Framing the Dialogue

Steve Jobs

“Genius, scattershot-friendly (that is when he needed something), special, bristly, detached, insensitive, sensitive, socially awkward loner, crazy, intense, aloof, crazed shaman, charismatic, creepy, dark, complex, manipulative, abusive, narcissistic, brutish, driven, full of bravado, cold, brutal, emotional, temperamental, bratty, tyrannical, anti-loyal, untrustworthy, tactical, obnoxious, impetuous, autocratic, and insanely great.”

I was excited to read the biography of Mr. Jobs and had to make some detours from a planned business trip to find a copy. Since my trips tend to be in the less populated areas I didn’t get my copy until the second day. I was anxious to read about Apple’s iconic founder as his products captured my imagination though I am still welded to my Windows-based PC. I got 30 pages or so into the biography, Steve Jobs, and was struck first by how little I knew about him and second by how petty and mean he was (I almost wrote “could be” as we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead). I started to jot down many of the adjectives that were used to describe Steve Jobs. Walter Isaacson was given wide access to Jobs’ friends, family, business associates, and many folks who weren’t so friendly to paint a picture of the Jobs’ life.

“I found that people had such strong positive and negative emotions about Jobs…I’ve done the best I can do to balance conflicting accounts.”

Isaacson’s biography was perhaps the best biography that I have ever read and I highly recommend it. Of course his subject drew me in, but this book read like a novel and I found that I could not put it down losing a fair amount of sleep the past week reading at night. Most people like me are somewhat familiar with the turtleneck-wearing figure introducing new products, but Isaacson bares Jobs’ soul for us to feel with much of the information coming from Jobs himself. One of the more interesting ribbons through the book was Jobs’ relationships with Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Jobs’ children.

“He does his best to be both a father and the CEO of Apple, and he juggles those pretty well. Sometimes I wish I had more of his attention, but I know the work he’s doing is very important and I think it’s really cool, so I’m fine. I really don’t need more attention.”

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