Steve Jobs Movie: Fact vs. Fiction

Naturally many people have asked my opinion about the Danny Boyle/Aaron Sorkin movie that tried to sum up the man’s life in two hours and two minutes. In addition to being an Apple enthusiast I am also a movie buff, so of course I saw it when it came out. It is in the news again this week with two Golden Globe wins and two Oscar nominations.

The problem with the movie is that a lot of it is fiction. We’re sure of that. Some of the things that happen in the movie were shifted in time to make it seem like they were happening right before major Apple announcements. Like, minutes before, with people that weren’t really there. In reality, those events were stretched out over years and in different places. I doubt that Jobs really did much in the minutes leading up to his talks other than go over his notes. And according to some of the real people that are portrayed in the movie, lots of things were simply fabricated. I hate to think of all of the people who saw the movie who didn’t get realize that the script is fiction.

So we are starting to get knee-deep in Steve Jobs stories that contradict each other. Which is already leaving people wondering what really happened and what was he really like.

I think a lot of people are going with the Walter Isaacson book as the closest to truth. But I’m not so sure. I think Isaacson is an honest biographer, but ome of his interviewees may have gotten a bit creative with their stories.

For me, I’ll go with Steve Wozniak’s book, iWoz from 2006. Of course this is a book about Wozniak’s life, and a good book at that. But Jobs is a prominent character as you can imagine. And many of the most famous stories are recounted in iWoz. Since Jobs never wrote a book himself, I take Wozniak’s writing to be the most definitive. Go check it out if you haven’t already.

Did you see the movie? What did you think? Did you read Isaacson’s book? Or Wozniak’s?

Comments: 9 Responses to “Steve Jobs Movie: Fact vs. Fiction”

    Bill (William)
    1/20/16 @ 3:04 am

    Agree with you about Walter Isaacson although his biography of Einstein tries to get behind the scientist to the man. Maybe the biography of Jobs is the same?

    Fred Nelson
    1/21/16 @ 10:56 am

    The movie over dramatized stories related to his marriage and greatly understated his fantastic ability to revolutionize the computer industry by insisting on making computers available to everyone.

    Adam Snyder
    1/21/16 @ 10:59 am

    Haven’t seen the movie yet, but I really enjoyed reading Isaacson’s book. Any material (books, movies, etc.) about one of best visionaries of all times will defiantly be worth the effort put forth watching/reading.

    1/21/16 @ 11:21 am

    Yes, the Danny Boyle film was dramatization and the typical Hollywood spin on facts. The nominations come for the acting, and that good Irish boy Fassbender did I his usual superb job. For accuracy, however, I prefer the recent CNN doc on Steve, “The Man in the Machine,” which rightly de-mythologises and diminishes the inexplicable idolisation of this man, a hugely significant but mere marketing genius.

    1/21/16 @ 11:34 am

    Not seen the movie yet but read Isaacson’s book – bought from iBooks and read on my iPad – way to go Steve! Decent book. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs as they say and there’s no doubt that Steve had to break a few to achieve what he did. The guy was a visionary, a genius perhaps, and no movie or book, regardless of spin, interpretation or any put downs can ever detract from that. Haven’t read the iWoz but will now check it out.

    Chris Harnish
    1/21/16 @ 12:24 pm

    I thought that the movie was a deep distortion of SJ’s life.
    Yes, he was an arrogant jerk at times, but the movie showed none of his brilliance and inspiration that created Apple and Pixar and changed the world.
    I have no doubt that he was an extremely demanding boss, who you did not want to let down. Somehow in that demandingness he was able to inspire and motivate people to do the best work of their lives. It must have been challenging and thrilling to work for him.

    1/22/16 @ 7:28 am

    Movies are about making money. What does truth have to do with it, right? It’s sad that they have to tarnish someone’s reputation to make the movie interesting to the general public.

    1/22/16 @ 8:51 am

    The movie was in it’s own “Reality Distortion Field”

    1/22/16 @ 1:39 pm

    There was also the first movie, may have been a made for TV movie,
    “Jobs” starring Ashton Kutcher, who incidentally physically looked just like Jobs.

    I thought that was a fair and balanced account of the early Apple and Jobs years.
    But of course I have no real way of knowing. His good friend “the Woz” probably would be the most accurate account.
    Will get his book,
    thanx for the info.

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