But in the 12 months since, as high-profile books have probed Jobs' life and career, that reputation has evolved somewhat. Nobody has questioned Jobs' seismic impact on computing and our communication culture. But as writers have documented Jobs' often callous, controlling personality, a fuller portrait of the mercurial Apple CEO has emerged. "Everyone knows that Steve had his 'rough' side. That's partially because he really did have a rough side and partially because the rough Steve was a better news story than the human Steve," said Ken Segall, author of "Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success."
Nineteen days after Jobs' death, Walter Isaacson's much-awaited biography of the Apple leader hit stores and immediately became the top-selling book in the country. In "Steve Jobs," Isaacson crafted a compelling narrative of how Jobs' co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, got pushed out of the struggling company a decade later and then returned in the late 1990s to begin one of the most triumphant second acts in the annals of American business. But he also spent many pages chronicling the arrogant, cruel behavior of a complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. According to the book, Jobs would often berate employees whose work he didn't like. He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or "sh-t."
"Among Apple employees, I'd say his reputation hasn't changed one bit. If anything, it's probably grown because they've realized how central his contributions were," Lashinsky said. "History tends to forgive people's foibles and recognize their accomplishments. When Jobs died, he was compared to Edison and Henry Ford and to Disney. I don't know what his place will be in history 30, 40, 50 years from now. And one year is certainly not enough time (to judge).""