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Video: Biographer: Jobs regretted delaying surgery

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    >>> authorized biography of steve jobs is about to hit stores a little more than two weeks after his death, and it includes some fascinating details about his life and his struggle with pancreatic cancer . natalie 's back with the details on that. natalie , good morning.

    >> good morning again, savannah. steve jobs was speaking with his biographer right up until a few weeks before he died. and while the book doesn't come out until monday, it is already raising questions about the choices jobs made regarding his own medical care . by all accounts, it was an extraordinary life.

    >> today, apple is going to reinvent the phone.

    >> reporter: steve jobs , the college dropout and creative genius behind apple's ipod, iphone and ipad.

    >> your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

    >> reporter: now an authorized biography, " steve jobs " by walter isaacson , sheds new light on jobs' deadly battle with cancer. he was diagnosed in 2003 with pancreatic cancer , something he spoke about in his 2005 address to stanford university graduates.

    >> turned out to be a rare form of pancreatic cancer that's curable with surgery. i had the surgery, and thankfully, i'm fine now.

    >> reporter: but as isaacson recounts in an interview to be broadcast this sunday on "60 minutes," jobs resisted getting the surgery for nine months.

    >> he tries to treat it with diet, he goes to spiritualists, he goes through various ways of doing it macrobiotically, and he doesn't get an operation.

    >> why doesn't he get it operated on immediately?

    >> you know, i've asked him that, and he said "i didn't want my body to be opened, i didn't want to be violated in that way."

    >> reporter: isaacson says jobs later regretted his choice to postpone surgery, a decision questioned by some in the medical community.

    >> there is an extreme risk in waiting to remove any pancreatic malignant tumor, whether it be one month, nine months, whether it be slow-growing or fast-growing.

    >> reporter: other revelations in the book -- jobs says he was bullied as a child, stopped going to church at age 13 and eventually studied buddhism. also, jobs was adopted and had unknowingly met his birth father, who ran a restaurant that jobs sometimes ate at. when jobs finally made the connection, he had no interest in a relationship, telling isaacson , "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."

    >> building a company is really hard.

    >> reporter: commenting on his biggest rival, bill gates , jobs said "bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented ying. he just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas." when jobs met with president obama last fall, he reportedly told him, "you're headed for a one-term presidency." despite his frustrations, he offered to help obama's 2012 campaign, something he had done in 2008 , but he had become annoyed when obama strategist david axelrod wasn't toeshlly deferential. and jobs was interviewed by isaacson 20 times for the book. he reportedly told him no subject was off limits. friends and family were also interviewed, and apparently, jobs had no editorial control here.

    >> it's going to be a fascinating read.

    >> going to be a great read.

    >> natalie , thank you.

Image: book cover image of "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson.
This image released by Simon & Schuster shows the book cover of "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson.
updated 10/21/2011 8:42:44 AM ET 2011-10-21T12:42:44

A new biography portrays Steve Jobs as a skeptic all his life — giving up religion because he was troubled by starving children, calling executives who took over Apple "corrupt" and delaying cancer surgery in favor of cleansings and herbal medicine.

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, to be published Monday, also says Jobs came up with the company's name while he was on a diet of fruits and vegetables, and as a teenager perfected staring at people without blinking.

The Associated Press purchased a copy of the book Thursday.

The book delves into Jobs' decision to delay surgery for nine months after learning in October 2003 that he had a neuroendocrine tumor — a relatively rare type of pancreatic cancer that normally grows more slowly and is therefore more treatable.

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Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He also was influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, the book says, before finally having surgery in July 2004.

Steve Jobs may have been working until day before death

Isaacson, quoting Jobs, writes in the book: "'I really didn't want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work,' he told me years later with a hint of regret."

Jobs died Oct. 5, at age 56, after a battle with cancer.

The book also provides insight into the unraveling of Jobs' relationship with Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and an Apple board member from 2006 to 2009. Schmidt had quit Apple's board as Google and Apple went head-to-head in smartphones, Apple with its iPhone and Google with its Android software.

Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the touch and other popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google's actions amounted to "grand theft."

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google's Internet-based word processing program. In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn't interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says.

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"I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want." The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.

The book is clearly designed to evoke the Apple style. Its cover features the title and author's name starkly printed in black and gray type against a white background, along with a black-and-white photo of Jobs, thumb and forefinger to his chin.

The biography, for which Jobs granted more than three dozen interviews, is also a look into the thoughts of a man who was famously secret, guarding details of his life as he did Apple's products, and generating plenty of psychoanalysis from a distance.

Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO on Aug. 24, six weeks before he died.

Doctors said Thursday that it was not clear whether the delayed treatment made a difference in Jobs' chances for survival.

"People live with these cancers for far longer than nine months before they're even diagnosed," so it's not known how quickly one can prove fatal, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

Story: Stores close as Apple employees celebrate Jobs

Dr. Michael Pishvaian, a pancreatic cancer expert at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, said people often are in denial after a cancer diagnosis, and some take a long time to accept recommended treatments.

"We've had many patients who have had bad outcomes when they have delayed treatment. Nine months is certainly a significant period of time to delay," he said.

Fortune magazine reported in 2008 that Jobs tried alternative treatments because he was suspicious of mainstream medicine.

The book says Jobs gave up Christianity at age 13 when he saw starving children on the cover of Life magazine. He asked whether his Sunday school pastor knew what would happen to them.

Jobs never went back to church, though he did study Zen Buddhism later.

Image: Steve Jobs
Paul Sakuma  /  AP
In this Sept. 5, 2007, file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Nano in San Francisco. Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Jobs comes out on Oct. 24.

Jobs calls the crop of executives brought in to run Apple after his ouster in 1985 "corrupt people" with "corrupt values" who cared only about making money. Jobs himself is described as caring far more about product than profit.

He told Issacson they cared only about making money "for themselves mainly, and also for Apple —rather than making great products."

Jobs returned to the company in 1997. After that, he introduced the candy-colored iMac computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, and turned Apple into the most valuable company in America by market value for a time.

The book says that, while some Apple board members were happy that Hewlett-Packard gave up trying to compete with Apple's iPad, Jobs did not think it was cause for celebration.

"Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they had left it in good hands," Jobs told Isaacson. "But now it's being dismembered and destroyed."

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"I hope I've left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple," he added.

Advance sales of the book have topped best-seller lists. Much of the biography adds to what was already known, or speculated, about Jobs. While Isaacson is not the first to tell Jobs' story, he had unprecedented access. Their last interview was weeks before Jobs died.

Jobs reveals in the book that he didn't want to go to college, and the only school he applied to was Reed, a costly private college in Portland, Ore. Once accepted, his parents tried to talk him out of attending Reed, but he told them he wouldn't go to college if they didn't let him go there. Jobs wound up attending but dropped out after less than a year and never went back.

Jobs told Isaacson that he tried various diets, including one of fruits and vegetables. On the naming of Apple, he said he was "on one of my fruitarian diets." He said he had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded "fun, spirited and not intimidating."

Jobs' eye for simple, clean design was evident early. The case of the Apple II computer had originally included a Plexiglas cover, metal straps and a roll-top door. Jobs, though, wanted something elegant that would make Apple stand out.

He told Isaacson he was struck by Cuisinart food processors while browsing at a department store and decided he wanted a case made of molded plastic.

He called Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, his "spiritual partner" at Apple. He told Isaacson that Ive had "more operation power" at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself — that there's no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, says Jobs, is "the way I set it up."

Jobs was never a typical CEO. Apple's first president, Mike Scott, was hired mainly to manage Jobs, then 22. One of his first projects, according to the book, was getting Jobs to bathe more often. It didn't work.

Jobs' dabbling in LSD and other aspects of 1960s counterculture has been well documented. In the book, Jobs says LSD "reinforced my sense of what was important — creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could."

He also revealed that the Beatles were one of his favorite bands, and one of his wishes was to get the band on iTunes, Apple's revolutionary online music store, before he died. The Beatles' music went on sale on iTunes in late 2010.

The book was originally called "iSteve" and scheduled to come out in March. The release date was moved up to November, then, after Jobs' death, to Monday. It is published by Simon & Schuster and will sell for $35.

Ortutay reported from New York. AP Technology Writer Peter Svensson contributed to this story from New York. AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee also contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: World reaction

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  1. Beijing

    Mourners take pictures of flowers and messages placed around an image of Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, outside the Apple store in Beijing, China on Thursday, Oct. 6. Steve Jobs, who had been suffering from pancreatic cancer died at the age of 56 on Wednesday. (Peter Trebitsch / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Frankfurt, Germany

    A picture reading "Danke, Steve" (Thank you, Steve) was placed outside of the Apple Store in remembrance of Steve Jobs on Thursday in Frankfurt. Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 and is credited, along with Steve Wozniak, with marketing the world's first personal computer in addition to the popular iPod, iPhone and iPad. (Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Munich, Germany

    A tribute placed in front of an Apple store in Munich on Thursday reads in part: "A man I did not know but whose inventions (iphone) made me confident of living in an alien country with a language i didn't know. Thank you." (Michaela Rehle / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Hong Kong

    A newspaper vendor sells copies of a newspaper in Hong Kong, on Thursday. The headline, written in Chinese, reads "Steve Jobs pass away." (Vincent Yu / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Paris

    Two apples are placed at the entrance the Apple store in Paris, Thursday. (Benoit Tessier / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Tokyo

    Takashi Udagawa, 15, a high school senior, prays after laying a bouquet of flowers in tribute to Steve Jobs in front of an Apple Store in the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo on Thursday. (Hiro Komae / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Hong Kong

    Fans leaves condolence notes at an Apple retail store in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Kin Cheung / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. London

    Tributes to Steve Jobs are placed outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, Thursday in London. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Sydney, Australia

    Pedestrians walk past a tribute to Steve Jobs outside the Apple Store in Sydney on Thursday. (Rick Rycroft / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    A Malaysian writes a note of condolence in honor of Steve Jobs at an Apple computer outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday. (Vincent Thian / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Palo Alto, Calif.

    Chetan Patwardhan, second from left, writes on the sidewalk outside the the home of Steve Jobs, alongside his daughter Anisha, left, in Palo Alto, Calif., on Wednesday. (Beck Diefenbach / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. New York City

    Passersby record a memorial to Steve Jobs in front of the Apple store on 5th Avenue, in New York City, on Thursday. The well-known glass cube entrance is currently under reconstruction. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Santa Monica, Calif.

    A woman takes a picture with of a memorial with an iPhone in front of the Apple Store in Santa Monica, Calif. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Cupertino, Calif.

    Chinese exchange students from nearby De Anza College use candles to create the Apple logo and Steve Jobs' last name in Chinese characters at a makeshift memorial for him at the Apple headquarters on Wednesday in Cupertino, Calif. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Cupertino, Calif.

    A crowd gathers at a makeshift memorial for Steve Jobs at the Apple headquarters on Wednesday in Cupertino, Calif. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Pasedena, Calif.

    An apple ommemorating the life of Steve Jobs sits outside an Apple store Wednesday in Pasadena, Calif. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Tribute to Steve Jobs
    Peter Trebitsch / EPA
    Above: Slideshow (16) Mourning Steve Jobs - World reaction
  2. Image: Apple Inc co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs picture is featured on the front page of the Apple website after his passing
    Apple via Reuters
    Slideshow (25) Mourning Steve Jobs - Life


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