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Saturday, May 19, 2012

book response: Steve Jobs by Isaacson (2011)

The bestselling biography of Steve Jobs was not high on my reading list but I was lent it and devoured it in a week. Since it wasn't my book and I couldn't write in it, I don't have excerpts, but I have a couple responses.
  • Isaacson is a great writer. I agree with Steve Jobs himself that he was an a-hole, but Isaacson made the life of this a-hole very interesting.
  • Steve Jobs was an a-hole. I'm not disagreeing with his own self-assessment.
  • Steve was an artist with an artist's petulant demeanor.
  • The serious girlfriend in his life before he married concluded he exhibited Narcissistic Personality Disorder. See my earlier blog on that. I think she's right.
  • How could a company succeed with such a self-centered person?
  • How could a company succeed without such a focused person?
  • Notice the two sides of that disorder?
  • He lacked empathy. People who survived and thrived in his employ learned to cope with his insults.
  • He pursued beauty instead of profits. 
  • He saw beauty in simplicity and purity.
  • He hired the best and fired the rest.
  • He was always looking 5 years ahead.
  • He considered various mind-altering methods beneficial
    • Fasting
    • Meditation
    • Zen Buddhism
    • LSD
    • food fetishes
  • His reality distortion field was an effect of his intense focus, but it also hurt him and those around him when he refused to engage reality: his daughters, his initial cancer result, some business decisions
  • I respect those who left the company and all the money because they couldn't work for him. I totally understand. Dignity is priceless.
  • One of his early lieutenants described himself as an "assaholic". I thought I invented that word, but I'm glad others recognize it's value as a word. It is much easier to say than Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (Quote and more info at The Good Men Project.)

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