Biography sees Jobs as crossroad of humanities, science

Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:27pm EDT
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By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A genius for mixing the humanities and sciences coupled with a Svengali-like ability to motivate people powered Steve Jobs's mission to change the world, biographer Walter Isaacson concludes in his exhaustive new study of the Apple co-founder.

"Michelangelo knew a lot about how to quarry stone, not just how to be a sculptor," Isaacson quotes Jobs as saying in one of the many interviews the Apple chief executive gave him in the months before Jobs's death on October 5.

Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" quickly became one of the most highly anticipated biographies of the year after the tech icon, the creative force behind products like the MacIntosh PC, iPod, iPhone and iPad, died of pancreatic cancer.

The 571-page volume hit bookstores on October 24 but was released earlier than expected on Apple's iBooks online store and Amazon's Kindle the day before. Amazon later said it expected the book to be its top seller of the year. No doubt, Jobs would have loved that.

"Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science," Jobs tells Isaacson toward the end, when discussing his legacy. "I like that intersection. There's something magical about that place."

The book chronicles Jobs's achievements but presents a rounded and colorful portrait, warts and all.

It begins with a young, tearful Jobs trying to comprehend what it means to be adopted, a fact that some sources told Isaacson helped explain later behavior by Jobs such as his denying paternity of his first child.

"The real underlying problem was the theme of abandonment in Steve's life," Andy Hertzfeld, a former Apple colleague, told Isaacson.   Continued...

<p>Copies of the new biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson are displayed at a bookstore in New York October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>