Nightly News   |  October 21, 2011

Steve Jobs: Between the lines

We bought a copy of Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, which goes on sale next week, for an early and often poignant look into the world of a brilliant man who changed our world. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

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KATE SNOW, anchor: What is sure to be a blockbuster biography comes out next week. Apple 's Steve Jobs worked with author Walter Isaacson on his life story. We were able to buy a copy, and tonight we have an early and often poignant look into the world of a brilliant man who changed the world we live in . Every time he took the stage in that trademark turtleneck, the world expected another innovation.

Mr. STEVE JOBS: Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.

SNOW: Steve Jobs was a pioneer on the cutting edge of technology, but the new biography raises questions about why he waited so long to take advantage of cutting edge science to help himself. In 2003 , he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer . Two years later he told graduates at Stanford University he had beaten it.

Mr. JOBS: Because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and, thankfully, I'm fine now.

SNOW: But author Walter Isaacson tells "60 Minutes," in an interview to be aired this Sunday, that Jobs initially resisted the surgery doctors were recommending.

Mr. WALTER ISAACSON: He tries to treat it with diet. He goes to a spiritualist. He goes to various ways of doing it macrobiotically, and he doesn't get an operation.

Mr. STEVE KROFT: Why doesn't he get it operated on immediately?

Mr. ISAACSON: You know, I've asked him that, he said 'I didn't want my body to be opened. I didn't want to be violated in that way.'

SNOW: Isaacson conducted more than 40 interviews with Steve Jobs over two years, during which Jobs revealed some family secrets. He discovered his birth father, a Syrian immigrant, ran a restaurant he once frequented. Jobs told Isaacson he had no interest in a relationship. Quote, "I was a wealthy man by then, and I didn't trust him not to try to blackmail me or go to the press about it." And while he complimented rival Bill Gates at a 2007 conference...

Mr. JOBS: Building a company's really hard.

SNOW: ...he was less generous in this biography. " Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything," Jobs said. "He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas." He saved his harshest comments for Google , saying the maker of the Android phone "ripped off the iPhone , wholesale ripped us off. Grand theft." Google declined to comment. As for why the notoriously private mogul agreed to speak so candidly, Jobs told Isaacson in August, "I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did." And there is more from that new Steve Jobs ' biography on our website, including what was on his iPod . That's at Up