Top five revelations from Steve Jobs’s bio

October 21, 2011

There’s plenty of information coming this morning in advance of the Monday release of Walter Isaacson’s new book, “Steve Jobs.”

Here are the top five most interesting tidbits that we’ve heard so far:

1) His “exotic” cancer treatments: Jobs reportedly tried several alternative treatments, including juice diets, veganism and acupuncture before consenting to surgery to treat his pancreatic cancer, the New York Times reported. Once he decided to pursue more traditional treatments, the report said, he threw himself into learning about the latest advances in treatment. Jobs was reportedly one of 20 people in the world to have his DNA and the genes of the cancer tumor sequenced, at a cost of $10,000.

In a short preview of a “60 Minutes” interview set to air Sunday, Isaacson said that Jobs regretted his decision to delay surgery.

2) His battle with Google’s co-founders: Jobs reportedly clashed with Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin over the company’s Android smartphone platform and told former Apple board member and Google chairman Eric Schmidt that he would never settle Apple’s lawsuits over Android. “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this,” Jobs told Isaacson, the Associated Press reported.

3) His relationship with nemesis Bill Gates: Isaacson also interviewed Gates for the book and wrote that Gates found Jobs “fundamentally odd” and “weirdly flawed as a human being,” the Huffington Post reported. While Gates admired Jobs’s instinct, Jobs told Isaacson that Gates “has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

The two men did appear together on stage in 2007, in a joint interview at All Things Digital’s annual conference.The New York Times reported, however, that Gates was among the people Jobs met with before his death on Oct. 5.

According to the report, the two men spent more than three hours together reminiscing about their past experiences.

4) His private conversations with President Obama: Excerpts of the book obtained by the Huffington Post summarize Jobs’s relationship with the current administration. According to the Web site’s report, Jobs told Obama that he was “headed for a one-term presidency” and criticized the president for not being business-friendly. Jobs also reportedly told Obama he would help him with his advertising but later pulled back because he didn’t think senior aide David Axelrod showed him enough respect.

Jobs also reportedly told Obama that the country needed to break the U.S. teachers unions in order to enact reform. He proposed that school be open until 6 p.m. daily, 11 months of the year.

5) His love life: Jobs reportedly proposed to his wife, Laurene Powell, on Jan. 1, 1990, but then didn’t mention the engagement again “for months,” the Times reported. In September 1990, Powell moved out of the home the two shared. A month later, Jobs gave her a diamond engagement ring, the report said, and the two eventually married.

Related stories:

Apple employees, fans remember Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs bio: Jobs told author, ‘I wanted my kids to know me’

Steve Jobs and the media: For the most part, it was a love affair

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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