In the days following Steve Jobs's death, publisher Simon & Schuster decided to release its authorized biography of the Apple founder a month earlier than planned. The book, written by Walter Isaacson and simply called Steve Jobs, will be out on the 24th, but details are already leaking.
According to the Huffington Post, which got a hold of a copy, Isaacson paints Jobs as a gruff supporter of Barack Obama, telling him: "You're headed for a one-term presidency" when they met in 2010. He encouraged Obama to work more closely with businesses, citing "regulations and unnecessary costs" that might make an American company build factories in China, and criticized teachers unions for blocking much-needed education reforms.
Jobs and Obama did not quite have a love affair, but the Apple chief was willing to help:
Though Jobs was not that impressed by Obama, later telling Isaacson that his focus on the reasons that things can't get done "infuriates" him, they kept in touch and talked by phone a few more times. Jobs even offered to help create Obama's political ads for the 2012 campaign. "He had made the same offer in 2008, but he'd become annoyed when Obama's strategist David Axelrod wasn't totally deferential," writes Isaacson. Jobs later told the author that he wanted to do for Obama what the legendary "morning in America" ads did for Ronald Reagan.
The book also described how Jobs was "angrier than [Isaacson] had ever seen him" when Google released its Android operating system, which he felt infringed on patented iPhone technology:
"Our lawsuit is saying, 'Google you fucking ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,'" Jobs said, according to Isaacson. "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product."
Jobs also slammed Google's work, telling Isaacson that "outside of Search, Google's products — Android, Google Docs — are shit."
The author has also issued some previews of his own in the form of a 60 Minutes appearance set to air on Sunday. In the television interview, Isaacson explains why Jobs initially declined to undergo surgery to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping instead that alternative therapies would be enough to cure the disease:
"I've asked [Jobs why he didn't get an operation then] and he said, 'I didn't want my body to be opened...I didn't want to be violated in that way,'" Isaacson recalls. So he waited nine months, while his wife and others urged him to do it, before getting the operation, reveals Isaacson. Asked by Kroft how such an intelligent man could make such a seemingly stupid decision, Isaacson replies, "I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking ... we talked about this a lot," he tells Kroft. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it .... I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."
The 656-page book, which is based on years of research and dozens of conversations between the writer and his subject, also addresses less weighty topics, such as the contents of Jobs's iPod, which included Bob Dylan, Yo-Yo Ma, and the work of his onetime girlfriend Joan Baez.
This post has been updated with additional information.