Steve Jobs’s authorized biographer Walter Isaacson and Fortune’s managing editor Andy Serwer on stage at NASDAQ | Photo: Tanner Curtis
In a series of tweets, Fortune released some interesting new quotes by Steve Jobs’ authorized biographer Walter Isaacson, who sat down for a “breakfast conversation” with the magazine’s managing editor Andy Serwer.
“It’s good that we’ve made a big deal out of a creative business leader, rather than a celebrity,” Isaacson told Serwer, describing his rock star status as a cultural icon of our time. “There’s an emotional connection Steve Jobs made across the world – like a rock star or a prince”.
“Steve thought the digital hub had moved from the computer to the cloud,” Isaacson said. Over the years, Jobs changed as a manager in a way that “he didn’t become sweeter or kinder, he learned to channel his energy and passion.”
Walter Isaacson signing books in Times Square | Photo: Tanner Curtis
He really was this ultimate micro-manager and a visionary in one person: “Some great business leaders do it by having a grand vision; some do it by micromanaging. Steve did both.” And he was a very efficient manager, too: “He could get things done on a timeline that was amazing to most”. And don’t you worry about the post-Jobs Apple because “Apple’s current executive team have ingrained in their DNA connecting engineering with the beautiful.”
Jobs himself “had a unique quality that is a component of genius: the ability to connect art and science”. Commenting on Steve Jobs’s last words on his death bed, Isaacson said that Apple’s late CEO “left us with a mystery”.
The biography did not cover every detail from Isaacson’s many interviews with Jobs spanning two years. During that time, “Jobs got more and more emotional and intimate”. Steve opened up his personal side to Isaacson, which was in stark contrast to his separation of private life and his public face as the CEO of Apple.
But some things are best kept secret: “There were very personal things I left out”, Isaccson said.
“Jobs is such an icon, each generation is going to have a new view of him”, says Isaacson, adding Steve “felt chosen and special but also a bit of a misfit and a rebel”.
Chiming in, Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt tweeted the bio had sold 1 million copies in China alone. Data point came via Serwer who made the claim (and Isaacson did not dispute it). DeWitt has more coverage over at the Fortune blogs.
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