How Apple got its name, why Steve Jobs wore black turtlenecks and the bizarre interview questions the Apple CEO would
ask job candidates: these are just a few of the revelations presented in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.
The 571-page book, out October 24, is based on more than a hundred interviews, including over forty with Jobs himself. It presents a riveting, detailed account of Jobs’ personal and professional life, from his marriage and drug use to Jobs’ take on other tech titans and the way he built Apple.
Reviewers have, thus far, had high praise for the book.
“In the end, it’s a rich portrait of one of the greatest minds of our generation,” writes the Associated Press’ Barbara Ortutay. The New York Times’ Janet Maslin argues that Jobs’ life “calls for a book that is clear, elegant and concise enough to qualify as an iBio” and notes that Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” ”does its solid best to hit that target.” Though calling it “occasionally workmanlike,” Entertainment Weekly’s Tina Jordan compliments the book as ”thoughtful,” “broadly-sourced,” and “thorough, filling in all the holes in Jobs’ life.”
Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” offers up new information about the tech visionary on virtually every page and we’ve compiled some of the most surprising, must-see tidbits about Jobs these pointer below.
How Apple Got Its Name - ”Executek,” “Matrix,” “Personal Computers Inc.” were among the names Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak considered for their company, writes Isaacson.
Jobs proposed “Apple” after returning from a visit to All One Farm where he had helped tend for the apple trees.
“I was on one of my fruitarian diets,” Jobs told Isaacson. “I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer.’”
Clinton Asked Jobs’ Advice On Lewinsky Scandal - According to Isaacson, during a “late-night phone conversation,” President Bill Clinton asked Jobshow he should deal with the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“I don’t know if you did it, but if so, you’ve got to tell the country,” Jobs told Clinton.
The president was silent on the other end of the line, Isaacson writes.
Why Jobs Wore Black Turtlenecks - According to Isaacson, Jobs’ signature black turtleneck was initially inspired by a visit in the early ’80s to a Sony factory in Japan, where the Apple co-founder noticed that all of the employees wore uniforms.
Prior to this, Jobs had favored white shirts and jeans, former Apple employee Jay Elliot told the Huffington Post.
Jobs Was Disappointed By Obama - Jobs was a supporter of Obama’s — he offered to help the president with his ads for the 2012 campaign — but Jobs told Isaacson he was “disappointed in Obama” who was “having trouble leading because he’s reluctant to offend people or piss them off.”
“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” Jobs told Obama during a forty-five minute meeting between the two men. Jobs argued that the president’s administration needed to be more friendly toward business and more aggressive in reforming the nation’s education system.
Jobs Refused Potentially Life-Saving Surgery To Treat His Cancer - As Isaacson noted in both his biography and during an interview with 60 Minutes, Jobs initially refused to undergo what could have been a life-saving surgery to treat his pancreatic cancer. For months, Jobs instead opted to treat the cancer with other, non-invasive therapies, including unusual diets, herbal remedies, and acupuncture.
“The big thing was that he really was not ready to open his body,” Jobs’ wife Laurene Powell explained.
Powell did attempt to talk her husband into the surgery.
“The body exists to serve the spirit,” she told Jobs.
Jobs Initially Opposed Apps - The thousands of applications available on iTunes have become a defining feature for Apple and have earned developers billions of dollars.
Jobs, however, initially opposed the idea of offering third-party apps.
Art Levinson, a member of Apple’s board, recalled phoning Jobs “half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps.” Isaacson writes that Jobs “at first quashed the discussion, partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers.”
Jobs Was ‘Depressed’ By Lukewarm Reaction To iPad - Though iPad has been an unqualified success for Apple, the initial reaction to the tablet was lukewarm at best. People mocked its name, dismissed it as little more than an overgrown iPod touch, and speculated that it could be Apple’s second Newton–a big, giant flop.
“I kind of got depressed today. It knocks you back a bit,” Jobs told Isaacson the night after he unveiled the iPad.
Jobs’ Bizarre Interview Question: ‘Are You A Virgin?’ - Isaacson writes that Jobs enjoyed asking job candidates “offbeat” questions to test their ability to think on their feet and gauge whether they had the right personality mix to succeed at Apple.
The author recounts how on one occasion, Jobs began peppering a potential hire, who was “too uptight and conventional,” with unusual questions — and even interrupted his answers with “Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble.”
“How old were you when you lost your virginity?” Jobs asked. He continued, “Are you a virgin?” adding, “How many times have you taken LSD?”
Jobs: Google ‘Wholesale Ripped Us Off’ - Isaacson’s biography lays bare some of the animosity Jobs reportedly felt toward Google following its launch of Android. Jobs described Android as a “grand theft” that stole from the iPhone.
“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google you f***ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,’” Jobs told Isaacson in a conversation about a patent lawsuit Apple had filed. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”
“I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this,” Jobs added.
- President Bill Clinton Asked Steve Jobs How To Handle The Monica Lewinsky Scandal (businessinsider.com)
- Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson (rosalindwent.wordpress.com)