Walter Isaacson is a writer of biographies whose previous works include the life story of Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein. I find biographies to be interesting insights into public personalities and have read Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe. Recently, Isaacson completed what will likely be his biggest selling book, the authorised biography of Steve Jobs. The publisher is rushing the book to the market to capitalize on the peak in interest following Jobs’ death on October 5th. In a teaser to the book Isaacson has told of Jobs’ motivation for having his biography written.

“I wanted my kids to know me,” Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying in their final interview at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California. “I wasn’t always there for them and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.” *

Steve Jobs’ words don’t sound so much like regret but rather an explanation. He wants his kids to know him through this book. He wants them to have an explanation for why they did not know him and why he was not “there for them.” There is much we can learn from Steve Jobs. Even these words from his final interview are instructional. They can lead us to think about what we will leave behind when we pass from this life. They can lead us to ask questions about our own lives. “How well do people know me?” “Do I care whether or not people know me?” “Who are the people in my life for whom I want to ‘be there’?”

I will likely read this biography of one of the most interesting men of our time. And as I read it I will ponder the important questions of my own life.

*© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

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