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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Who Was the Real Steve Jobs?; Interview with Mario Batali
Aired October 26, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight he was an American original. A visionary businessman who changed the world.
STEVE JOBS, APPLE FOUNDER AND CEO: An iPod. A phone. An Internet communicator.
MORGAN: Who is the real Steve Jobs?
WALTER ISAACSON, AUTHOR, "STEVE JOBS": He's a risk taker, a gambler, charismatic, compelling.
MORGAN: Brilliant and abrasive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would -- if somebody said something stupid, instead of saying, I'm not sure I agree with you, he'd say, that's the stupidest, blank, blank, blank idea I have ever heard.
MORGAN: Tonight we'll talk to the man that Jobs picked to tell his story. It might just change the way you look at a legend.
JOBS: Your time is limited. So don't waste it living someone else's life.
MORGAN: And top chef.
Nice to meet.
MARIO BATALI, CELEBRITY CHEF: Nice to meet you, my friend.
MORGAN: From a tiny Italian joint downtown to a global food empire and TV career. I'll ask Mario Batali to dish on his past and competition, even his own waistline.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Joining us is Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of the biography, "Steve Jobs."
ISAACSON: Good to be here.
MORGAN: And a real firestorm. It's top of the charts. It's selling like hot cakes. It's causing huge debate. And you'd expect all that because Steve Jobs is one of the great American business icons in history.
It's a fascinating book. And when I plucked out some of the adjectives you use to describe him -- petulant, obnoxious, rude, selfish, nasty, ruthless -- and I'm not surprised. Nothing I know about Steve Jobs surprises me that he would be all those things.
I would add, and I'm sure you would, brilliant, mercurial.
ISAACSON: A genius.
MORGAN: You know, a genius.
MORGAN: Can you be a genius without being all these things?
ISAACSON: You know I used to work at this network, and I work for Ted Turner, and I think every one of those adjectives applied to him. But he was able to create something totally now. And with Steve, every person I talked to, especially those who loved him the most, who worked with him closest, they'd always tell you the Steve story. About the time he bit their head off.
But I'd try really hard in the book to make sure everybody understands that that was -- if you're wearing velvet gloves, it's hard to make a dent in the universe. He actually got people to do things that they never thought they could do just by inspiring them and sometimes berating them but I think people understood it of him.
MORGAN: He came to you a number of years ago.
MORGAN: Some thought at the time very arrogantly, and said, you know, you've done Einstein, you've done Franklin, you've done Kissinger. I want you to do my book. And, you know, I guess your natural reaction was you didn't know that he was sick with cancer although he did. It would have been, well, presumptuous maybe, you know -- you're not even in your 40s.
What was your reaction when he first came to you?
ISAACSON: Well, you're right. Precisely that. You know, I said, hey, you know, you're my age. You know, in 20 years or 30 years or so I'd love to do a biography. And you know he was in an up and down career. And it wasn't really until 2009 that I figured out and his wife told me, OK, you ought to do it now.
And that's when he had just had his liver transplant. And of course being Steve the minute I said, yes, I'd really love to do it, I think he had trepidations and second thoughts so we spent a lot of 2009 going back and forth.
MORGAN: But a fascinating time to sit down with him -- with a man who probably knew he was dying. This is man who has got very bad pancreatic cancer, he's trying a few things. Interesting in the book when you say he tried too many alternative treatments and probably could have saved himself if he hadn't done that. But typical of the man, I would guess.
ISAACSON: I'm not sure he would have saved himself. And very typical of the man. There are two sides of Steve Jobs. Sort of this rebel counterculture, child of the -- you know, the hippy period, and he's always trying alternative new things but also the scientific technological geek.
So he's doing the most advanced forms of medicine, and he's studying both of these as he decided to how to treat himself. I think that, you know, he never really thought, I don't think, that the cancer was going to catch him. Up until almost the end he thought he was going to stay, as he put it, one lily pad ahead of the cancer.
Because he was doing targeted therapy, based on gene sequencing, and every time the cancer would mutate he'd find a new bullet -- a new way to stop it. So, you know, even though he was facing his mortality, even though even before he had cancer he used to talk about life being an arc.
You're born and you die. I think that that magical optimistic thinking he had up until the end he thought he was going to beat the cancer.
MORGAN: You had a remarkable amount of time with him. Over 40 interviews you did with Steve Jobs which is probably more time than anybody has had, I would imagine, with that brain outside of his immediate family and closest friends. The obvious questions to me when I finished the book is did you like him?
ISAACSON: I did. In fact --
MORGAN: Was he likable?
ISAACSON: He was compelling and likable because when you first meet him, you're afraid, OK, you've heard all the tales. And I saw it every now and then. I'd be walking around with him whether it was in a restaurant or in a hotel or in a group of people, he would, if somebody said something stupid, instead of saying, I'm not sure I agree with you, he'd say, that's the stupidest, blank, blank, blank idea I have ever heard. And you'd be a little taken aback.
MORGAN: But you saw him do that, and this is where I have a problem with the way that he was. I've always thought you can judge people in two caps. Those who are polite to waitresses and those who are rude to waitresses.
And I think you tell a story of how you -- you know, you've seen him be rude to waitresses. And I'm like, a man of his power and his wealth, to be rude to a waitress serving a table, to me hard to like that kind of person. Admire and --
MORGAN: You know, and salute him and all the rest of it, but likable?
ISAACSON: Well, you know, there are certain types of behavior you don't like. But after a while you talk to him about it, he said, you know, that woman didn't want to be doing that job in that way or that but -- and he just rationalizes it.
I think that if you want to judge everybody by their politeness, you'd find a whole bunch of nice clubbable friends, you probably wouldn't find a whole lot of geniuses in the mix.
MORGAN: Was he driven essentially by perfectionism? Is that what it was all about, you think?
ISAACSON: I think he had an artistic sensibility. And just like a Picasso or a Bob Dylan, or whatever it may be, driven by the power of perfection and almost a poetic sensibility, as I said a moment ago, there's that sort of emotional sentimental romantic side of him and there's a (INAUDIBLE) hardcore business side of him, and I think he was driven by connecting the two.
Whatever he did, even when it came to, you know, being tough on the people around him, that instilled such a loyalty and a passion that -- you know, it was a bonding thing. He said that's the price of admission for being in the room which is --
MORGAN: And --
ISAACSON: I get to say you're full of it, you got to say I'm full of it, and we create the best thing --
MORGAN: I get that. And I've worked for Rupert Murdoch.
MORGAN: I've worked for people like that.
MORGAN: And when you've worked for these people, yes, they are all of those adjectives that I read out earlier about Steve Jobs but they're also automatically charismatic because of who they are, and often very inspiring because they tend to work harder than anybody else. They're driven. They're creative.
MORGAN: They take risks. They're gamblers. They're all the things that most people would like to be but actually tend not to be in life.
ISAACSON: And you just described Steve Jobs, I mean, perfectly. He's a risk taker. A gambler. Charismatic. Compelling. And --
MORGAN: Control freak? I mean even --
ISAACSON: Absolutely. MORGAN: Didn't he even choose his own cover?
ISAACSON: I got chewed out -- I mean the one time I really got chewed out is because he said, I'm going to have no control over this book. I'm not going to read it, said, I don't want it to feel like an in-house book. I don't want it to -- you know, you're going to put things in there, I'm not going to like but that's good because it's not going to feel like some commissioned in-house book.
But then there was the cover design that my publisher put out in the catalog. He looked at it and said in very short, snippy words, that it was the worst thing he'd ever seen. And -- you know, and he had some merit to it.
And after yelling at me for a while, I'm holding the phone like this, he says, I'm not going to keep cooperating unless you allow me to have some input into the cover. I thought for maybe one second or one and a half seconds, I said, sure. I mean a guy with a great design eye. But I saw that sort of artistic passion.
MORGAN: I mean he's a very clean Apple-style cover.
ISAACSON: And now we spent a lot --
MORGAN: If you were designing a book cover for the boss of Apple, it would be that. Lots of --
ISAACSON: And I will not show you the one we designed before that because it just shows how bad we were at designs.
MORGAN: And he was right, you think?
ISAACSON: You just said so.
MORGAN: I mean I like that cover.
MORGAN: To me it instantly grabs you. It's like one of his products.
ISAACSON: It's just like an Apple product.
MORGAN: It's simple, it's clean, but it's fascinating.
ISAACSON: You know Johnny Ive, probably.
ISAACSON: And the wonderful guy from, you know, Britain, and he says that the drive toward simplicity means that you really have to understand the depths of something. You can't just remove a lot of buttons and then it becomes simple. And that was the essence of the Johnny Ive-Steve Jobs design sensibility.
MORGAN: Just reading the book, it doesn't sound like he was the world's best engineer. It sounds to me -- I've always thought about Steve Jobs that -- and I felt this strongly when he died and all the (INAUDIBLE) were coming in as this great, you know, engineer, and I thought well, actually, his genius, it seemed to, partly was marketing. This was one of the great marketers I've ever seen.
ISAACSON: Awesome. Awesome.
MORGAN: And (INAUDIBLE), and ruthless in the sense that, you know, when I saw these first models come out of all his products, you knew he deliberately left a few things off, that everyone would want but wouldn't desperately need immediately but they would all the moment he put them on the next version of that model they'd all rush out and buy that, too.
And that is brilliant marketing. But it's manipulative, it's cynical.
ISAACSON: You know, you had Woz on the show a couple of nights ago.
MORGAN: Yes. He's the engineering genius, right?
ISAACSON: And as Steve said he's 50 times better than any engineer that Steve has ever met, Steve Jobs has ever met. He said, Woz could do meetings in his head. So they are young kids. And they're -- you know, Steve is -- Wozniak has created a blue box. It allows you to rip off the company by making long distance calls.
And they're giving it away, and then Steve Jobs, he says, no, no, I can put a case around it and we can market it. Likewise, when Woz comes up with the circuit board, that becomes the Apple I circuit board, you know, it is a brilliant design, you know, using the microprocessors and really juicing them up to do great things. But it's Jobs who says, all right, we're getting a case for it. We're going to get a power supply.
MORGAN: Yes. And then -- but it's not a brilliant design, it's a brilliant piece of engineering.
ISAACSON: Correct. That's it. I'm sorry.
MORGAN: What Jobs brings -- because this is Lennon and McCarthy, it's like all these greats double acts where --
MORGAN: Either -- you know, if you have one or the other, but it would never be as great as the sum of both parts.
ISAACSON: You know, when you say Lennon and McCarthy, you remind me -- there's a part in the book I love and part of -- a moment I had with Steve in his living room where they are listening to the bootleg tapes he had of "Strawberry Fields" being created. John Lennon is doing it and McCartney is whiffing on it with him.
I mean if you've ever heard this, it's like 15 different takes they do. And they'd hit a wrong cord and they'd rewind, and Steve would say, that's exactly like I love doing at Apple and with Woz, and with the people who are always fighting which we almost have it done and then we'd rewind and make it more perfect.
So I think Woz and Steve were that way. Johnny Ive and Steve were that way. Lennon and McCartney were that way.
MORGAN: Fascinating. Let's have a break, come back and talk about what I think drives Steve Jobs throughout his life and that's his extraordinary upbringing. Abandoned as a young man and then what happens next in the search for his real parents. I mean it's a gripping part of his life I think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOBS: Today for the first time ever I'd like to let Macintosh speak for itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Steve Jobs in 1984 unveiling the first Macintosh computer. He looked so dashing there. Didn't he? He was a kind of D'Artagnan of the computer world, and that was I think part of his appeal. I remember that launch and just feeling so excited because there was the showman. This man was not your conventional geek.
ISAACSON: And the show, he was a great impresario, too. He choreographed everything about that, everything from the lighting to the poor Macintosh team that had staggered across the finish line just a couple of weeks earlier to get the coding done. He said, now we have to do the launch, make Macintosh speak.
I think that one of the things he sort of invented among the 20,000 others was that notion of the product launch where the clouds part, the light shines down and the crowd sings "Hallelujah."
MORGAN: It's like -- he was like, when I watch Michael Jackson doing a show, it was like that, only for computers. Making it an event, making it exciting, building the hype, marketing it, promoting it. All these things but what he was brilliant at.
What I want to get to with him is how much of this was driven by the fact that he was basically abandoned at birth. He was given away by his real parents. And just reading the book it becomes a kind of a surging crusade for him to try and find his real parents. Tell me about that.
ISAACSON: I remember walking in his old neighborhood. He was walking and showing me the house when he was 6 or 7 years old. He said, I went across the street and sat on this lawn and Lisa McMueller (ph) who lived across the street said to me, so you've been adopted. That means your real parents didn't want you. You're abandoned.
And he said, I ran back into my house and I -- you know, saw my parents and I was crying. These are Paul and Clara Jobs, (INAUDIBLE) couple that had adopted him. And asked about that. And they said no, we specifically picked you out. You were chosen.
So I think he says to me that part of growing up wasn't just feeling a little bit of a hole like, do I fit here because, you know, I wasn't born into this but feeling chosen and special. I think there was always a little bit of a hole in him. He would tell his college friends. He would tell his friends in the early days of Apple, I feel something is missing in me.
And I think that's why he finally does go on a quest to find his birth mother.
MORGAN: And it's fascinating, he tries to find his mother and is successful. Tell me about that.
ISAACSON: He finally gives up after he had hired a detective, couldn't find the mother. But he sees on his birth certificate the name of a doctor in San Francisco. So he calls the doctor and the doctor said, doctor who had sheltered unwed mothers including Steve Jobs', you know, 25, 30 years earlier, and the doctor says to him, no, all my records were destroyed. I can't tell you who your mother was, but that's not true.
The doctor was actually lying and that night the doctor wrote a letter and said, "To be delivered to Steve Jobs upon my death." And then the doctor died pretty soon thereafter. It was very coincidental. The letter comes to Steve and says, here's your mother. And so he finally tracks her down in Los Angeles and she says you've got a sister in New York.
ISAACSON: So it's one of these tales that nobody could have written.
MORGAN: What is even more extraordinary, I think, is when he begins the search for his father and in the end he never actually has anything to do with his father but it turns out by a freakish coincidence that he's met his real father.
ISAACSON: You couldn't make this up.
MORGAN: And the father was like, whoa, I met Steve Jobs as a boast without knowing Steve Jobs is his son. Tell me about that.
ISAACSON: His sister, Mona Simpson, who he meets, you know, when he tracked down -- is an artist like him. A great novelist and he loves the fact that she's an artist. So she says, we have to go on this quest to find the lost father. She goes, he's not all that interested but she's able to track down the father who had been born in Syria, Homs, Syria, been a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, and in one of the weird coincidences of the world had moved to California.
And so there he is running a coffee shop in Sacramento. Mona goes to see him and Steve says, don't tell him anything about me. I just don't want to have anything to do with this guy who abandoned you, abandoned, you know, your mother. So he says, Mr. Jandali says, I wish you could have seen me earlier when I ran one of the great restaurants. Had this big restaurant near Cupertino.
Everybody used to come there. Even Steve Jobs. So Mona Simpson is taken aback. But she doesn't say anything. She doesn't say, Steve Jobs is your son. And he says, he looks at how shocked she is, and he says, yes, he used to come. He was a big tipper. And Mona goes back and tells Steve, and Steve said, that -- you know, balding Syrian guy? That was my father? Forget it. I don't ever want to see him.
MORGAN: Amazing story.
ISAACSON: You couldn't make it up.
MORGAN: Did they have any type of contact at all even to the point when Steve was publicly obviously dying?
ISAACSON: No. No. I mean I think that -- I've heard that Jandali has said that he sent text messages but no. There was no contact.
MORGAN: And what do you think that did to Steve Jobs? Because he obviously had this huge curiosity about his real parents, but did he feel great anger, do you think, towards his father in particular?
ISAACSON: I don't think he felt anger toward his father. I think he just didn't want to have anything to do with the guy who had abandoned the family, abandoned Mona. I think that he was very deeply connected to his -- what he called real parents. The parents who had adopted him.
They didn't want to hurt them. Paul Jobs is a guy who was an auto mechanic and had taught Steve all of the lessons of design, how to be a good craftsman, and also realized that Steve was special. And treated him as special. Even when he was a kid when Steve didn't want to keep going to the same school, they scraped all their money together so they could buy a home in a better school district. They just went out of their way to make him feel chosen and special.
MORGAN: I don't think surprisingly necessarily but certainly it was ironic that Steve himself has a girlfriend. He makes her pregnant and then he abandons --
ISAACSON: Same age.
MORGAN: -- the daughter.
ISAACSON: Twenty-three years old. Same age as his father was. MORGAN: Does exactly what his father did.
ISAACSON: Yes. And he said -- I asked him about it, he said, well, it was whoa, you know, when it hit me what a coincidence. Steve of course takes responsibility for his daughter after a few -- you know, after a while.
MORGAN: After 10 years.
ISAACSON: Well, after the paternity test he then pays for her schooling and upbringing and, you know, in the first 10 years he's not that close to her but she's a spunky good kid. A smart kid. Good writer. And by the time she's 8 or 9 or 10 years old they're forming more of a bond. And she moves into his house for the high school years.
So like any narrative tale, especially one that you couldn't make up, you know, there's an ark to it and the people that Steve, you know, had trouble with eventually they all bond with him and certainly in her life she and all four of his children were very bonded to him.
MORGAN: Have a break again, and come back and talk about the genius of Apple as an institution in America. The part that he played really in making us all think differently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOBS: I'm going to show you the back first because I'm in love with it. It's stainless steel. It's really, really durable. It's beautiful. And this is what the front of it looks like. Boom. That's iPod. I have one right here in my pocket as a matter of fact. There it is right there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Steve Jobs and that's from the introduction of the iPod 10 years ago. I mean another amazing moment in Apple's history.
Apple became the second biggest company in the entire world. It became a company that was global in both its brand in terms of its power, its influence, and he really did teach the world to think differently, didn't he?
ISAACSON: The amazing thing about the iPod is here's a personal computer company. And it had finally clawed its way back with beautiful design of the iMac and the -- you know, the Macbook Pro, all the laptop. And he discovers now we have to think different again. And he says, we're going to do devices, devices that will make your computer sort of the hub of your digital lifestyle, but it will be for music and then phone and everything else.
So he takes Apple, you know, during the 10 years beginning in 2000 in this whole new direction. Reinvents the music industry. Reinvents the telephone industry. Reinvents publishing and digital publishing with the tablet.
MORGAN: Then the iPad of course his latest and the last of his creations.
MORGAN: And what's, I guess, so satisfying for him and I'd imagine if he's a biographer the story of Steve Jobs building Apple up and then being cut off at the head.
MORGAN: Thrown out, discarded, unwanted, and he goes off and has this amazing success in Hollywood, and then he comes back and he takes over the company when it's dying on his knees.
MORGAN: And then he turns it into the biggest company of its type ever seen.
ISAACSON: It's amazing. I mean it's one of those, you know, dramatic tales cast out, returned from the wilderness, and when he comes back, he says we now have to focus. They were making Mac -- you know, 9600s and 9400s. He said, no. Here's a diagram. We're going to make four machines. A consumer and a professional laptop desktop. And that's it.
That ability to -- and then once he got that focus done they would take the management retreats. He would take his top 100 people to -- you know, an offsite retreat and then they would fight over what are we going to do next and after all weekend they'd have hundreds suggestions, they'd put 10 on the board and then cross off the bottom three, and say, we're going to focus, focus on the top three. And big change is when he decides, OK, now we're going to go into consumer devices, and does the iPod.
MORGAN: How important was his wife in his life?
ISAACSON: You know, everything about Steve is the connection of sort of the romantic, sort of ethereal poetic side of Steve, and the realistic, smart sensible side.
MORGAN: When he says -- he says this extraordinary line.
ISAACSON: And she's --
MORGAN: If I could read it to you --
ISAACSON: She's the connection, yes.
MORGAN: I'm going to read you just a line from the book. I think this teased it up nicely. "We didn't know each other 20 years ago. We were guided by our intuition. You swept me off my feet," he says. "It was snowing when we got married at the Ahwahnee, years past, kids came, good times, hard times, but never bad times." It's a great line. I mean very romantic. Poetic like you say.
ISAACSON: We were sitting in his living room and it was right before his 20th anniversary, and he wanted to go back, take her back to the Ahwahnee and Yellow Center (ph), and he pulled out his iPhone and read that to me. And, so, (INAUDIBLE), here's what I'm going to write, this thing to her, and I'm going to put the pictures from our wedding day 20 years ago and -- and he was reading that and all of a sudden he is crying. He is a deeply, deeply emotional, intensely emotional person. And, when people talk about, well, wasn't he hard to live with as a family guy? Wasn't he hard to work with as a business guy? Yes, but, how many people have marriages like that -- that are incredibly tight, faithful, in which they really sort of fit together, both the sensible side and the poetic side?
MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) that there should be (INAUDIBLE) in all this book, it shouldn't be some valedictory he's all fantastic, this should be what he's really like. She knew when she said that what he's really like. I mean, she knows that he's difficult.
ISAACSON: And it's always hard, because I do think that -- he'd always say do you want (INAUDIBLE) and all? He said he wanted something that didn't feel in house and a lot of her friends would always say to her, you know, she would say OK, tell them about Steve because I want all sides. Of course, now that he's gone, you know, it's -- it's hard.
MORGAN: Have you had a reaction from her?
ISAACSON: No, I don't, I mean, no.
MORGAN: Nothing at all? Are you surprised?
ISAACSON: No, no, I've -- I've been in touch. I just don't really want to talk about, you know, what their different thoughts might be.
MORGAN: I mean, I don't want to push you but I would imagine this because they've not been massively, probably not massively enjoying the negatives via the headlines, even though I, as someone who didn't know him, don't seem them necessarily as negatives.
ISAACSON: Yes, and I think that they knew him well and all. I think it's a very emotional time for everybody, so.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break, come back and talk about what turned out to be the fight of his life, the fight he eventually lost against cancer and what do you think, as his biographer, the man that spent so much time with him, what do you think he would like his legacy to be?
(VIDEO CLIP) STEVE JOBS: Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Steve Jobs giving the commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. We've seen that many, many times since he died. It's -- it's a very prophetic statement. It's one that he certainly lived up to himself. The great little thing that you put at the start of the book here. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do, from Apple's own think different commercial in 1997. And, you know, that -- that's what he was, you know, in many ways wasn't he? He was the great maverick. When it came to his illness, do you think he ever really appreciated that he was going to die or did he exude an air of infallibility to you?
ISAACSON: I think that he understood mortality even before he got cancer and there are so many people who remember him as a young man saying, you know, we all are going to die. The arc of our life is this way and he told people he thought he was going to die young. And he said it was liberating. He said it allows me to follow, as he did at Stanford, my intuition and my passion.
I do believe that once he got the cancer he was so focused on the great treatments he was getting, based on, you know, targeted therapies that he thought he could be the first person to outrun the cancer like that by staying, you know, one step ahead of it.
MORGAN: I'll play you a quote from Johnny Ive, the great designer, great British creator and designer of so many of the Apple products and we'll discuss it after this.
JONY IVE: Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas or quiet simple ones which in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, so right and very moving because they obviously had such an extraordinary relationship together.
ISAACSON: It was a wonderful tale when Johnny Ive was doing the first iMac, you know, the one that sort of looks like (inaudible) blue, translucent, and it hopped onto your desktop. It's a desktop machine, so Johnny says he wants to put a little handle recessed into the top. You never really use a handle, you're not moving a desktop around, but he intuitively felt that, you know, his mother was afraid of computers, and people intimidated by -- and the handle gives you permission to touch.
And, he said, he presented it to the engineers and they said, oh no, that's going to cost too much, it's pointless, we've got -- the minute he says it to Steve Jobs, boom, Steve gets it intuitively and, you know, Johnny sometimes said Steve would, you know, act as a sum of Johnny's ideas with Steve's but then Johnny immediately after told me, you know, if it hadn't been for Steve, those ideas would have just died in the studio floor.
MORGAN: I mean, that is true, but it's also true from the book, the regular occurrences where he seems very reluctant and, in some cases, totally (inaudible) and I would say almost inhuman in some cases in giving people credit, in giving valued employees the stop perhaps they shouldn't (inaudible). It's a running theme. What -- what drives that aspect of Steve Jobs' character do you think.
ISAACSON: Well, I do think by the time he creates what is now Apple and its top team he truly appreciated each and every person on that team and whether he was talking to me about Tim Cook or Johnny Ive or Eddy Cue or Phil Schiller or Scott Forstall, he really had a deep love for what they did.
I think early on he just had this way of thinking which is you give him an idea and he says that's stupid, this is what people would say on the original Mac team and a week later he'd say let's do that idea and that would be his way of processing it.
In the end, the ideas got done and he made, even with the early Macintosh, each and every member of that team signed the inside of the case. He said, "You are the artists. Real artists sign their work."
MORGAN: How do you think he would most like to be remembered? What would he have been most proud of? (inaudible) that book, having read it.
ISAACSON: Yes, besides the obvious thing that he had four great kids and loved his family, the thing that he was most proud of and most wanted to be remembered is creating a company where creativity can flourish.
He said, "I grew up in Silicon Valley and you're part of a history of Silicon Valley," but as his Buddhist training taught him throughout, you know, human history, when you depend on the creations of people before you and you want to put something back in the stream of history. And he said at a lot of companies they disappear after a couple of generations. Only by building a lasting company can you build lasting innovation connected to technology.
MORGAN: Preposterous though it seemed at the time, him to come to you and say I want the man who did the biography of Einstein to write about me, does it seem quite so preposterous today?
ISAACSON: I'd put him in the line with Edison and Ford and certain Ben Franklin and if you're going to try to figure out what genius is, you can start with Einstein but somewhere in one of those orbits you've got to have Steve Jobs.
MORGAN: I agree. Walter Isaacson it's a brilliant book...
ISAACSON: Thank you. MORGAN: ... and thank you for coming and talking about it. I appreciate it.
ISAACSON: Great to see you.
MORGAN: Thank you.
ISAACSON: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, celebrity chef Mario Batali on his expanding culinary empire, his shrinking waistline, and serving salads to those 1 percenters.
MORGAN: Mario Batali, he's America's best-loved chef, bringing high-end Italian food to the masses. Also the star of ABC's The Chew, so (inaudible) a new book called Malto Batali and Mario Batali joins me now. Welcome, Sir.
MARIO BATALI, CHEF: Thank you very much for having me.
MORGAN: Are you actually Italian?
BATALI: I'm an Italian-American. I was born in Seattle, Washington, of second generation Italian and French Canadian parents.
MORGAN: Do you feel Italian?
BATALI: I do in that after studying in college and kind of figuring out the restaurant business from the American's perspective, I moved to a tiny little hill town between -- between Florence and Bologna and lived there for three and a half years, which is really where I learned to speak Italian. I didn't speak Italian before.
MORGAN: Are you fluent now?
MORGAN: Buon Giorno! Come Stai?
BATALI: Benissimo, (inaudible).
MORGAN: All right, I believe you. America's going through a rough time at the moment, very obviously, just down the road here in New York, you know, Occupy Wall Street and everything. Your restaurants appeal very much to what Michael Moore would call the 1 percent. How are you seeing the economy impact on those people just from what your business tells you?
BATALI: Well, we're -- I have 19 restaurants, 9 of which are around New York City and we have everything from a pizzeria with a $30 check average to a four star Italian restaurant with $160 check average.
So, we run the kind of bookends on that business. What I must point out, however, in just traveling around the country a little bit and from knowing a lot of my friends in the business, it seems that New York City and Los Angeles are a little bit kind of insulated from the full fallout, even if there is definitely 99 percent and 1 percenters, say a real number is more like 90 and 10.
And we're lucky enough to be in a place where, because there's tourism and because there's people not just relying on their own jobs, they're here in New York to try food, to try theater. I mean, I think the theaters are still doing pretty well as well. So, anywhere where there's tourists and locals kind of getting together it kind of makes sense. So, it works for us.
MORGAN: You're a fiery individual, you know, you like to be passionate, lose your temper, you're a good businessman, you get things done, you employ people, you're successful. If you were running the country, what would you do to fix this malaise?
BATALI: I'm -- I'm not sure. I must say it -- I -- I think the base of the problem right now is that truly never more than any other time before are we truly 50/50. It's two sides and both quite adamant and, unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the Republicans and that guard prepare themselves in a way to present it more like a really successful advertising campaign and they're also in every knife fight with a knife.
I think Obama came in with a really great idea and I love him and I love what he represents but he came into the knife fight without the knife and thought that he might just bold them over speaking quietly and at the end of the day our politics needs someone to get in there and you have to fight for every inch and all the time. You can't take a break.
MORGAN: And especially in New York. I mean, New York is full of pugilists...
MORGAN: ...that are actually physically doing it or verbally doing it, it's war every day on these streets, isn't it, in a positive way. It's like, you're competitive with each other, the restaurant business is thriving but incredibly competitive. You must wake up and want to kill your rivals in a business sense. I don't get that feeling about Obama. I don't think he thinks like that. He seems like too nice a guy sometimes.
BATALI: Well, the beauty of New York City is that even if 3 million people hate you, there's 5 million left. So you don't have to create a focus group successful restaurant, you can just have a point of view and if it's big enough and wide enough that people appreciate it -- some people came into our restaurant and they said, listen, we'd rather you play opera. I'm like, why don't you get your own damn restaurant.
We play rock and roll because that's what I think befits some of the experiences and it creates a unique opportunity for people to go in and say, wow, I loved the music, I loved the food, I loved the lighting, I loved this whole experience and I'm going to come back.
MORGAN: You also have the world's, I think, most long-suffering wife and I'm going to show you why. Look at this clip.
BATALI: I never understood this shriek response though.
GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: I would shriek if I saw you walking down the street and I didn't know you.
BATALI: You would not.
PALTROW: I would. I would go, oh my God it's Mario Batali.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, there you are, like some sort of latter day James Bond. Sports car, the shades, Gwyneth Paltrow.
BATALI: Well, let's not pretend she's my wife, though.
MORGAN: No, but what does Mrs. Batali think watching this?
BATALI: We had dinner last week. We get along fabulously. All three of us were together with the kids and we just had a blast. But Chris wasn't there. He was busy working on his new album.
MORGAN: Well of course. Do you pinch yourself sometimes when you watch a clip like that? Do you think how did this ever happen to, you know, you were a working class lad who worked his way to the top and there you are in the flash car with Gwyneth Paltrow with this business empire. What do you think sometimes?
BATALI: Life smiles upon those who smile upon life. There is a component of luck to being at the right place at the right time. But you also have to be able to capitalize when luck shines away on you. So, I've been very lucky. I've worked hard and we're, you know, we're in a good position.
MORGAN: To all the people suffering out there, the ones who've lost their jobs, their homes, whatever. What message do you give them? As someone who has come from nothing to achieve what you have achieved, what -- what do you tell these people?
BATALI: I say the best way to do it is at least 20 percent of the time try to find a way to do something for somebody else who hasn't asked you to do it because that builds your karmic account. But, also keep your head down and keep in the game and don't be daunted by what seems to be a really long-term setback when, in fact, if you're careful and can pay attention to it it might be a short-term setback.
We are in tough economic times. A lot of people may need to kind of re-evaluate what it is they're going to do for the next 20 years and maybe being in the banking industry or being in something that hasn't worked in the industrial production business may not work but as I can see from just looking at it, the auto industry has come back from the brink of disaster and has now wrangled production back into American hands. We're really good at doing stuff.
It's when we kind of launch ourselves only into the service industry that we would slowly fade away. We have too many people here to be all service people. We need to produce things and make things here.
MORGAN: We're going to take a break and come back Mario and talk to you about your book, Simple Family Meals, because I can only cook one thing, spaghetti bolognaise and I do it brilliantly and I want to expand my repertoire.
BATALI: If you have an already great dish, the second one's minutes away.
BATALI: I decided as my last meal it needs to be a voyage of three or four hundred days, on a boat, going from magnificent port to magnificent port to eating delicious fish courses made by the very best local chefs, each with a glass of the local wine. This could take years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I want to come with you.
BATALI: You can.
MORGAN: That -- that's your new ABC show, The Chew. That's the way I want to die, a sort of two, three year gastronomic orgy so eventually we have that scene of the meaning of life, the Monty Python film...
MORGAN: ...the fat guy just explodes in the restaurant.
BATALI: (inaudible) Sir, one (inaudible)
MORGAN: (inaudible) boom. What a way to go, I think.
BATALI: I think so too.
MORGAN: What's been the best meal you've ever had? The one if I said, right, all right, you've got four hours to live, you can have one meal again.
BATALI: Well, I would say that I had a remarkable meal at the sushi stand at the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. That was so remarkable in that it was everything fresh that I'd just seen, it was served at 4:45 or 5:00 in the morning. The only thing missing was my family. So, I'd have to have my family right there and then we'd be in great shape.
But that remarkable kind of procession of remarkable flavors that so spoke of everything that I'd just seen and how remarkably they put it together in the simplest way and how much it paid off on the tongue was remarkable.
MORGAN: Cooking at its essence, it should be simple shouldn't it? I mean, you can go for the fancy gastronomy and I know that that's a very fine art form of eating but, actually, if you ask me who could go to any restaurant in New York tonight but actually would much prefer to have simple food presented simply, this book's perfect. Simple Family Meals here. What's the concept of this?
BATALI: Well, there's -- there's two kind of concepts going at the same time. The -- the most important one is that people sit down at the table as often as they can and in this hectic time with text messages and voice mails and emails and a thousand ways not to pay attention to the people, even the ones that you're in the same room as, the idea that Americans are moving away from each other at quantum rate is because they don't really spend any time where they remove all of that electronics and they just have a conversation.
And when you talk about what builds confidence in your children, when you have just regular confidence as it comes, regular meals with them, you're allowed to share both your success and your lack of success on certain things in a way that allows you to know that you're empowered to move forward, even in -- in lack of success.
And the meal is the most logical and normal time to get people together. So, this book kind of breaks the seasons as opposed to four into twelve. It's every month has a different kind of mantra. Each one has a main course, three pastas, five vegetable dishes, and a desert and a soup.
And, if you think about it, you don't have to make all those at once but sometimes the way to lure people in your family back to the table is by creating something that they really relish or really love. So, create a family dish and create a kind of a tradition and instead of maybe going seven nights, which I like, maybe just Sunday or Monday or whatever day. Choose a day when you open up the table, everyone gets something they really like, and then they spend time.
And, perhaps, even more significant than that, is when the dishes are dirty and you've finished, instead of rushing forward to get on to the next thing, make sure that everyone sits there for 15 minutes and just languishes over each other's company without necessarily having anything to do.
MORGAN: I don't want to offend you in any way but you are half the man you used to be, Mario.
BATALI: Well, 20 percent I believe.
MORGAN: You're disappearing. How much weight have you lost?
BATALI: I lost about 50 pounds, from the time that we worked on the Spain series, which I believe was at my biggest.
MORGAN: Was it too much paella?
BATALI: There was -- yes -- too much -- too much paella and just in general too much of everything.
MORGAN: Well, did you have a moment where you woke up and went, enough?
BATALI: No, you know what, I saw the first screening of the show and I said I can't believe how big I look. Now, I'm certainly not done yet. I'm on the path but my -- my trick has been to eat almost the same things, try to eat a little bit more responsible but, more significantly, cut the portions in half.
MORGAN: I don't think you should lose much more Mario.
BATALI: Oh, I'd love to lose another 30 but I'm still (inaudible).
MORGAN: You be careful. I just -- I am always terrified when I see a skinny chef.
MORGAN: It doesn't look right to me.
BATALI: Well I think 30 more I still won't be skinny. Don't worry.
MORGAN: No, I just think a size 0 chef is like a size 0 opera singer, it's just not right.
BATALI: I agree with you on that.
MORGAN: There's something comforting about seeing a guy that you know likes his food telling you about food.
BATALI: Well, I'll always love it no matter how skinny I get but I don't think skinny will ever be an adjective used in the same sentence as Mario Batali unless Mario Batali was with that skinny chick, Gwyneth Paltrow.
MORGAN: Like Gwyneth Paltrow...
MORGAN: ...which (inaudible). Mario it has been a pleasure. Thank you very much.
BATALI: Thank you very much for having me.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. AC 360 starts right now.