A handful of presumptive biographers have, over the years, tried to tell the remarkable story of Steven P. Jobs: the youthful visionary who, after being ousted from Apple, the company he helped to found, triumphantly returned to lead a new era of high-tech innovation.
But those efforts lacked one important ingredient: cooperation from Mr. Jobs himself.
Now Apple’s chief executive is set to collaborate on an authorized biography, to be written by Walter Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time magazine, according to two people briefed on the project.
The book, which is in the early planning stages, would cover the entire life of Mr. Jobs, from his youth in the area now known as Silicon Valley through his years at Apple, these people said.
Mr. Jobs, who will turn 55 on Feb. 24, has invited Mr. Isaacson to tour his childhood home, one person with knowledge of the discussion said.
Mr. Isaacson declined to comment.
Mr. Isaacson is currently the chief executive and president of the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit education and policy studies organization based in Washington.
He is the author of two best-selling biographies, “Einstein: His Life and Universe” and “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.” He also wrote “American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane,” a collection of essays written last year delving into the roots of great leadership. All of his books have been published by Simon & Schuster.
The unauthorized accounts of the life of Mr. Jobs published over the years have included “iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business,” by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon, and “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs,” by Alan Deutschman.
Mr. Jobs has reacted angrily to some of these books, and in some cases has directed Apple stores to temporarily remove other books from the same publishers from their shelves.
Cooperation with Mr. Isaacson could be a sign that Mr. Jobs has emerged from his recent health battles with more of an interest in shaping his legacy.
Katie Cotton, an Apple spokeswoman, said the company does not comment on rumors.