So it goes to saying that I have to agree with John Siracusa (Ars Technica & HyperCrtical fame) that the choice of Walter Isaacson to write the Steve Jobs biography was a bad pick. In writing this, I struggled with the idea of being a “Monday Morning Quarterback” as the thoughts came to mind. As it’s always easier to make a call after the fact than before. Yet the struggle won on the side of calling this as I saw it, as what has been lost to the betterment of man because of this needs to be shared.
As one of the key points here is while Steve like all other guys put his pants on one leg at a time. He clearly had the ability to view the world in a different light in his ability to make the normal, extraordinary. Yet one of the best aspects Walter offers is the wisdom of Steve’s father that “the back side of the fence needs to look as good as the front“. Well folks it seems like 40 some years back this was a common comment as I can remember my farther saying the same to me, yet Steven Jobs I am not.
As don’t get me wrong, as Walter is a good writer as books about Einstein as in Albert and Franklin as in Ben are very good books. Yet do you see something in these two subjects? Yes, both are dead and therefore are not very good conversationalist so how do you get information? Yes, the simple answer is “research” as this is what Walter happens to be good at, in fact very good. Yet here the metaphor which strikes me is that in the movie “Contact” where the heroine played by Jodie Foster upon realizing her travel says “they should have sent a poet”.
As for the Jobs book, they needed to send an interviewer, a David Frost, or (don’t laugh) Oprah Winfrey as the key miss was in asking the right question. Walter sat and listened to Jobs, he lacked the ability to ask Steve what Steve didn’t know to say. As how do you know what makes you great if you don’t know (realize) that your great? Well unfortunately the opportunity to get into an amazing mind has been lost by that very mind as remember Steve picked Walter…