Becoming Steve Jobs

Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli Crown Business, 447 pages, $30

The main point of the new biography "Becoming Steve Jobs" by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli is that Steve Jobs has been misrepresented.

Blame Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" (2011), as the authors do, for the public perception that Jobs never outgrew the managerial style of the scheming, screaming, smelly hothead he may — may — have been in his early years. Instead, Schlender and Tetzeli say in their new book, Jobs developed a mature, deliberative executive style for which he is seldom given credit, one that helped lead Apple to glorious heights.

"Becoming Steve Jobs" pays major attention to a period that the authors feel has been overlooked: the interregnum between Jobs' two stints as head of Apple. That was the time, they think, when his impulsive, impractical younger self began giving way to a much more pragmatic visionary, better equipped to lead. Since that is so much less newsworthy than the more tabloidy aspects of his story, they present it with an air of discovery.

This book's defenders at Apple say they never would have been able to work with or love or even tolerate the olfactory presence of anyone resembling the Jobs whom Isaacson initially depicts. And that they witnessed a remarkable transformation, especially after Jobs, learning he had pancreatic cancer, began fighting for his survival and spoke to graduating Stanford students so eloquently about how that battle had changed him.