cover image Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. Crown Business, $30 (464p) ISBN 978-0-385-34740-2

The late Apple CEO changes from brilliant, erratic, insufferable jerk to steady, perspicacious, tolerable jerk in this shrewdly admiring biography. Journalist Schlender and Fast Company editor Tetzeli focus on the years after Jobs's 1985 ouster from Apple and then on his 1997 return to guide the company's resurgence with a string of hit iProducts. They depict a spiritual journey, with Jobs wandering in the wilderness at NeXT Computer, where his confused, tyrannical fiats almost sank the company, and then at Pixar, where he learned the art of not interfering with talented subordinates; he emerged a more patient man with a tempered strategic outlook and an ability to listen to underlings when they screamed back at him. Schlender and Tetzeli's account is unusually intimate thanks to voluminous interviews and Schlender's many personal encounters with Jobs over decades of covering him, and a reverential tone sometimes surfaces—as when Jobs's lieutenant Tim Cook offered Jobs his own liver for a transplant—in this corrective to Walter Isaacson's more jaundiced biography. But the authors are clear-eyed about Jobs's flaws and give lucid, detailed analyses of his maneuverings and product initiatives; theirs is one of the most nuanced and revealing assessments of Jobs's controversial career. Photos. Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM. (Mar.)