For the legions who revere Apple Computer's high-profile cofounder as a godlike figure, the aptly titled Second Coming of Steve Jobs will prove an intriguing picture of a seminal time in their deity's roller-coaster life. It should emphatically vindicate their deeply held faith in the man and his ideas. But even for those with a lesser opinion, Alan Deutschman offers an interesting and enlightening look at the crucial period from Jobs's unceremonious Apple exit through his triumphant return. Deutschman, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine and longtime Silicon Valley correspondent, interviewed nearly 100 colleagues and friends to draw this portrait of a bewilderingly complex and notoriously private man--albeit one whose talents, personality traits, and idiosyncrasies have long been on public display. "He succeeded in becoming the Jackie Kennedy Onassis of business and technology," Deutschman writes, "a figure who was ubiquitous as a symbol of his times but little known as a human being." To change that, he looks into Jobs's ill-fated first post-Apple endeavor at the Next computer company, his return to undeniable respectability with Pixar and the two Toy Story movies, and finally, his ultimate absolution with a very successful reclamation of the Apple crown. It's a revealing account of a singular individual during a remarkable time. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
A revealing, balanced portrait of Apple Computers CEO and founder Steven Jobs, this fast-paced business biography is based on interviews with nearly 100 of his associates and friends. One glaring absence, however, is Jobs himself, who apparently declined to be interviewed by Deutschman, a Vanity Fair contributing editor and staff writer at GQ. Still, Deutschman provides a juicy, privileged look inside the Apple core. He reports that Jobs's recent resuscitation of Apple, to which the visionary entrepreneur returned in 1996 after being ousted by John Sculley a decade earlier, was accomplished through a "reign of terror" that shook up thousands of complacent employees. Like other commentators, Deutschman portrays Jobs as both engaging and troubling, a natural charmer who is also an abusive, egomaniacal boss fond of meting out public humiliations. But Deutschman goes further, replacing the image of the pop-culture icon with a complex, contradictory figureAan insecure elitist who yearns for the patronage of the masses, a narcissistic vegetarian billionaire who thrives on scarcity and adversity. Among the book's revelations are details of Jobs's bulimia-like eating disorders in the 1970s; his reconnection in the '80s with his long-lost biological sister, novelist Mona Simpson (Jobs was given up for adoption at birth); and his explosive negotiations with Disney honchos Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who produced the hits A Bug's Life and Toy Story with Pixar, Jobs's animation film studio. Though this gossipy bio has a slick magazine feel, Deutschman gets closer to Jobs's inner self than any previous attempt. Agent, Suzanne Gluck, ICM. (Sept.)
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