Years after his death, Steve Jobs remains as relevant as ever. Apple's former CEO continues to inspire those inside and outside his technology empire with his vision, passion, and ideas.
Some claim that Jobs was a harsh leader, others that he was selfish. But current CEO Tim Cook can prove otherwise. When the future leader of Apple offered his boss a partial liver in the late stages of Jobs' battle with pancreatic cancer, he was met with wholehearted refusal.
In a new biography entitled Becoming Steve Jobs, co-authors Rick Tetzeli, executive editor at Fast Company, and Brent Schlender describe how Cook offered to save Jobs' life in 2009.
Jobs was seriously ill at the time and suffering from ascites, a severe side effect of cancer. He needed a liver transplant. Cook, his mentee and future leader of Apple, was curious to see whether he was a match for Jobs' rare blood type. A few tests later, he discovered that he was.
Cook then offered to donate a portion of his liver to Jobs, a process that ultimately proved difficult, not because he was in poor health or feared surgical complications, but because Jobs would not let him do it.
"He cut me off at the legs, almost before the words were out of my mouth," Cook recalled in an excerpt of the book on Fast Company. "'No,' he said. 'I'll never let you do that. I'll never do that.'"
"I said, 'Steve, I'm perfectly healthy, I've been checked out. Here's the medical report. I can do this and I'm not putting myself at risk, I'll be fine,'" Cook continued. "And he doesn't think about it. It was not, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' It was not, 'I'll think about it.' It was not, 'Oh, the condition I'm in …' It was, 'No, I'm not doing that!'"
Cook said that Jobs' response to his offer, made at a time "when things were just terrible" for him, reflected the true nature of his character.
"Somebody that's selfish doesn't reply like that," said Cook. Jobs only yelled at him four or five times during the 13 years they knew one another, he admitted. That was one of them.
Jobs eventually did receive a liver transplant later that year, which saved his life and allowed him to continue his leadership at Apple. Despite the doctors' positive outlook, he continued to suffer health complications. Jobs resigned from his post in August 2009, strongly urging Apple's board to name Cook as his replacement.
Read Becoming Steve Jobs in its entirety when the book appears in stores on March 24.
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