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Walter Isaacson on Steve Jobs’s Reality Distortion Field

The author of the just-published Steve Jobs biography recalls the challenges of breaking through Jobs’s reality distortion field to get at the truth

Very often, in writing this book, different people would tell me different versions of the same tale. It was like Rashomon. It even happened with Steve himself. He would tell me the same story three or four times, and each time it would be a little different. Nobody was lying or spinning. It’s just that Steve had such a strong force field that it seemed to almost distort the perceptions around him.

At one point, Steve told me that he was not invited to his daughter’s Harvard graduation, so I put in the book that he didn’t go. It turns out that he and the whole family went. I know I made some mistakes, just because people’s memories are so different. I’m sure that was also the case with Einstein or Ben Franklin, whom I also wrote about. But it’s not like I had seven people to interview about the flying-the-kite scene.