I’m 11 percent into Steve Jobs’ biography that was released October 24th. 11%; a digital distinction, one that could not have occurred without the leadership of one Steve Jobs – at least according to Steve. In truth, that is not a claim he makes in the book. However, he does claim that without his knowledge, the entire computing world would be without “multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts.”
A man who is literally worshipped by many allowed this book to be made. In fact, he insisted that the author, Walter Isaacson, write it. Perhaps he wasn’t worried about his legacy. If so, that is a testament to Steve Jobs because it certainly muddies it. Thus far, it is incredibly difficult to see a person I would want to personally have anything to do with. Up until age 20, he has exhibited manipulative behavior but goes above and beyond by cheating his best friend, Steve Wozniak, out of several hundred dollars. As late as last year he continued to lie about it (or perhaps remembered it wrong), though two other sources back up Wozniak’s memory.
Even at a young age he said he realized he was more intelligent than his adopted parents and that he was special. Weird. I wouldn’t have been able to say something like that with a straight face even if it was true; at least not without realizing how much of an asshole I sounded like. Not Steve Jobs. He is special. A special kind of asshole that stank – literally. He decided early on that his vegetarian diet would ensure his body wouldn’t create body odor. In fact, he stunk so badly that other engineers at Atari complained to CEO, Nolan Bushnell, who had him work the night shift.
Nevertheless, he has some good qualities. One friend recounted a story where Steve gave him some money after running out during his trip in India and nearly everyone agreed how willful Steve was. He expected people to be able to do anything he told them to do, regardless of whether they knew how or they believed in themselves. That type of willfulness can be a double edged sword which gets the most out of people but also causes disdain. Finally, even at a young age, he was able to make money. Steve and Wozniak began their business relationship by creating devices to steal long distance service from AT&T. The devices cost $40 to make and sold for $160 – a price point that Steve came to on his own and a ratio that continues to this day on Apple products.
The retelling of Steve Jobs’ life is not what I expected at all. I figured that this book would be a marketing device to sell the legacy of Steve Jobs. In truth, it seems to tell the real story and describes the Steve that very few people know – and based on 11% of the story, maybe never really wanted to know.