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Has Walter Isaacson been asked about his whereabouts during the moment Steve Jobs died? Sure, the man behind Apple had been publicly struggling with pancreatic cancer. But few people benefited as much from the timing of his death as Isaacson, the former Time editor and author of books on other heroic smart guys, like Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. Isaacson’s authorized Jobs biography was rushed into print, where it is selling like an iPhone 4GS. But those sales may have happened even without the positive critical notices: In an age when America routinely sends its smartest young people into vapid finance careers—where they make their millions on innovations that seem to be impoverishing our country—Jobs stands out as a guy whose wealth came from inventing things you can actually touch, and focusing on quality while he did so. Sure, the book portrays him as kind of an asshole. But unlike all those crooked young men of Wall Street, he’s an asshole we all want to claim as our own.

Walter Isaacson discusses and signs his book at 4 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Georgetown, 3040 M St. NW. Free. (202) 965-9880.