Steve Jobs biographer’s next subject: Tesla’s Elon Musk

According to Musk, Walter Isaacson has already starting writing.

My take: Shrewd choice, for both subject and writer. I know Walter pretty well. He’s fast and thorough and his Musk biography is likely to be definitive.

16 Comments

  1. George Row said:
    If anyone is interested in engineering principles, space flight, or Elon Musk, you might like this video I watched today where Musk talks to Tim Dodd of the YouTube channel “Everyday Astronaut” as they tour the SpaceX rocket manufacturing facility:
    https://youtu.be/t705r8ICkRw

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    August 5, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    I have much to say on this subject, but I have to move on to an appointment. I will attempt to follow-up with comments this evening. Laurene Powell was perturbed with Walter Isaacson’s inference in his book that she maneuvered subtly to gain Steve Jobs attention for the purpose of capturing his state of consciousness & concentration for beginning an intimate relationship with him, thus leading to marriage.

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    August 5, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Jerry Doyle —

      “…she maneuvered subtly to gain Steve Jobs attention…”

      The way I remember that passage, she was quite smitten by him and was convinced to lock her crosshairs on him.

      Her “moves”, while maybe subtle, they were certain.

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      August 5, 2021
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    I bought the book. When done reading it I felt like I hadn’t. It read like a chronology with no insights at all.

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    August 5, 2021
  4. Dan Pallotta said:
    Agree with Gregg. I felt he turned in a lackluster work with Steve Jobs — a rather sterile chronological catalog of business events with little insight into the psycho-spiritual nature of the man. Sorry that he will be the voice for Elon Musk. But Elon hopefully has a long way to go and there will be another biography about his next 50 years.

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    August 5, 2021
  5. Jerry Doyle said:
    On Laurene Powell’s maneuvering to meet Steve Jobs I feel the same as the rest of you in that any such maneuvering means little to nothing. We all have motives when it comes to sexual, physical, emotional and intellectual attractions to a potential significant other and we exploit those attractions to obtain what we desire to obtain. It was Steve Jobs close friend Andy Hertzfeld and a few others who speculate that Laurene Powell had been scheming to meet Jobs. Says Hertzfeld: “…Laurene is nice, but she can be calculating, and I think she targeted him (Steve) from the beginning…. Her college roommate told me that Laurene had magazine covers of Steve and vowed she was going to meet him.” As Joseph B says, “Who cares?” I believe the only person offended by that information is Laurene Powell who does care based on subsequent articles that came out later following the publishing of the biography.

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    August 5, 2021
  6. Jerry Doyle said:
    Few people know that Walter Isaacson did not desire to do a biography on Steve Jobs. It was Jobs who over the years pestered Walter Isaacson to do the biography. When Walter Isaacson published his biography on Einstein, Steve Jobs once again showed to the book signing event in Palo Alto & pulled Isaacson aside to plead he would make a good subject. Steve even flew to Aspen one summer where Walter Isaacson is the President & CEO of the Aspen Institute. Steve again attempted through one of his suggestions that the two take a walk together where Steve used his usual “engaging intensity” to persuade Isaacson to do a biography on Steve’s life. Isaacson again turns Jobs down.

    Steve appreciated Isaacson’s work on Benjamin Franklin. Isaacson kept putting Steve off until Laurene Powell Jobs called him in 2009 and said bluntly, “… If you’re ever going to do a book on Steve you’d better do it now.” It was in this call where Ms. Powell confided the seriousness of Steve’s illness. Isaacson agreed to do the book at this point, but worried that Jobs would want control over the information gleaned from personal interviews.

    What solidified Isaacson desire to do the book was Steve basically suggesting the very theme that drove Isaacson to do the biographies on Franklin & Einstein. Steve said, “….I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities & sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” Isaacson then became enthused. Isaacson believes that creativity which occurs when a feel for both the humanities & the sciences combine in one strong personality was the catalyst that most interested him in undertaking his biographies on Franklin & Einstein. Isaacson believes that such amalgam will be a key to creating innovative economies in the 21st century and Steve was essentially suggesting this biographical theme (which turned out to be valid) for the Steve Jobs biography.

    Walter Isaacson’s personal integrity, character and his completed works are impeccable, beyond reproach. The man is held in esteem among his peers and his authorship is burnished in the annals of great American biographical writers. No one, absolutely no one can castigate with credulity the works of this great American author.

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    August 5, 2021
    • Steven Philips said:
      Yes they can. It wasn’t a particularly good biography. The reasons don’t matter.
      All his other biographies that I have read ARE excellent.

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      August 6, 2021
  7. Jim Moskun said:
    I’m currently listening to Isaacson’s latest, “Code Breaker”, biography of Jennifer Doudna – Nobel prize winner for her work on CRISPR. It’s very well written – cleverly explaining RNA and CRISPR juxtaposed with her life story; very readable and entertaining. I highly recommend it.

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    August 5, 2021

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