Advance copies of the hotly anticipated Steve Jobs biography are already in some hands — meaning personal details we never knew about the man are exposed for the first time. Fights with Obama over food, diamond rings, and DNA sequencing.
He and Obama didn’t get along
HuffPo relays the Biography’s account of a particularly uncomfortable meeting between the Apple chief and the Command in Chief:
Though his wife told him that Obama “was really psyched to meet with you”, Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.
“You’re headed for a one-term presidency”, he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.
Jobs went on to call for teachers’ unions to be disbanded. Obama later invited Jobs to a Silicon Valley exec dinner party, but the two butted heads over the fare: Jobs said the menu was too “fancy”, taking particular offence to a chocolate truffle desert. “But [Jobs]was overruled by the White House, which cited the president’s fondness for cream pie.”
He met his real father by accident, then feared him
Oddly, it turned out Steve’s biological dad owned a restaurant he’d frequented many times. The two had greeted each other not even knowing they were related. But after the revelation, Jobs wanted nothing to do with him, out of pure paranoia:
Nevertheless Jobs still had no desire to see him. “I was a wealthy man by then, and I didn’t trust him not to try to blackmail me or go to the press about it.”
He spent tons on cancer treatment
Although he spurned it at first, once he’d given in to mainstream medicine, Jobs spared no expense — he was one of the few people ever to have a personal DNA sequence compiled on their cancerous and normal DNA, the NYT says:
The DNA sequencing that Mr Jobs ultimately went through was done by a collaboration of teams at Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Broad Institute of MIT. The sequencing, Mr Isaacson writes, allowed doctors to tailor drugs and target them to the defective molecular pathways.
He won his wife back with a diamond ring
After Jobs met his soon-to-be wife, she moved out because of “maddening behaviour”. His solution? “The next month, Mr Isaacson writes, he gave her a diamond engagement ring, and she moved back in. Eventually they married.”
And there’s such an immense amount of intimate strangeness that hasn’t been revealed yet — not until Walter Isaacson’s book comes out on the 24th. But from the above, you can already see the portrait of a man devoid of keynote charm.
An autocrat behind closed doors, stubborn enough to defy both the president and cancer itself. He wanted to destroy Google. He at time eschewed modern medicine. He forced a promise from Yo-Yo Ma to play at his funeral, years in advance. He took his inspiration for the Mac from a Cuisinart, the AP says. He named his entire company after a day trip he’d taken to an Apple orchard.
Whatever we know about Jobs as a bizarre, world historical, tyrannical genius, the biography will soon expand and vivify.