Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I think as far as a biography goes, it's a masterpiece. It's quite a fascinating life that Steve Jobs packed into his 58 years. Steve Jobs was a perfectionist and he was a visionary but he was not in the game to win popularity contests. STEVEN JOHNSON: I remember thinking the day that Jobs' died, it was like well thank God we have this book coming out. And I'll be able to just go and kind of immerse myself in the story of his life and that'll...that'll be this weird way of kind of saying goodbye to him. GUY WINCH: When somebody is such a phenomenon, when somebody has such an impact on the world, you're really interested in well how did that come to be? It's like an origin story in a comic book. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: I learned a lot about him that I don't think was ever known before. I think a lot of people were really surprised by Isaacson's book. LEANDER KAHNEY: The book for me was definitely a lesson of the price you have to pay to have..to have a life that's this impactful. STEVE KROFT: It's a warts and all sort of profile. He was a real individualist who lived his life a certain way and um...a lot of people didn't like him. A lot of people didn't like him. DOUG MENUEZ: Steve had that kind of street hustler's ability to read someone's vulnerabilties like that [FINGER SNAP]. He could look at you and know what you were afraid of which is why I was personally terrified of Steve. WALTER ISAACSON: Steve called me in 2004 and I'd done a biography of Ben Franklin and was about to publish one on Einstein and he said, "Why not do me next?" I didn't realize he was sick and I didn't really turn him down I just said, "Yeah, let's do it. But let's wait 20 or 30 years till you retire." And then his wife said to me and other people said to me, "Hey if you're going to do Steve, you gotta do him now." STEVE KROFT: I hadn't done a lot of reading about Steve Jobs. I knew he was the guy behind Apple. I really didn't know much about his story at all. So I found the book really engrossing. DOUG MENUEZ: I spent 4 years documenting Steve originally for life magazine. So the book for me was a way to reexamine my own relationship with Steve and what happened back then. LEANDER KAHNEY: The material is beautifully laid out and very well written. Isaacson's a great writer. STEVEN JOHNSON: It's not a book that has a grand theory about Jobs. It really just focuses on the incredibly interesting details on his life. GUY WINCH: It's extremely surprising that this book was written cause Jobs was a control freak and wants everything to go through him. And then, suddenly, he's allowing Isaacson this incredible access to everyone around him. WALTER ISAACSON:Steve said he wanted an honest book. He said, "I've always been honest to people. When they do things bad I tell them it's bad. I want you to write an honest book." STEVE KROFT: If I had to take a guess, I don't think there was any question Walter forgot to ask him and this dialogue continued up until the time that Steve was too sick to talk. So, it was all there." JENNIFER STOCKMAN: I started my career at IBM in 1976 and Steve Jobs started in the garage in 1976. At IBM we were very fascinated by what he was doing and kind of put our nose, you know, up. We thought he's some hippie working in the garage and IBM really has nothing to worry about. STEVEN JOHNSON: Before Apple came along the computer was just this big monolithic mainframe inhuman kind of machine and everything that Apple did or all they're great successes have this incredibly human playful kind of quality. DOUG MENUEZ: Steve's all about this sort of Zen approach to simplicity and winnowing away what doesn't work to get to the beauty and the perfection. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: I mean he really had a vision of the way technology should look. You know, he just made a really sexy box. STEVEN JOHNSON: He was a strange dude and he did not lead a conventional life. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: Sometimes genius has to come from some distortion of how you see the world. I mean he did create his own reality. DOUG MENUEZ: For Steve to be a taste maker, I think he had to be incredibly opinionated and judgemental and he gave his own inner opinions and judgments a higher weight. [Laughs] WALTER ISAACSON: I very rarely saw the angry side of him, but once when he saw the proposed cover for the book I got off the plane and there were like 7 missed phone calls from Steve Jobs. You know, he started yelling at me about how ugly the cover was and he said, "I'm only gonna keep cooperating if you let me have some say over the cover." STEVEN JOHNSON: Jobs is someone I've kind of always admired so I was kind of inclined to see all these good things but man, you read some of these stories and he just was..you know he's...he was just kind of crazier than I had really grasped until I read the book. LEANDER KAHNEY: I found that really hard to read about. It was a catalogue of bad behavior really. You know, yelled at this person, screamed at that person, throw a tantrum about this, throw a tantrum about that. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: He was tone deaf in so many ways. It's like he wouldn't let any sleeping dog lie. GUY WINCH: When he came down with pancreatic cancer, it was the same blind spot operating. "I think I know what's best and noone will convice me otherwise." JENNIFER STOCKMAN: He had his own ideas about everything. You know possibly he could have lived longer too if he went to a more conventional treatment instead of trying to think he knew a better way to cure himself. WALTER ISAACSON: I think he probably regretted that but who knows whether the cancer would or would not have spread if he had operated on a few months earlier. DOUG MENUEZ: Walter's real question is, "Can you really succeed on the highest level and still be a nice guy?" LEANDER KAHNEY: Did his accomplishments require him to be a jerk? Um..this is sort of the 64 million dollar question. I don't think there's any easy answer to that. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: He just pushed and pushed and pushed for perfection and without that personality trait I'm not so sure he would have gotten the results. WALTER ISAACSON: I talked to Steve Wozniak who said, "You know, if I had run Apple, I would have wanted it to be run more like a family. We were nicer to everybody. But then Woz paused and he said, "But if I had run Apple we wouldn't have made the Macintosh." STEVE KROFT: There're no shortage of people in all walks of life who were very successful who are very demanding and have a lot of rough edges to them. I think that um..there're other people who manage to do it without those rough edges. STEVEN JOHNSON: I'm not sure it's necessary. It seems pretty clear that he became less of a tyrant as he got older and he became far more successful as he got older. WALTER ISAACSON: We all know thousands of jerks but most of them aren't geniuses so I wanted to make sure that it wasn't just a story about a guy who was intense, but here's how he channelled the intensity to be so ingenious in what he invented. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: I think he leaves a legacy in many areas. The idea that Steve Jobs bridged art and technology has made him an artist. WALTER ISAACSON: I think Steve's like Edison, or Walt Disney. People who were great at being inventive, but also applying that inventiveness to real products. STEVE KROFT: Probably he'll be remembered more like Henry Ford. Someone who brought existing technology to a new level. DOUG MENUEZ: Steve was all about making the thing better. I mean how much did your phone suck before the iPhone? GUY WINCH: He's literally taken us into the future in quantum leaps in ways that allowed us to really have the kind of life that we would have a hard time imagining 20-30 years ago. LEANDER KAHNEY: Even though his accomplishments were extraordinary, the price he paid I think is beyond the pale. JENNIFER STOCKMAN: He's so complicated and so layered that I think the legacy is only beginning to unfold.