Friday, 21 October 2011

New book delves into the man called Jobs

A NEW biography portrays Apple supremo Steve Jobs as a skeptic all his life - giving up religion because he was troubled by starving children, calling executives who took over Apple "corrupt," and delaying cancer surgery in favor of cleansings and herbal medicine.

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, to be published on Monday, also says Jobs came up with the company's name while he was on a diet of fruits and vegetables, and as a teenager perfected staring at people without blinking.

The book delves into Jobs's decision to delay surgery for nine months after learning in October 2003 that he had a neuroendocrine tumor - a relatively rare type of pancreatic cancer that normally grows more slowly and is therefore more treatable.

Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He was also influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, the book says, before finally having surgery in July 2004.

Isaacson, quoting Jobs, writes in the book: "'I really did not want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work,' he told me years later with a hint of regret."

Jobs died on October 5, aged 56, after a battle with cancer.

The book also provides insight into the unraveling of Jobs's relationship with Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer of Google and an Apple board member from 2006 to 2009. Schmidt had quit Apple's board as Google and Apple went head-to-head in smartphones, Apple with its iPhone and Google with its Android software.

Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January last year when Chinese company HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the features popular with the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google's actions amounted to "grand theft."

He said: "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's US$40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I am going to destroy Android, because it is a stolen product. I am willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google's Internet-based word-processing program. In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a California cafe, Jobs told Schmidt he was not interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says.

"I don't want your money. If you offer me US$5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that is all I want." The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.

The biography, for which Jobs granted more than three dozen interviews, is also a look into the thoughts of a man who was famously secretive.

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