The Steve Jobs Biography can now be seen lining the shelves in bookshops across the country and has already amassed a huge number of downloads. There's no doubt that the book will be a success - if, of course, you measure success by the revenue it generates. But is the book successful in conveying what the man himself was all about?
Steve Jobs was an inspirational figure to many people. Of course, the simple fact that he held such a position within our society will naturally make the book an interesting read. There's no doubt that his quirky and much-publicised 'odd ways' will also attract the attention of the public. But whilst biographer Walter Isaacson has been highly commended on his Einstein and Benjamin Franklin biographies, his latest work seems to have attracted a mixed response.
I've not yet read the book, but with my Birthday just around the corner, I'm sure I'll soon have chance to. And because I've read a handful of online reviews, I'm lowering my expectations so that I'm not too disappointed.
We're all naturally a little nosey and I think by their very definition, autobiographies/biographies look to give us that insight into a person's life which we crave. Of the biographies I've read, I find the most interesting ones are those which are able to reveal aspects of a person's life that I was not previously aware of.
But a Reuters review of the book found it to be somewhat ordinary and having finished the book, Fred Schruers (the author of the piece) suggested the biography wasn't as probing as we'd all like.
Jobs is quoted as saying to his biographer, 'I don't have any skeletons in my closet' and that there was just one occasion in the past when he felt ashamed. As a 'nosey reader', that doesn't particularly strike me as being a great, revealing read. Schruers implies that the book is in fact rather bland with Isaacson refusing to push Jobs too far in his questioning.
But perhaps that tells us a little more about Isaacson than it does Jobs.
I think that during his research, Isaacson would have got to know Jobs extremely well, and perhaps they'd got quite close. To watch his friend's health decline, with the inevitability of his passing, must have been extremely difficult. Joe Nocera of The New York Times suggests that because of Jobs' terminal illness, Isaacson would not have been able to get as close to his subject as he'd have liked but maybe he just didn't want to press his friend for answers.
Whatever the reason and whatever the effect it has on the book, I'm almost sure that I'll still have a read and I've no doubt many others will be doing the same.