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Isaacson: Jobs' bio may be expanded

updated 08:15 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011

Wants to cover post-death reaction

During a talk yesterday at the Commonwealth Club of California, Steve Jobs author Walter Isaacson mentioned a few small tidbits that hadn't been included in the book, but also brought up the idea that the tome, which has turned into one of the top sellers of the year despite only having come out in late October, could be expanded in future editions. "This is a first or second draft," Isaacson is quoted as saying, "not the final draft."

People who attended the event in San Francisco noted that Isaacson talked about the possibility of a much more annotated version of the book, and of writing an addendum that covers the period immediately following Jobs' death at age 56. Additional detail and documentation on topics only briefly covered in the finished book, such as the yacht Jobs was working on at the time of his death, was mentioned as well, say witnesses.

Isaacson also mentioned that during most of the period he was working on the book, he wrote it with the assumption that Jobs would live long enough to read the released product, though Jobs had told him early on in the process that he was unlikely to ever read the book (even presuming he lived to see it). The author also said he foresaw Jobs' story (intertwined with Apple's success) as something that would be told for decades to come, suggesting that further revisions and expansions would help keep the story alive. Isaacson also acknowledged some "small errors" in the book, such as describing Burrell Smith as a software engineer rather than a hardware engineer.

How a revised or expanded edition would be made available to the millions who have bought e-book versions of the biography on Kindle or through iBooks, the Nook or other e-reading machines could be a touchy subject. Different vendors have different ways of handling expanded e-book editions, ranging from automatically offering customers the expanded edition for free to charging a small additional fee for the extra content to simply making the new version available as a separate product.

Isaacson's book was actually revised prior to its final publication, to include material related to Jobs' resignation from Apple in late August. The additional material was inserted late in the day, just after Jobs resigned and when the book still had a November 21st release date; Isaacson was still working on the final chapter when the resignation became public, and interviewed Jobs about it to get his perspective.

The book was subsequently re-scheduled for a rush-release on October 24th, possibly because the publisher learned of Jobs' declining health though it was denied at the time.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Le Flaneur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    please -- no!

    Is Isaacson at all aware of the criticism of his book?! The only thing I could hope for is a complete rewrite, rather than an expansion.

  1. anonspec

    Joined: Dec 1969



    what you're saying is... the book is in beta?

  1. chas_m



    Not worried

    I thought the book was okay, not awful as some paint it and not brilliant as others have painted it. But there is little doubt in my mind that another Jobs biography -- perhaps from a more tech point of view, or perhaps a more family-oriented book, etc -- will eventually emerge. Great men (and despite his flaws, he certainly was a great man) tend to get multiple biographies written about them (indeed, the major points of Steve's life have been recalled in innumerable books and documentaries already).

  1. Person Man

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's BURRELL Smith, not Burl!

  1. Grendelmon

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ching $$$

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    He's just following the Apple way:

    - Sell something 80% done.
    - Wait a year.
    - Upgrade and add another 10%
    - Sell it again to a wanting public.
    - Wait another year.
    - In the interim, some readers of the book complain about poor printing, yellowish pages, or that the book jacket causes issues with readability.
    - Wait for your group of issacson fanboys to shout down the critics, saying they're just Doris Kearns Goodwin fanboys who are jealous of a quality book.
    - Announce a new version, adding the other 10% and changing the book jacket
    - Sell it yet again.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I liked the book

    It was a different book than the book people criticized -- about Steve Jobs's life, rather than focused on what they wanted it to be about, all about how Apple made its products (which I sure would have like to read about too!) In any case, I'm glad I checked the book out of the library!

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