Review: Steve Jobs' official biography

From the start, Walter Isaacson's latest work was highly anticipated. This is the first time ever Steve Jobs had authorised a biography of himself. In the lead up to its release, the tech world snatched up any snippets it could find, hoping that quotes directly from the man himself would draw in the hits. The book had already been announced before his death, but after that the publishers decided to kick things up a notch by bringing the release date closer and adding in more pages. It was clear that this was going to be big.

It's made certain from the very beginning that Steve didn't play any role in the editing of the book. Jobs chose Isaacson because he thought he was "good at getting people to talk". His wife also encouraged Isaacson to go all out, saying: "He's good at spin, but he also has a remarkable story, and I'd like to see that it's all told truthfully."

The results are astounding. Jobs is laid out open for all to see. The reality distortion field (RDF), famously used to persuade loyal fans, reveals itself throughout his life both inside and outside of work. Isaacson notes that Jobs' stories don't always match up with reality, and at several points in the book Jobs is shown to have outright lied. Critics have long accused him of doing this in keynotes, but he even did it to friends and colleagues.

Many readers, myself included, would probably think they know the story of Jobs well enough. But Isaacson digs deeper and exposes the human side, the side never made public while he was alive. Sources speculate that Jobs suffered from a feeling of abandonment throughout his life, stemming from his parents giving him up for adoption. Personal accusations like these are left open, and the book clearly makes an effort to give both sides of events. Was he a good person? It's left to you to decide.

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