Walter Isaacson’s biography, "Steve Jobs
," provides readers with a detailed look at the life of the man behind some of today’s most popular technology products. On the opposite end of the biography spectrum is a new graphic novel, "The Zen of Steve Jobs." Instead of looking at every major detail of Jobs’ life, author Caleb Melby examines a single aspect – Jobs’ relationship with Kobun Chino Otogawa, a Zen Buddhist monk.
The book isn’t a traditional biography, even when readers look beyond the beautifully illustrated graphics used to help tell the story.
“The 'Zen of Steve Jobs' is a reimagining of the friendship between Jobs and Kobun. Kobun emigrated to the U.S. from Japan in the early 1970s. He was an innovator, lacked appreciation for rules and was passionate about art and design. Kobun was to Buddhism as Jobs was to technology: a renegade and maverick.” Source: Wiley
Although it is a reimagining instead of an exact account of the relationship between the Apple co-founder and a Zen Buddhist monk, Melby and illustrator JESS3 do a wonderful job of melding the story of the friendship with what consumers know of Jobs.
My favorite example of this is when Kobun provides instruction to Jobs on kinhin, a slow circular walk that is designed “to calm the mind and release the legs from tense or tiredness that may occur while sitting.” Source: Zenki.com
Although kinhin is a Zen Buddhist tradition, it became an integral part of the first generation iPod when Jobs used the kinhin as inspiration for the design of the iPod’s navigation wheel. This is just one example of how Job’s relationship with Kobun benefitted Apple as a company.
If you’re searching for a different type of Steve Jobs biography then I would definitely recommend "The Zen of Steve Jobs." The book is available in print and e-book formats from Amazon.com, the Apple iTunes store and other popular retailers.