Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a very private guy, so it’s surprising to learn that this biography was initially his idea. Author Walter Isaacson was initially hesitant to write about someone whose career was still in the midst of “ups and downs” (Isaacson had already written biographies of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger), but agreed to write it after learning from Jobs’ wife about his serious health issues. Going against his control-freak personality, Jobs agreed not to interfere in the contents of the book and did not even read it in advance. The book is an intimate account of the life of one of the most influential people on the planet in recent times.
As an infant, Jobs was put up for adoption. Devastated by the knowledge of having being abandoned, Jobs developed a narcissistic and obsessive personality that could both hurt and motivate the people around him. To achieve his goals, however seemingly impossible, he relied on a combination of pushy behavior and odd physical mannerisms (such as an unblinking stare), which were dubbed the “Reality Distortion Field” by some of his early colleagues. Combined with an unrelenting perfectionism, these characteristics helped Jobs’ Apple develop many phenomenally successful products and revolutionize information technology. The downside of Jobs’ “Reality Distortion Field” could be seen in his initial denial that he was the biological father of his daughter Lisa, and in his refusal to have surgical treatment for cancer following his diagnosis with the disease, which he later regretted.
Many think of Jobs exclusively as the guy who created Apple. It is interesting to learn that he was also involved with Pixar and helped produce legendary animated films such as the “Toy Story” trilogy, “A Bug’s Life,” and “Finding Nemo.” His involvement with the film industry followed his ouster from Apple in 1985 and his creation of the company NeXT. With his official return to Apple in 1997, Jobs and his teams created a series of increasingly great and more advanced products such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Steve Jobs was a Zen devotee and a perfectionist whose binary perspective cause him to see something as either “the best” or “total s**t”). Of all his friends and enemies, Microsoft founder Bill Gates (more of an enemy) seemed to have played the biggest role in eventually.