New Biography of Apple's Steve Jobs Paints Complex Portrait

Walter Isaacson sees a visionary who could be mean

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Originally slated for release in 2012, the first authorized biography of Steve Jobs hits bookstores today, its publication moved up after the Oct. 5 death of the Apple, Inc. co-founder.

[Check out photos of Steve Jobs through the years.]

The book provides a glimpse into Jobs's famously private life and the equally secretive company he helped found and grow to epic proportions. Through more than 40 exclusive conversations, author Walter Isaacson crafts an intimate profile of Jobs as a fierce entrepreneur, brilliant inventor, and shrewd businessman, the Associated Press reports.

"Steve Jobs takes off the rose-colored glasses that often follow an icon's untimely death and instead offers something far more valuable: The chronicle of a complex, brash genius who was crazy enough to think he could change the world—and did," AP's Barbara Ortutay writes.

U.S. News's Rick Newman ranked Steve Jobs among the greatest business leaders in American history alongside pioneers such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and John D. Rockefeller saying Jobs was indisputably "a titan of the digital era" and "a visionary."

[Vote: Is Apple Doomed Without Jobs?]

While Jobs arguably revolutionized the way people use personal computers, mobile phones, and music players with cutting-edge products, he was also known to be stubborn and brusque, a facet of Jobs's personality author Walter Isaacson highlighted in an interview with 60 Minutes's Steve Kroft Sunday.

"He was very petulant. He was very brittle. He could be very, very mean to people at times," Isaacson said in the interview.

The book also gives readers an unprecedented look into Jobs's personal life. Despite being at the helm of one of the most successful businesses in the world, Jobs led a simple life. Isaacson describes the Jobs family home as paradoxically normal. "No big winding driveway. No big security fences," Isaacson said in the interview. "You could walk into the back garden in the back gate, and open the back door to the kitchen, which used to not be locked. It was a normal family home."

[Read: Where Steve Jobs Ranks Among the Greats.]

Jobs's biography also explores his roots. Given up for adoption at birth, Jobs would later deny his daughter Lisa, who was conceived out of wedlock, for years, the AP reports. He also had a biological sister who wasn't given up for adoption and whom he didn't know until reaching out to her years later.

Nevertheless, Jobs left an indelible mark on the world of technology and on the way people around the world interact with technology. "In the end, it's a rich portrait of one of the greatest minds of our generation," Ortutay writes.

mhandley@usnews.com