First authorized biography of Steve Jobs; ‘iSteve’ to be published in early 2012

Simon & Schuster announced on Sunday that, for the first time, an authorized biography of Steve Jobs will be published in early 2012. The book is called “iSteve: The Book of Jobs” and is written by Walter Isaacson.

Numerous unofficial biographies on the Apple CEO have been written. One parody biography was written as well, “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs – A Parody,” by Fake Steve Jobs (AKA Daniel Lyons). Not even the parody drew such ire from Jobs and Apple as did “iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business,” by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon. In 2005, Apple banned by John Wiley & Sons from its stores because of that unauthorized biography.

Walter Isaacson has reportedly been working on the long-rumored authorized biography since 2009 and has interviewed Jobs, members of his family, colleagues at Apple and rivals, too. Jonathan Karp, publisher of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement,

“This is the perfect match of subject and author, and it is certain to be a landmark book about one of the world’s greatest innovators. Just as he did with Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson is telling a unique story of revolutionary genius.”

This is the official announcement of the authorized biography. In mid-February, the New York Times posted an article, citing unnamed sources, reporting on the biography.

Although the world will definitely be interested in reading an authorized biography of Apple’s CEO, many are asking the question: who is Walter Isaacson? And how did he managed to convince Jobs, whose contempt for journalists is well-known, to give him access?

Isaacson, actually, is well known among journalists. He is 58 (Jobs is 56), and besides being former Chairman and CEO of CNN, he was also the Managing Editor of TIME (its top post). He was also appointed by President Barack Obama to be the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the other international broadcasts of the U.S. government

Isaacson has written three other biographies, including Kissinger: A Biography (1992), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003) and Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007).

As far as how he convinced Steve Jobs to allow him to write the biography, and how he won Jobs’ trust, Simon & Schuster editor-in-chief Priscilla Painton said he just “worked at it.” Persistence reportedly paid off.