Jul 11

Good riddance, “iSteve”

The universe has been set right again.

The legacy of Steve Jobs — master of simplicity and champion of good taste — will no longer be tarnished by a badly named biography. The book’s original title, iSteve: The Book of Jobs, is out. A vastly superior title, Steve Jobs, is in.

Whew, that was a close one.

In just five words, that original title managed to be cutesy, gimmicky and arrogant, all at once. It was hardly a fitting choice for a book of importance.

Though several articles deride the iSteve title this morning, it seemed to get away scot-free back when it was revealed. I almost felt guilty publishing my allergic reaction. Almost.

The only mystery to me is: how did iSteve ever become official in the first place? Not only was it gimmicky, it came years after Wozniak had already published his iWoz book.

Fortune reports that the original title can be blamed on Simon & Schuster’s publicity department. However, a world-renowned author like William Isaacson normally gets the final say in such matters.

As the story goes, the title was only changed after Issacson had second thoughts (meaning he did approve it in the first place). Absent in this scenario is any suggestion that Steve Jobs had an opinion — and you know how likely that is. Even if Isaacson had been granted autonomy in this project, surely he would at least sought out Steve’s counsel.

So I suspect the real story is a bit more convoluted than the one told by Fortune. Unfortunately, we’re not likely to discover the truth until some guy in Simon & Schuster’s publicity department publishes his own life story.

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  • Randolph Kirkpatrick

    Woz calling his book “iWoz” really lost him a chunk of respect in my eyes.

    As you say in your linked post, he was gone long before i-anything was created.

    You know, if only he had some simple, iconic, catchy name he could have used for a title. Like, say, “Woz”.

  • ken segall

    Funny, but that never struck me before. You are so very right. “Woz” is one of the most unique, quirky, well-known names in technology. A huge “Woz” on the cover would have been an absolutely perfect title for his life story. There was no need for him to run the risk of taking credit for things he wasn’t involved with.

  • Karen

    Awww, party pooper. Can’t Steve’s book have a fun title? Finding a little humanity in him is exactly the reason I’m so excited about this book!

    And “The Book of Jobs” is the perfect pun. Don’t throw away that golden opportunity!

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  • Ludovic

    I think “The Book of Jobs” sounds too biblical ; no self-respecting skeptic would have bought the book. (I’m joking.)

  • tony danton

    It was actually changed because “iSteve” is a trademark of Steve Sailer.

  • ken segall

    That may be, but personally I doubt it. Simon & Schuster’s legal dept. had to do a search before anything was announced publicly, and trademarks aren’t as cut-and-dry as many believe. Different industries, different uses, etc. I gravitate toward the obvious: it was a terrible, gimmicky name and the decision-makers came to their senses before they reached the point of no return. The truth may never be known….

  • BleeperzXreeperz

    Woz still does “consultations” for Apple.