New book: Tim Cook offered Steve Jobs part of his liver.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Offered Liver to Dying Boss Steve Jobs (But He Refused)

Apple CEO Tim Cook Offered Liver to Dying Boss Steve Jobs (But He Refused)

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March 14 2015 10:36 AM

Apple CEO Tim Cook Offered Liver to Dying Boss Steve Jobs (But He Refused)

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Tim Cook and Steve Jobs answer questions after Jobs introduced new versions of the iMac and iLife applications on Aug. 7, 2007, in Cupertino, California.

Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images

A biography about Steve Jobs that is being released later this month reveals current Apple CEO Tim Cook once unsuccessfully tried to convince his dying boss to take part of his liver. In Becoming Steve Jobs, Cook reveals new details about his close relationship with his boss, including the time in January 2009 when he was so upset about his friend’s illness that he decided to get a blood test to see if he could be a possible donor to the ailing Jobs.

According to the book (excerpted by Fast Company):

One afternoon, Cook left the house feeling so upset that he had his own blood tested. He found out that he, like Steve, had a rare blood type, and guessed that it might be the same. He started doing research, and learned that it is possible to transfer a portion of a living person’s liver to someone in need of a transplant. About 6,000 living-donor transplants are performed every year in the United States, and the rate of success for both donor and recipient is high. The liver is a regenerative organ. The portion transplanted into the recipient will grow to a functional size, and the portion of the liver that the donor gives up will also grow back.

After undergoing a series of tests, Cook approached Jobs with the idea, but he quickly refused. “He cut me off at the legs, almost before the words were out of my mouth,” said Cook. “ ‘No,’ he said. ‘I'll never let you do that. I'll never do that.’ ” Cook says in the book that the reaction exemplifies why those who say Jobs was selfish have it completely backward. “Somebody that’s selfish,” Cook said, “doesn’t reply like that.” Cook tried to insist but Jobs wouldn’t hear it. “Steve only yelled at me four or five times during the 13 years I knew him, and this was one of them,” Cook said.

Walter Isaacson’s 2011 bestselling Jobs biography was broadly seen as a balanced take on the Apple co-founder’s life. But those who knew him have long said it didn’t give the full picture. “One core concept of Becoming Steve Jobs is setting the record straight following Walter Isaacson’s financially successful, but oft-maligned, Jobs biography,” notes Cult of Mac, which also published several excerpts from the book.

“I thought the Isaacson book did [Jobs] a tremendous disservice,” Cook says in the book. “It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality. You get the feeling that [Jobs was] a greedy, selfish egomaniac. It didn’t capture the person. The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time. Life’s too short.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.