More details about the upcoming biography Becoming Steve Jobs have been revealed through the book’s preview on Amazon (which has since been cut down significantly), revealing several interesting tidbits about the Apple co-founder’s life that were previously unknown (via Cult of Mac).
One example is a story about an offer then-COO Tim Cook made to Jobs when the latter was battling cancer. Cook says that he discovered he shared a blood type with Jobs and decided to undergo numerous medical tests before offering to donate part of his liver to the executive.
When Cook made the offer, however, Jobs declined. Cook says this was one of the few times in his career that Jobs had ever yelled at him, and his former boss’s unwillingness to accept the offer simply goes to prove that he wasn’t as selfish as many make him out to be.
A quote from the book, via Fast Company:
One afternoon, Cook left the house feeling so upset that he had his own blood tested. He found out that he, like Steve, had a rare blood type, and guessed that it might be the same. He started doing research, and learned that it is possible to transfer a portion of a living person’s liver to someone in need of a transplant. About 6,000 living-donor transplants are performed every year in the United States, and the rate of success for both donor and recipient is high. The liver is a regenerative organ. The portion transplanted into the recipient will grow to a functional size, and the portion of the liver that the donor gives up will also grow back.
After going through a series of tests to determine whether a partial transplant was even feasible—it was—he stopped by Jobs’s home in Palo Alto to tell him the good news; Jobs refused. “He cut me off at the legs, almost before the words were out of my mouth,” said Cook. “‘No,’ he said. ‘I’ll never let you do that. I’ll never do that.'”
“Somebody that’s selfish,” Cook continues, “doesn’t reply like that. I mean, here’s a guy, he’s dying, he’s very close to death because of his liver issue, and here’s someone healthy offering a way out. I said, ‘Steve, I’m perfectly healthy, I’ve been checked out. Here’s the medical report. I can do this and I’m not putting myself at risk, I’ll be fine.’ And he doesn’t think about it. It was not, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ It was not, ‘I’ll think about it.’ It was not, ‘Oh, the condition I’m in . . .’ It was, ‘No, I’m not doing that!’ He kind of popped up in bed and said that. And this was during a time when things were just terrible. Steve only yelled at me four or five times during the 13 years I knew him, and this was one of them.”
The book also provides some insight into Jobs’ views on television and the Apple TV. While Isaacson’s bio claimed that the CEO had “cracked” the TV industry, Schlender and Tetzeli note that he once told Apple design boss Jony Ive some time after his 1997 return to the company that “Apple will never make a TV again.”
Perhaps even more surprising (or not surprising at all, depending on how you view it) Steve Jobs apparently wanted to team up with Disney CEO and longtime friend Bob Iger to buy Yahoo. This would have given Apple a foothold in the search engine industry and potentially allowing them to sever ties with Google.
A Yahoo purchase would have also given Apple access to that company’s entire backend for services like email and calendar/contacts syncing—features Cupertino struggled with when it launched its first syncing service with MobileMe.
Yahoo was the first email service to provide push email on the iPhone, and provides data for a variety of Siri queries and stock iOS applications.
In another excerpt, Fast Company talks about Jobs and the TV the genesis of the relationship with Jony Ive
It was a striking piece of out-of-the-box industrial design thinking. Jony and his team had placed the guts of a top-of-the-line laptop inside a svelte and slightly curved vertical slab, which had on the top half of its surface a color LCD monitor, and on the bottom half a vertical CD-ROM drive, all of which was framed by specially designed Bose stereo speakers. It was packed with state-of-the-art technology, including cable and FM tuners and the circuitry necessary for the computer to double as a TV set or radio.
Jobs immediately took a liking to Ive. (“He’s kind of a cherub,” Jobs said of his soon-to-be co-conspirator.) But perhaps more importantly Ive liked him back, inevitably making the decision to stay with Apple instead of pursuing other opportunities. And then:
Steve killed both of Jony’s pet projects. The eMate disappeared along with all other traces of the Newton (save a few key patents), and the 20th Anniversary bit the dust after selling just 12,000 units. The products didn’t fit into his quadrants. Besides, he told me one day, “I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again.” This was Jony’s introduction to Steve’s coldhearted decision-making.
You can pre-order Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader on Amazon Hardcover for $21.87, Paperback for $18, Kindle for $11.99 or iBooks for $12.99. It sounds like a very interesting read. The book ships on March 24th.
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