Dan Lyon’s Newsweek discussion with Steve Jobs’ Biographer Walter Isaacson

on October 29, 2011
Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the best tech writers I know is Dan Lyons also known for his Fake Steve Jobs column that over the years that comically portrayed Steve Jobs blogging about his views of life and tech. Earlier this week, he posted a piece on the Daily Beast of his talk with Isaacson about the book and more importantly, Isaacson’s personal views about Steve Jobs. It is such a good piece and one that gives even greater insight to Steve Jobs than comes from the book itself, that I wanted to bring it to our reader’s attention.

I give you the first few paragraphs of the article and then a link for the full article that I highly recommend you read as it really captures a perspective about Jobs that is important for us in the tech world to understand.

Dan Lyons with Walter Isaacson on his impressions of Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Steve Jobs is the smash-hit book of the year, but Isaacson is dismayed that so many journalists writing about the book (myself included) have latched onto the anecdotes about Jobs behaving like a monster to the people around him, without setting those anecdotes against the larger picture of everything that Jobs accomplished in his life.

“You have to judge people by the outcome,” says Isaacson, the former editor of Time magazine who has written bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein and who is also president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit focused on education issues.

“In the end, Steve Jobs had four loving children who were all intensely loyal to him and a wife who was his best friend for 20 years. At work he ends up with a loyal professional team of A players at Apple who swear by him and stay there, as opposed to other companies that are always losing good talent. In the end he was an inspiring person. He inspired loyalty and real love. So you judge him by that.”

Also worth noting, Isaacson says, is that when it came to tough talk, Jobs could take as well as give. Jobs respected and even rewarded people who would argue with him. “In the early days at Apple they used to give an award to whoever stood up to Steve the best,” Isaacson says. “Those people often ended up getting promoted.”

For the balance of the article you can read it here.