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Newsweek: Steve Jobs is 'like Harry Potter'

He's a wizard among muggles, says Alan Deutschman

Steve Jobs is a wizard among muggles, says his one-time biographer and object of ire Alan Deutschman.

“Like the fictional Harry Potter, he was a misfit, raised by adoptive parents, who ultimately discovered that he was a wizard among muggles,” writes Deutschman in Newsweek.

Deutschman wrote the unauthorised Steve Jobs biography ‘iCon’ that the Apple leader hated with a vengeance.

It’s unlikely he’ll be best pleased being referred to as a Harry Potter. In the article 'Exit The King' Deutschman refers to Jobs’ birth parents as wizards and his adoptive folks as muggles. He also makes the same claim of mugglehood in Steve’s desire to “be at an elite school and obtain its validation that he was indeed a wizard rather than a muggle.”

Or indeed Deutschman’s praise of the man for “his willingness to fail, his sheer tenacity, persistence, and resiliency, his grandiose ego, his overwhelming belief in himself.”

Back in 2000 Jobs tried to force Random House CEO Peter Olson to pulp Alan Deutschman's unauthorised Jobs biog. He failed but did manage to kill extracts of the book in Vanity Fair, where Deutschman was a contributing editor.

Steve Jobs is Harry Potter says Newsweek

The Newsweek cover story suggests that “Jobs ultimately achieved what had eluded him in his early years there, from 1976 to 1985, when he was acclaimed as a visionary and a brilliant promoter but wasn’t respected as a businessman.

“Now Jobs, 56, retires, having closely rivalled (or some might say eclipsed) Bill Gates as the most highly regarded business figure of our times.

“He proved himself the ultimate willful leader, forging his singular vision through a combination of inspiration, unilateralism, and gut instinct.

Just as he did in icon, Deutschman makes much of Jobs’ hot temper and aggressive way with Apple employees:

“He found that many of the most brilliant engineers and creative types actually responded well to cruel criticism, since it reinforced their own secret belief that they weren’t living up to their vaunted potential.

“And Jobs became a master of psychological manipulation, playing the roles of both good cop and bad cop as he alternated lavish praise with terrifying scorn.”

Deutschman then goes on to take aim at Jobs’ successor, new Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“In certain ways, Steve Jobs is superficially similar to his successor as CEO, his longtime No. 2, Tim Cook: They’re intense. They’re workaholics. They’re politically liberal (though not publicly aggressive about politics). They’ve been very private about their personal lives. Cook, at 50, is only six years younger. But at a more profound level, the two men represent opposite personalities that complement each other perfectly.”

So far so good for Cook, but you get the feeling that the new Apple boss will be just as angry as his predecessor at the author.

“Cook isn’t the type who changes the world,” writes Deutschman.

“He’s the guy who makes it run on time. Just as Steve Ballmer proved to be no Bill Gates, Tim Cook is fighting the long odds.”

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