Biography sheds new light on Steve Jobs' life

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces iCloud during a keynote address to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
October 20, 2011 1:31:50 PM PDT
For Steve Jobs, products, not profits were the main motivation at Apple and he called a new crop of managers brought in to the company after his ouster "corrupt people" with "corrupt values" who cared only about making money, according to an authorized biography of the late Apple CEO.

Jobs was often bullied in school and stopped going to church at age 13, according to "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson, which will be published Monday by Simon & Schuster. The Associated Press purchased a copy Thursday. Advanced sales of the biography have topped best-seller lists since Jobs died Oct. 5 after a long battle with cancer at age 56.

According to the book, Jobs never went back to church after he saw a photo of starving children on the cover of Life Magazine. Later, he spent years studying Zen Buddhism.

As a teenager, he exhibited some odd behaviors - he began to try various diets, eating just fruits and vegetables for a time, and perfected staring at others without blinking.

Later, on the naming of Apple, Jobs told Isaacson he was "on one of my fruitarian diets."

He'd just come back from an apple farm, and he thought the name sounded "fun, spirited and not intimidating."

Jobs reveals in the book that he didn't want to go to college, and the only school he applied to was costly private college Reed in Portland, Ore. Once accepted, his parents tried to talk him out of attending Reed, but he told them he wouldn't go to college at all if they didn't let him go there. Though he ended up attending, Jobs dropped out of the school after less than a year and never went back.

Jobs' eye for simple, clean design was evident from early on. The case of the Apple II computer had originally included a Plexiglas cover, metal straps and a roll-top door. Jobs, though, wanted something elegant that would make Apple stand out. He told Isaacson he was struck by Cuisinart food processors while browsing at a department store and decided he wanted a case made of molded plastic.

Jobs was never a typical CEO. Apple's first president, Mike Scott, was hired mainly to manage Jobs, then 22. One of his first projects: getting Jobs to bathe more often. It didn't really work.

In the early 1990s, after Jobs was ousted from Apple, he watched the company's gradual decline from afar. He was angered by the new crop of people brought in the run Apple, and he called them "corrupt."

He told Issacson they cared only about making money "for themselves mainly, and also for Apple- rather than making great products."

He also revealed that the Beatles is one of his favorite bands, and one of his wishes was to get the band on iTunes before he died. He got them available for sale on iTunes in late 2010. Until then, the biggest-selling, most influential group in rock history has been glaringly absent from iTunes and other legal online music services.

The book was originally called "iSteve" and scheduled to come out in March 2012. The release date was moved up to November, then, after Jobs' death, to this coming Monday. Isaacson interviewed Jobs more than 40 times, including just a few weeks before his death.

The book says Jobs put no subject off limits and had no control over its contents.

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AP Technology Writers Barbara Ortutay and Peter Svensson contributed to this story from New York.


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