It’s no surprise the new Steve Jobs biography is already at the top of bestseller lists, even though it doesn’t hit stores until Monday. What is surprising are the details the book reveals about Jobs’ fight with cancer, his iconoclastic work ethic, and his personal struggles with love, faith and death.
Here is an early look at some of the most intriguing bits
He rejected religion from an early age after seeing starving children on the cover of Life magazine and being unable to explain how God figured in to the suffering. He often turned to Buddhism, however, to guide his personal and professional ways.
He came up with the name for Apple while on a fruit diet. After visiting an apple farm, he said he thought the name sounded “fun, spirited, and not intimidating.”
He experimented with LSD, which he claimed was one of the most important things he’d ever done. He also had issues with hygiene early on -- one of the first heads of Apple tried in vain to get him to bathe more often.
He had eclectic taste in music. The inclusion of The Beatles catalog on iTunes in 2010 was a personal victory for Jobs, who loved the band. He also made legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma promise to play at his funeral. (The musician made good on his word, performing at a memorial service held by the Jobs family last weekend.)
He tried alternative treatments in his battle against cancer. He kept the diagnosis a secret for months, and rejected traditional medical treatment (which he considered suspicious), opting instead for holistic remedies like acupuncture, herbs and special diets. Family and co-workers begged him to consider surgery, but his widow Lorraine Powell says he didn’t want to “open his body.” However, after agreeing to surgery, he pursued medical treatment options with a passionate curiosity.
He had an intense, super-villain-ish grudge against Google. When Google released its Android software, Jobs was enraged, calling the developments “grand theft," and vowing to get revenge. If that sounds overly dramatic, consider this quote: “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to…to right this wrong.” Jobs said. “I am going to destroy Android, because it is a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Apple sued phone manufacturer HTC, but Jobs later told former Google CEO and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt that he didn’t care about the money -- he cared about the ideas.
He didn’t mince words when it came to business. After a contentious power struggle in 1985, Jobs left Apple and blasted its execs, calling them “corrupt people” who cared more about making a profit than making a good product.
He almost snubbed Obama. When the president expressed interest in meeting with Jobs in 2010, he refused, insisting Obama ask him personally. After a five-day impasse, Jobs gave in and agreed to meet, but he was anything but pleasant. During their talk, he told Obama he was heading for a “one-term presidency.”
"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, goes on sale Monday, October 24.