I sometimes post on the general theme of Banned in [your city or company name here]: the [book, film, play, or TV program name] that [add politician, mogul name here] Doesn’t Want You to [see, read or watch]. I regret to say that Steve Jobs has forced me to break out my theme again with his idiotic and counter-productive response to what he believes is an unflattering biography, iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business.
According to the New York Times, not only has he banned the book itself from Apple stores, he has also permanently banned ALL books published by John Wiley & Sons (publishers of iCon). Wayta go, Steve! Why use moral suasion or reason when a sledgehammer will do? Seems Steve is an adherent of the J.D. Salinger School of Protecting Your Privacy. It might work for Salinger, but it ain’t gonna work for the corporate oligarch.
Jeffrey Young, co-author of
iCon says: "…He’s [Jobs] lost
it." (credit:Jeffrey Topping/NYT)
Of course, the result of his petulance is tremendous visibility and "buzz" for the book. He’s probably increased book sales 10, 20 or maybe 100 fold. I’ve never been a corporate mogul so I don’t quite understand how they think in situations like this but…if I was one, I think I’d try to find subtler ways of expressing my displeasure. When you’re of Steve Jobs’ stature everything you do has ramifications. If someone writes an unflattering book about me no one cares what I do or say about it because I’m essentially chopped liver. But when it comes to Steve Jobs, his every action is placed under a microscope. So why, if you were him would you take a "hose down" approach to the book? Is your goal to dampen interest in the book or express your pique at the writers and publisher by saying "off with their heads (at least in my domain)"?
To do my little bit to increase Steve’s discomfort, I’d like to point my readers to the John Wiley site where they can read excerpts from a chapter of the book and judge for themselves whether it merits Jobs’ displeasure.
In case you wish to defend Steve Jobs (he does have his admirers I concede), you should also review my post about the guy’s plans to tear down a California architectural landmark home in Woodside, CA. Built by George Washington Smith, one of California’s greatest architects, Jobs’ now says the mansion is an "eyesore," an "abomination" and deserves the wrecking ball (and who knows–maybe he’s become an architectural historian in his spare time?). Many disagree including the good folks at Uphold Our Heritage, a group which was formed to preserve Jackling House. I’d call this type of imperious behavior "the Imperial Steve." He seems to own the half of the world not already owned by Bill Gates. Can’t he just try to be decent instead of a surly, churlish fellow? "When will they ever learn?"