiet, intelligent hands, with long elegant fingers. When he was typing, the machine would pound out individual letters with such shocking force and velocity that it belied the casual touch of his fingertips. Steve's hands were made for technology. There was a sublime compatibility with the machine in them, natural and unaffected from the beginning."
Authors: Caleb Melby and Forbes LLC
Why It's Intriguing: This investigation of Jobs's meditation practice claims that his success was largely due to the influence of the Buddhist teacher Kobun Chino Otogawa rather than, say, product development done at Xerox Parc.
Subtitle: A Journey of Adventure, Ideas and the Future
Authors: John Sculley and John A. Byrne
Why It's Intriguing: While Sculley has since stated that he regrets firing Jobs, the main takeaways for this book are 1) Jobs needed firing and 2) Sculley invented the Newton (a.k.a. Knowledge Navigator). Some have argued that the Newton was the true prototype of the iPod.
Best quote: "I had given Steve greater power than he had ever had and I had created a monster. There was nothing else to do: I had to remove Steve as general manager of the Macintosh division. It was a painful decision because I knew the cost was high."
Subtitle: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products
Author: Leander Kahney
Why It's Intriguing: This book presents what's practically an alternative history of the invention and conception of some of Apple's most famous products, minimizing the contributions of Steve Jobs and maximizing the contributions of Apple's top designer.
Best Quote: "Jony in particular had always had a deep appreciation for the tactile nature of computing; he had put handles on several of his early machines specifically to encourage touching. But here was an opportunity to make the ultimate tactile device. No more keyboard, mouse, pen, or even a click wheel--the user would touch the actual interface with his or her fingers. What could be more intimate?"
Author: Randall Stross
Why It's Intriguing: This highly critical description of Jobs's work at NeXT essentially supported Sculley's view that Jobs was out-of-control and, for all intents and purposes, a has-been. The author has since revised the book and released it in a Kindle edition.
Best Quote: "Jobs's attempts to build a profitable rival to Apple had led him from one strategy to another, from blunder to blunder, disaster to disaster. What makes the NeXT story especially intriguing, however, is the gullibility of many others who lent money, careers, and prestige to Steve Jobs's quest."
Editor: Shawn E. Klein
Why It's Intriguing: This soon-to-be-published book contains reflections of 16 contemporary philosophers on the life of Steve Jobs and the effect that he's had on modern society.
Best Quote: "Jobs was an outstanding achiever and a complex man with serious faults. This book is neither demonization nor hagiography. It is not intended as indictment or apology. The chapters are thoughtful, mostly philosophical, examinations, from different points of view, of Steve Jobs's life and work, and their impact on our culture and the way we live."
Subtitle: Collection of Artworks and Caricatures of Steve Jobs With a History of Products
Author: Mad Artist Publishing
Why It's Intriguing: If there was any question about the impact that Steve Jobs has had on popular culture, this book will lay such concerns to rest. These illustrations, which range from the sentimental to the bizarre, in some ways explain the meaning Steve Jobs's life better than any biography.
Artist: Joe Cummings