Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 11:13 am.
The other Steve Jobs biography: “Return to the Little Kingdom”
Steve Jobs’ official biography, by former Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson, will now be released on Oct. 24, about a month earlier than anticipated. Since news of Jobs’ death yesterday, its pre-sales have soared 40,000% on Amazon, and it’s currently the site’s best-selling book.
But there’s another book about Steve and the early days of Apple that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, probably because it’s so old: “Return to the Little Kingdom,” by journalist-turned-venture capitalist Michael Moritz, first published in 1984 and re-released in 2009. (And ranked no. 8,990 on Amazon right now.)
I’ve been reading it on-and-off for the last year or so — it’s excellent, but I keep getting sidetracked — and have enjoyed the incredible detail from Jobs’ childhood, his love for electronics, his personality quirks, his barefootedness, drugs and girls, Apple’s creation, how Steve used to deal with the press, and some of the early battles that Steve dealt with at Apple.
(And some funny little bits. For instance: The time he collect-called the PR department of an electronics company to get supplies. Or Steve talking about LSD. “It was great. I had been listening to a lot of Bach. All of a sudden the wheat field was playing Bach. It was the most wonderful experience of my life up to that point. I felt like the conductor of this symphony with Bach coming through the wheat field.”)
It obviously doesn’t cover the recent stuff in detail — Jobs’ return to Apple, its incredible rise in popularity, the iPhone and iPad, etc. (There’s a brief epilogue for the book’s re-release, but that’s it.) So the new biography will be seen as the canonical one. But if you like reading about Apple and Steve Jobs, I highly recommend “Return to the Little Kingdom.”