David Fox's Reviews > Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
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Mar 30, 14

bookshelves: reviewed, owned-books
Recommended for: those curuious about success
Read from March 03 to 24, 2014 — I own a copy, read count: 1

A Recovering Asshole

Isaacson, by his own admission did not want to write a biography of Steve Jobs. For a slew of reasons he knew that while Jobs may have been the entrepreneurial genius of the late 20th/early 21st century, he was no Benjamin Franklin or Albert Einstein (his last two bios). Quite to the contrary. Jobs was an insolent, rude, obnoxious, egotistical, maniacal, mean S.O.B. who would say you were shit before saying hello.

Almost in spite of his lack of social skills, any innate ability to be kind on even an inconsistent basis, Jobs was still able to summon up this charismatic persona, seemingly mocking who he really was – through an amalgam of charlatan driven charm, chutzpah, & god given gift to distort reality (for which he was both famous & infamous) to inspire people – colleagues, associates, employees – beyond what they thought they could accomplish. Not that he cared for them one whit (I truly believe he was not capable of such feelings) but he intrinsically knew just what buttons to push to gain his desired ends.

All of the rumors are true. He was a rotten father. He abandoned the mother of his child & neglected both though he did contribute financially to their well-being. He was thin-skinned & prickly. He’d go months without talking to his daughter (they had re-united in a weird, semi-dysfunctional way) & despite his billions, he’s stiff her on her college tuition. She repaid him by not inviting him to her college graduation, an ironic twist of the past, as Jobs had once done the same to his parents.

If Jobs was such a schmuck, so consistently a lying, self-absorbed, narcissistic, ego-maniacal jerk how was it then that he managed to pull off the management coups & sales extravaganzas that he’s remembered for? The answer is sublimely ludicrous in its simplicity. He was a charmer. He could sell snow to an Eskimo (I would never say that – Jobs would). He would charm anyone, even someone he loathed – all the better – the more fun to be had. Though Isaacson never says it, there was a sociopathic quality to his personality. At the very least he suffered from a serious personality disorder that was only tolerated because of brilliance & vision. To an extent, Steve Jobs was an idiot savant.
In fairness to him, he was more. If he was just a mean-assed brilliant jerk, Apple would not be the company it is today. Jobs did that. Obviously, many more people contributed to Apple’s success, but without Jobs it simply would not have happened. After a 12 year hiatus he returned from exile to lead Apple away from the precipice of economic doom. Within a couple of short years, thanks to his vision, tenacity, eye for talent & design, he helped birth the most culturally influential company of the 21st century. For a recovering asshole, not too bad of a claim to fame.


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03/03/2014 marked as: currently-reading
03/24/2014 marked as: read

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