Books:7/52. Movies:50/365: Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
I was extremely skeptical of Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs because he is effectively an opportunist journalist, who can’t be an expert in: politics, science & Technology as well as being able to run Time & CNN. My personal view is that if you want to write a biography of Einstien you should have career in science or if you want to write of Steve Jobs, technology which he didn’t. I also thought that it was going to be a massive PR job so that Steve could control his legacy and the introduction wasn’t encouraging “Steve Jobs revolutionized 7 industries and although he never revolutionized retail he reimagined it”… no he never, I’ve been to the Apple store in Covent Garden, London which is the biggest in the world and apart from the fact that the floor is made from Italian stone and that it is really cold and far too big (considering that there were only about 30 things in there)there is nothing special about it. But, as it turns out, he is an incredibly good, throughour and non bias, journalist (he interviewed 200 people and interviewed Steve personally 40 times.) In the first 400 pages I thought this is how all biographies should be, he doesn’t just absorb what people tell him and reword it to make it look like his own, he directly quotes people & when he quotes Steve he contradicts it with someone else’s view of the story and if Jobs is lying (which is allot of the time) he is thus exposed. But in the last 100 pages things go to shit , he is completely corrupted by the so called “Reality Distortion Field” (more about that in the Steve Jobs section), he has gotten way to close to Jobs; who, whenever he gets some good press, sends him it in an email (from his [insert Apple Device here] which made me lose even more credibility for him because it seems like Ellen Degenerese-esque product placement and we all know she gets paid to mention products) and in a few cases he just wrote it in the book (I’m paraphrasing)”some journalist was on some farm some place and an intrigued, illiterate kid picked up his iPad and stated using it instinctively.” It gets worse! In the conclusion, he writes an 11-point list that says why Steve is the greatest man alive, he says that Steve is “the greatest business executive of his generation” and despite the fact that he spends a good part of the book saying that Steve is manipulative and delusional and not always right (before he died he designed a new headquarters for Apple and decided that people shouldn’t be able o open the windows “because that allows people to mess things up.”) then he completely looses his mind and writes a 4 page Steve Jobs quote at the end, Steve Jobs is a salesman and a seriously flawed man, don’t let him give a conclusion on his own life. I still have a lot of respect for Walter Issacson though, I think that he just got too close to a dying man and allowed his affections and sympathies get in the way.
I do not however have any respect for Steve Jobs, he has some serious personality disorders (multiple). Everybody that knew him called it the reality distortion field which is a nerdy way of saying that he was manipulative, delusional, unrealistic, incredibly rude, aggressive and possibly insane. The mother of his first child (Lisa) thinks that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I personally think that he is a sociopath:
Manipulative and Conning
Grandiose Sense of Self
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
Incapacity for Love
Need for Stimulation
Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
He didn’t have all of the above personality traits but he had most of them and it nearly brought down Apple, if he wasn’t so out of control they would never had brought in an outside CEO who Steve then went on to corrupt with his talk before he sacked Jobs and run Apple into the ground because he was basically a marketing man. He also ruined every many members of his families lives, betrayed Woz and took credit for things that he had first called shit. The worst part of his personality was that he would just call things shit… shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, he never said this is bad because… he would just call everything shit without compassion. This book contains allot of quotes from Bill Gates, for example, he would always say things like “I don’t think that Apples obsession with end-end control is health for the company because…”, Steve Jobs would just say that Bill Gates was a shithead. Here is my top 3 list of Steve Jobs worst moments:
3. For his 30th birthday many people had picked out special gifts for a person who was not easy to shop for. Debi Coleman, for example, found a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Last Tycoon’. But Jobs, in an act that was odd yet not out of character, left all of the gifts in a hotel room.
2.His family would often take cruises around Europe, but he would get board or suddenly decide that he didn’t like the design of the boat and force his family to abandon ship and come with him to his favorite resort in Hawaii.
1. He donated a small amount of money to a charity (who’s name I can’t remember but it was something to do with preventing diseases in the third world) and on the day of Apple’s IPO (the day that Jobs and Woz made something like $285 million each and 300 other people made at least $1 million) they decided to turn up at Apple headquarters and ask for donations to fund a survey of blind people in some poverty stricken country… he wouldn’t let them in, he even cut Apples philanthropy program when he became CEO in 1997.
He was also wildly eccentric, had a vast array of uncatorgizable eating disorders, he got in frauds with everybody, he betrayed everybody he knew and he was a sell out. When he met his hero Bob Dylan, he decided to turn it into a money making opportunity by having Dylan star in one of Apples ad’s and to release a special Dylan package on iTunes, he also commented “I was worried about meeting him, these people sometimes turn into caricatures of themselves…”, which is ironic because that is what happened to Steve in his later life, the whole hippy thing was phony. Oh and he never actually made anything.
But when all is said and done it is difficult to deny him credit because without that visionary, OCD ridden control freak Woz wold still be giving motherboards away to hobbyists for free and non of Apple’s (or NeXT’s or Pixar’s) geniuses would have had the drive or vision to get the masterpieces above into everyday culture.