Last week Apple pulled from the shelves all the books from publisher John Wiley & Sons from shelves of the Apple Stores.
You’ve seen Wiley books in every book and computer store in the US. They’re they famous “For Dummies” books (along with many other popular series).
Why did Apple pull the books from each store? Because publisher Wiley is selling a new, unauthorized biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
The book in question is Jeffrey young’s “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business.”
The new book offers details and insights into Jobs second rise to power at Apple beginning back in early 1997 when the Cupertino computer maker bought his software company, NeXT.
Young also chronicles the founding of NeXT, iMac and iPod development, and offers some information about Pixar, Steve’s “other company” (arguably, the best animation film maker in the world).
Why? Obviously, Steve Jobs doesn’t want the world to read much more about Steve Jobs. The author, Jeffrey Young, also wrote, “Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward,” considered by some to be an unflattering view of Apple’s CEO.
Why? Revenge comes to mind. So does the title of the book, “iCon…” The “i” is used far too often in Apple nomenclature these days, stemming from the first iMac, now to iDVD, iMovie, iCal, iWork, iLife, and even iPod.
“Con” carries a different connotation, though. As in “snake oil salesman.” Perhaps it reminds one of a “con man.” That perspective is opposed to “icon” which carries a number of additional meanings.
Icon usually means a pictorial representation, or a conventional religious image, or an object of uncritical devotion.
Hmmmm. Steve Jobs is certainly an “icon” in the traditional sense.
Anyone who’s been exposed to Apple’s iconic leader’s famed “Reality Distortion Field™” knows that there’s probably some “con” mixed in with the religious fervor on display each January at the Macworld Convention in San Francisco.
By most accounts, the latest book, “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business” is a flattering view of Jobs’ accomplishments in turning Apple around since 1997.
So, what’s with pulling all of John Wiley’s computer books from Apple’s store shelves?
Why? Revenge. Anyone who’s followed Steve’s career as head of anything, Apple, NeXT, Pixar, Apple has heard he’s a control freak.
To paraphrase Seinfeld’s notorious Soup Nazi, “No shelves for you!”
Since he can’t control what a publisher publishes and what a writer writes, he seeks to control what he can. Book shelves in Apple’s stores.
It’s unlikely that the Stores would have carried Young’s new book anyway. It’s a book not about computers so much as it is about Jobs, where he is, where he’s been, and what he does—than it is about computers.
Maybe the book should be titled “Becoming A CEO For Dummies.”
As a long time Apple owner, Mac user, Apple watching, and Jobs admirer, am I perturbed by Apple’s actions (removing the publisher’s books from Apple stores)?
Yes, but not much. The whole incident is in keeping with Jobs’ persona so it doesn’t come as a surprise.
Of course, removing the books from store shelves resulted in numerous web and print articles about the action, about Jobs, about the book, including this one.
My first response was to check out Amazon. Yes, I bought the book. It’ll get here some time in May. I also bought Young’s earlier book, “Steve Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward.” And Lee Butcher’s “Accidental Millionaire: The Rise and Fall of Steve Jobs.”
Do I care that Steve has obviously thrown a petty tantrum and taken out frustrations on a book publisher? Naw. They can take it. The extra publicity alone is probably worth real promotional cash.
As long as Apple keeps putting out insanely great products and leading the pack, short of murder (I can think of a couple of exceptions already) I’m not going to worry about a couple of highly public personality quirks.
It makes for good reading for the interesting times in which we live.