Like many of you I’ve been watching the steady stream of incremental Steve Jobs-related news stories for the past couple days, resulting from the imminent launch of Walter Issacson’s Jobs biography:
Jobs came up with the name Apple while on a fruitarian diet, he gave up Christianity at age 13, he loved King Lear, he was disappointed in President Obama, his first job was at Atari, he valued simplicity, utility and beauty, he hated Fox News, he was obsessed with Bob Dylan, he dated Joan Baez, he resisted early surgery for pancreatic cancer, he was inspired by a Cusinart food processer, he was inspired by a trip to a jelly bean factory, he advised Bill Clinton to tell the country about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, he thought John Mayer was “out of control,’ he even consulted a psychic.
“It’s like book striptease,” said Twitter user Nuno Maia, when I asked if readers and followers minded all the micro spoilers. “If I read in his biography that he killed a bison, I will quit the internet for a year,’ joked Shawn Farner, making reference to a ridiculous story about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that had previously made the tech blog rounds. “People are bored,” Tech pundit Dan Frommer said, explaining the onslaught of incremental Steve Jobs headlines and the pageviews they inevitably bring, “I am on Steve Jobs reading embargo until the book is in my hands.”
Issacson’s “Steve Jobs” officially comes out Monday, but many bookstores already have it in stock — which might explain why the Huffington Post and the AP claim to have purchased their copies. Following their lead I too tried to purchase an early copy, asking people coming in and out of SFO to check its bookstores, as I had heard that some people had procured theirs there.
The result? No dice, even after Geeklist founder Reuben Katz offered a bookstore counterperson $1000 for the book, arranging the money in hundred-dollar bills out on the counter. (Note: I did NOT ask him to offer cash.) Katz has since tried three times to get a copy at other bookstores, to no avail. Monday it is then.
In the meantime, most of those interested in the visionary’s life and times will voraciously lap up every Jobs-related tidbit and leak. It simply comes down to supply versus demand.
As Josh Ronin answers on Quora, “Bottom line: Steve was a very private guy. When Walter asked him why he was allowing him (a journalist) to write about his private life, he responded: ‘I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.’ Even his children didn’t know much about him. So why do we care? To get even a glimpse of his private life is just plain interesting. We don’t hear much about it at all.”
“It keeps him alive for those of us that hope he’ll live forever,” said Thomas Muraca, explaining that even something as mundane as perusing Jobs’ reading list becomes another point of fan connection with one of history’s most galvanizing and inspiring men. “Many of the recorded interactions with Jesus were uneventful,” mused new media analyst Cody Brown “but when you sew them together you get ‘The Bible.’”