Becoming Steve Jobs -- his last days

Searching for the real Steve Jobs
Searching for the real Steve Jobs

"Becoming Steve Jobs," a new biography about the late Apple CEO, sheds new light on his conversations with peers, colleagues and friends during the last weeks and days before he died.

The book, in stores Tuesday, is based on in-depth interviews by authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli with leaders in the technology and entertainment business and Apple (AAPL) executives who worked closely with Jobs.

In one notable passage, current CEO Tim Cook remembers the day when Jobs asked him to take the top spot.

At that time, Jobs was battling cancer and was spending much of his time at home. He called over Cook, who was then Apple's chief operating officer.

Cook recalls that he and Jobs discussed what it would be like for Cook to be CEO while the notoriously controlling Jobs would become chairman of the board.

''I tried to pick something that would incite him. So I said, 'You mean that if I review an ad and I like it, it should just run without your okay?' And he laughed, and said, 'Well, I hope you'd at least ask me!' "

Jobs was so closely identified with Apple that it was hard to imagine the company under any other CEO. But Cook says that Jobs wanted a successor who wouldn't try to replicate what he had done. Jobs referred to it as the "Beatles concept," where each member of the iconic band had talents that complemented each other.

Related: 6 things about 'Becoming Steve Jobs'

Jobs' health took a turn for the worse just eight weeks after this conversation. Cook says in the book that he watched a movie with Jobs the Friday before he passed away.

"We watched Remember the Titans [a sentimental football story about an underdog]. I was so surprised he wanted to watch that movie. I was like, Are you sure? Steve was not interested in sports at all. And we watched and we talked about a number of things and I left thinking that he was pretty happy."

Related: 5 things Steve Jobs said Apple would never do - and Apple is doing

Jobs passed away a few months after he resigned from Apple in August 2011. He was 56.

John Lasseter, who was chief creative officer at Pixar, the digital animation company that Jobs founded, recalls visiting Jobs for the last time.

"We talked all about Pixar... And then I kinda looked at him and he said, 'Yeah I need to get a nap now.' I got up to go, and then I stopped, and I looked at him and came back. I gave him a big hug, and a kiss, and I said, 'Thank you. Thank you for everything you've done for me.'"

Lasseter goes on to describe an encounter a couple of years later with Cook at a birthday party for Jobs' wife. They both talked about how much each of them missed Jobs.

"I still have Steve's number on my phone. I said, 'I'll never be able to take that out.' And Tim took out his iPhone and showed me—he still had Steve's number in his phone, too."

Related: 10 best Steve Jobs emails

Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates, whose company both competed and collaborated with Apple, also paid Jobs a visit one afternoon during those last days. In the book, Gates praises his one-time rival.

"Steve and I will always get more credit than we deserve, because otherwise the story's too complicated," Gates says. "I mean, yes, Steve did brilliant work, and if you had to say—you know, leave me out of it—one person who had the most impact on the personal computer industry, particularly from where we sit now, you'd pick Steve Jobs."

Related Tim Cook says Steve Jobs wasn't a 'greedy, selfish egomaniac'

Despite their differences, Gates and Jobs had become friends and developed a sense of mutual respect over the years. Gates said neither of them felt the need to put the other down that last afternoon.

"We just talked about the things we'd done, and where we thought things were headed."

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