By Bill Hewitt Kristen Mascia
November 07, 2011 12:00 PM

Steve Jobs

by Walter Isaacson |



The death of Apple’s celebrated founder a month ago elicited a public outpouring of grief, the kind usually reserved for major political figures or beloved entertainers. But while the fruits of Jobs’s labor were in evidence everywhere, much about the private man remained unknown. Isaacson’s superb biography, undertaken with the cooperation of his subject, fills in the picture, exploring the perfectionism, among other things, that helped make Jobs so successful. (When designing the case for the early Apple II computer, for instance, Jobs was offered 2,000 shades of beige from which to choose. None satisfied him.) Isaacson-former managing editor of Time magazine, which, like PEOPLE, is a Time Inc. publication-has enormous admiration for Jobs’s genius, yet the book isn’t the work of a besotted fan. It leaves no doubt that the brilliant innovator could also be a colossal jerk, one who bullied underlings and many others who crossed his path, not to mention a cad who abandoned the out-of-wedlock daughter he fathered in his 20s (they later reconciled). Fortunately for Jobs, his legacy rests not on such ugliness but on the pretty gadgets he brought forth that helped transform our world.

The Marriage Plot

by Jeffrey Eugenides |



In his first book since 2002’s Pulitzer winner Middlesex, Eugenides tells the story of Mitchell, Madeleine and Leonard, three brilliant Brown grads entangled in a post-college love triangle. As his protagonists confront the hard realities of adulthood, Eugenides captures the electric atmosphere of early-’80s, postmodernist-influenced Ivy League academia in gorgeous prose; it’s a delightful challenge to keep up. Though the narrative sometimes lags and the ending doesn’t quite satisfy, the beauty and intelligence of Eugenides’s writing make Plot a rewarding read.