Steve Jobs, the Life of a Real Jerk

Steve Jobs, the Life of a Real Jerk

My stomach allowed me to read the biography of Steve Jobs until the pp. 158, and here are some of the reasons:

“The Apple raid on Xerox PARC is sometimes described as one of the biggest heists in the chronicles of industry. Jobs occasionally endorsed this view, whit pride. As he once said, “Picasso had a saying – ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ – and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”” (pp. 98)

“”We have to do something about your buddy Daniel (Kottke), Rod Holt said, and he suggested they each give him some of their own options. “Whatever you give him, I will match it”, said Holt. Replied Jobs, “Okay. I will give him zero.”(…) Wosniak, not surprisingly, had the opposite attitude. Before the shares went public, he decided to sell, at a very low price, two thoussand of his options to forty different midlevel employees” (like Daniel Kottke). (pp. 103)

“He was not particularly philantropic. (pp. 105) His biggest personal gift (was to his parents, Paul and Clara Jobs, to whom he gave about $750,00 worth of stock. They sold the same to pay off the mortgage on their home.” (pp. 106)

“To some people, calling it a reality distortion field was just a clever way to say that Jobs tended to lie.” (pp. 118)

“For all of his obnoxious behavior, Jobs also had the ability to install in his team an esprit of corps. After tearing people down, he would find ways of lift them up and make them feel that being a part of the Macintosh project was an amazing mission.” (pp. 142)

“As they proceed to visit other Japanese companies (…) they formally handed him little gifts, as was the custom, he often left them behind, and he never reciprocated with gifts of his own.” (pp. 146)

“The person they most wanted was Don Estridge, who had built IBM’s personal computer (…) now outselling Apple’s. Like Jobs, he was driven and inspiring, but unlike Jobs, he had the ability to allow other to think that his brilliant ideas were their own. Jobs flew to Boca Raton with the offer of $1 million salary and a $1 million bonus, but Estridge turned him down. He was not the type who would jump ship to join the enemy. He also enjoyed being part of the establishment, a member of the Navy instead of a pirate. He was discomfort by Job’s tales of ripping off the phone company. When asked where he worked, he loved to be able to answer “IBM”.” (pp. 149)

Maybe he was a mild bipolar with no conscience of its possibility. Also, people with so much power are mistaken labeled as eccentric or even, and worse, excused for everything:

“Sculley began to believe that Job’s mercurial personality and erratic treatment of people were rooted deep in his psychological makeup, perhaps the reflection of a mild bipolarity. There were big mood swings; sometimes he would be ecstatic, or other times he was depressed.” (pp. 157)

Knowing that he never got to be a better person or even close to be decent, I see no reason to keep reading this biography for the same reason I don’t feel like reading Picasso’s biography as well as one of Picasso’s biographer decided to not finish it…

5 responses »

  1. Dear Claudia

    In 2011 I was given Steve Jobs’ biography for Christmas – supposedly because a successful person like me would like to learn about a successful entrepreneur’s life (not the case though, for the exact same reasons you have listed). Unfortunately, people seem to worship jerks so last Christmas I was also given Mick Jagger’s…



  2. Thanks for this, Claudia. I just shared it on FB. My thoughts exactly on Jobs. Difficult to stomach, like a Frutarian diet. However, it is well worth reading on, least of all for the spiteful missive he stamps on eternity about Bill Gates. There’s his intense hands-on approach with Toy Story which puts all Pixar’s work into context as the animated psyche of Steve Jobs that the bio fails to provide. For example, no significance is made of the fact that the first Pixar animation he fell in love with was the award-winning father/ son angelpoise lamp sequence, perhaps striking a chord in his own relationship with his father. The worrying thing is, Jobs set out to be an asshole in his teens, He went to India to learn to be one, He came back, and he lived the dream and no one succeeded in standing up to him because he got that rigorous training from the gurus. And it worked. I never did trust spiritualism. Eastern mysticism 1, Western civilisation 0. Cheers!

    • Wow! I have never thought about what you said… but being one who have learned the zen meditation and have had in contact with some gurus (although in Brazil), I feel uncomfortable with their hypocrite behaviors. You are so right: “Eastern mysticism 1, Western civilisation 0.” Thank you so much for the feedback!

  3. Hi Claudia. Love your site. Just watched the movie “Puctured” …or “Adicto” as it is called in Panama where I watched it with my wife Ana Maria. I will be in touch. John

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