Macmillan’s Feiwel and Friends will issue what publisher Jean Feiwel describes as "truly an instant book"on February 14, when it releases Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal. Framed by Jobs’s inspirational 2005 Stanford commencement speech and illustrated with photos, the biography emphasizes how this late computer pioneer’s life was never predictable: he dropped out of college after a single semester and, at the age of 20, launched Apple in his parents’ garage with his friend Steve Wozniak. Aimed at readers 12-up, the biography has an adult counterpart in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, released this week by Simon & Schuster and currently #1 on Amazon.
"I think Steve Jobs is one of the most important figures of our generation," says Feiwel of her decision to publish the biography. "He is of interest to kids not just for the computers, iPads, and iPods he created, but for who he was and how he lived his life. He was a visionary who was very complicated, and he had his ups and downs, which makes him very human and appealing."
Several days after Jobs’s death on October 5, Feiwel tapped Blumenthal to write the biography. The author is a journalist for the Wall Street Journal and has written a number of nonfiction books for young readers, most recently Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. "Karen has also written about Jobs previously, so she had already conducted quite a bit of research on him," Feiwel says. "And as a journalist she certainly understands a tight deadline. We wanted to make sure that this would be a worthy biography by someone with excellent credentials."
Feiwel and Friends will release Steve Jobs simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback with a combined announced first printing of 100,000 copies.
Feiwel notes that she had a fleeting brush with Jobs in the early 1990s, when she was at Scholastic. "During the height of Goosebumps, I received a call from him," she recalls. "He was developing a creative team for what I believe turned out to be Pixar." Jobs asked Feiwel to fly out to California to speak with him about the venture. "I was very happy at Scholastic at the time, and what I had heard of Jobs was that he was extremely volatile," she adds. "So I never went. Ah, the road not taken."