15 things you need to know about the Steve Jobs bio

The authorized biography of Steven P. Jobs has leaked across the Net. Cringely will now save you the trouble of actually reading it

Stop me if you've heard this one: Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs (cleverly titled "Steve Jobs") has leaked across the blogosphere. It sounds like a fascinating read. But who has time to read these days or, for that matter, think?

For the benefit of all those out there in Cringeville, I've skimmed all the reviews from bloggers who've skimmed the book, then condensed it into the following factoids that are perfect for making semi-informed cocktail party conversation. Here they are:

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1. As a teenager Jobs mastered the art of staring at people without blinking. Thus explaining that steely gaze in his publicity photo that adorns the cover of the book.

2. When Apple first began, the company hired a "president" whose main job was to look after Steve and make sure he bathed regularly. (No, I did not make that up -- blame AP.)

3. Steve Jobs thought Bill Gates was a dullard.

4. Bill Gates thought Steve Jobs was weird.

5. They were both right.

6. Steve Jobs was adopted (you knew that already, right?). He met his biological father a few times as an adult but remained estranged from him, fearing that bio dad would come after him for his money.

7. Jobs's biological sister is Mona Simpson, the novelist. (Give yourself two bonus fanboy points for already knowing that.) Pretty nice work for a couple that Jobs called his "sperm and egg bank."

8. Jobs once told Eric Schmidt he would "go thermonuclear" on Google -- spend all of Apple's $40 billion in cash, if necessary, to sue them over the "grand theft" of iPhone technology for use in Android.

9. Still, when Larry Page came to Jobs for counsel after being made Google CEO, Jobs generously offered it -- remembering the advice Bill Hewlett had once given him.

10. Jobs's advice to Page: Stop making mediocre products, you're turning into Microsoft. Oh, snap!

11. When he first met President Obama, Jobs berated the commander in chief, telling him he'd be a one-term president unless he made life in the United States easier for businesses. Still, he volunteered to help with Obama's 2012 campaign.

12. At the urging of Andy Warhol, Jobs presented one of the first Macintoshes to Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. Jagger had no idea who Jobs was.

13. Jobs apparently thought Jagger was either on drugs or brain damaged.

14. Why not both?

15. Jobs delayed surgery for pancreatic cancer that could have added a few more years to his life, if not longer. That is a bummer. His reason: He wanted to experiment with alternatives to Western medicine. Sometimes you pay a price for thinking different.

Finally, a word about the book's interface: Made from a technology known as "paper," the nonbacklit display is easy to read in natural light and strangely pleasant to the touch. Tapping and swiping do absolutely nothing, though the "page turning" effect is incredibly realistic.

It's amazing what they can do with technology these days.

Are you planning to buy the book or wait for the movie? Post your thoughts on the revelations about Steve Jobs below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "15 things you need to know about the Steve Jobs bio," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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