Steve Jobs

I have paid attention to Steve Jobs only in knowing he was producing some pretty sexy products at Apple. I had never owned one until December 23rd of 2011.  I had however respected Apple & Job’s Products. I knew very little about the level of his drive and passion. I also knew little about his rock star attitude, which often cast him as the “asshole”.

It was time to learn more about Steve Jobs. What better way than to give the recent bestseller a read. You know, the one with his face planted right on the front. By the end of the book, I had rooted for Apple far more than I had imagined I would have. I have damned them over the years far more than I should have and I have respected them a little less than is due. Apple with Steve Jobs at the helm has indeed done some amazing and great things.

After reading the book I came away with a new respect for Jobs, more than I already had. I had learned he is not the hippy nut he’s portrayed as, nor some capitalist pig, but all of the above and somewhere in between. I found him to be a dreamer, loves intensely, and is passionate about creating. Something we all could learn from. Creating new beauty, designs, products that enable us is indeed one of the great human achievements.

Some of the key parts of the book include his interactions with his parents, not the blood parents, but his honorable and loving parents that actually raised him. Stood fast beside him and cast aside things to enable and help him learn. One of the quotes that stood out as how awesome his father was, reminding me of my own father, “Paul Jobs told the teachers, his son recalled, “If you can’t keep him interested, it’s your fault.” His parents never punished him for his transgressions at school. “My father’s father was an alcoholic and whipped him with a belt, but I’m not sure if I ever got spanked.” Both of his parents, he added “knew the school was at fault for trying to make me memorize stupid stuff rather than stimulating me.” He was already starting to show the admixture of sensitivity and insensitivity, bristliness, and detachment, that would mark him for the rest of his life.”

He grew into this way of acting, and I really can’t wrong him for it regardless of who he cut down with his wrath, because he knew and wanted people to jump into the fire with him. He didn’t want nor deem that he wanted to waste time with people that couldn’t step right up to a brash, honest, and give 110%. Maybe I related with it too much, I try diligently to avoid such outbursts or other characteristics, but I for one don’t have a problem working with people like that. I want passion for a product. I want love of design. I want an insatiable desire in people around me to create.  I can absolutely understand why he did too.

Late in the book, the reader learns of other battles Jobs had. He saw himself as a person of the counterculture, and thus naturally part of the political left. Even though he throughout life rarely involved himself directly in politics. But because of this, and the views of the counterculture on technology at the time he was often torn. Regarding the counterculture, “Many in the counterculture saw computers as ominous Orwellian, the province of the Pentagon and the power structure.. In The Myth of the Machine, the historian Lewis Mumford warned that computers were sucking away our freedom and destroying “life-enhacning values.” An injunction on punch cards of the period-“Do not fold, spindle or mutilate”-became an ironic phrase of the antiwar left.”

It was something that Jobs, as his life unfolds in the book, just faced up to and dealt with. Eventually the counterculture caught up with the times and became enraptured with technology, in large part because of Apple & Steve Jobs.

Overall I think the book captured Jobs in a realistic way. In the typical Jobs fashion too, the book ends with a segment written by Jobs himself. You’ll have to give the book a read yourself to know what it says, but suffice it to say he managed some amazing things in life. He was also very much more aware of the world regardless of his “Reality Distortion Field” and insanely passionate about insanely great products.

In summary, a great read. Pick it up!

A Few Choice Quotes:

“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”

– In a scary way, this holds to be true, as an artist grows and evolves the previous passion often must be cast aside to find an ongoing and new passion.

“God gave us ten styluses, let’s not invent another.”

– A statement that the purchasers of the iPad, iPod, and iPhone proved through purchasing millions of these devices and turning Apple into the world’s most valuable company. I just found it rather funny myself, yet rings very true.

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

– Nuff said!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

– Passion embodied in a simple phrase.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

– Yes, it was the ad, but it is one of those times when an ad becomes something a bit more, one could almost say it becomes art.

3 thoughts on “Steve Jobs

  1. Great post!

    I haven’t yet read the book, but this definitely gives me reason to add it to my list. I also became a student of Jobs way late into the game. Of course, we all watched what Apple did over the years – the highs and the lows. I was always amazed how they would do something Microsoft and others had attempted previously, but made it elegantly simple.

    He definitely changed lives. Here is my post on him: Love your blog; keep up the great work!

  2. Steve Jobs was the public face of Apple, and why countless articles are still being written about him today. But it’s the people in the shadows who often deserve more praise, and yet are overlooked. Dennis Ritchie’s biggest ‘mistake’ was dying a week after Jobs.

    “When Steve Jobs died last week, there was a huge outcry, and that was very moving and justified. But Dennis had a bigger effect, and the public doesn’t even know who he is,” says Rob Pike

    Ritchie often said the same things.

    Jobs: “God gave us ten styluses, let’s not invent another.”
    Ritchie: “At the same time, much of it seems to have to do with recreating things we or others had already done; it seems rather derivative intellectually; is there a dearth of really new ideas?”

    Jobs: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
    Ritchie: “UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity.”

    I’m not trying to knock Jobs, not at all. I appreciate all he has done, too. I’m just trying to say that what he accomplished happened in large part because of people like Ritchie. The Apple platform owes a lot to him, as Wired magazine wrote, “Dennis Ritchie: The Shoulders that Steve Jobs Stood On”.

    But I guess, in the public’s eye, a Turing Award, IEEE Medal, Japan Prize and National Medal of Technology don’t count as much as selling an iPhone.

    1. Argh! I don’t mean to to ignore Dennis’s accomplishments. They are also truly great! I was merely writing a review of Steve Jobs Biography, which doesn’t mention Dennis Ritchie. :/

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