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Steve Jobs - Walter Issacson


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It looks like Amazon has started releasing the digital copies early.

 

I just downloaded my copy about an hour ago!

 

Never been a fan of Issacson's work. But so far I'm enjoying it so far. I'm reading selective chapters first. The chapter regarding Jonny Ive and Steve Jobs has been fantastic.

 

The 60 Minutes iPad app has some extra video supplements which were not part of the show. Probably an extra 20-30 minutes of extra video information.

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I can't believe the circle jerk on this site sometimes.  Steve Jobs was an asshole and highly functioning sociopath.  It saddens me to see a bunch of you idolize this guy. 

 

This quote from the book got to me:

 

"Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why he's more comfortable in philanthropy than technology," Jobs sneeringly told Isaacson.

 

Well, Steve-o, you're were more comfortable with alternative medicine which is why you're now dead.  What an ass.

 

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A friend of mine who works in the media lucked out and got an advanced copy.  His only take away from the book was that Jobs was a total and complete ass.

 

In Kevin O'Leary's book he also eluded to that.........................but Kevin O'Leary went to California to ask Jobs for $50M.  I may be a bit irate and start swearing too.  8)

 

 

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I can't believe the circle jerk on this site sometimes.  Steve Jobs was an asshole and highly functioning sociopath.  It saddens me to see a bunch of you idolize this guy. 

 

This quote from the book got to me:

 

"Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why he's more comfortable in philanthropy than technology," Jobs sneeringly told Isaacson.

 

Well, Steve-o, you're were more comfortable with alternative medicine which is why you're now dead.  What an ass.

 

It saddens you? Get over yourself.

 

 

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Guest misterstockwell

I can't believe the circle jerk on this site sometimes.  Steve Jobs was an asshole and highly functioning sociopath.  It saddens me to see a bunch of you idolize this guy. 

 

This quote from the book got to me:

 

"Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why he's more comfortable in philanthropy than technology," Jobs sneeringly told Isaacson.

 

Well, Steve-o, you're were more comfortable with alternative medicine which is why you're now dead.  What an ass.

 

+1  When I hear things like "this generation's Edison" it makes me puke

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It's well known that he was not easy to work with/for, and yeah, he can be perceived as an asshole with the way he spoke his mind at times (he definitely has no qualms about bashing his competition).

 

He did however, build arguably the most successful company ever, as well as another great company in Pixar. He was a control freak, but got results. His innovation principles are in their own league, and set the standard for nearly every other tech company in the world. People talk about a lot of people being visionaries, but Jobs had an uncanny ability to see the future and build for it.

 

He was able to repeatedly produce products that changed people's lives and changed the world. He of course didn't do it alone, but you simply can't argue with the results he got as a leader.

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I think some people are missing the point. So what if Einstein treated his wife badly and if Paul Dirac was sometime a cold and remote asshole and if half the great musicians/writers/painters over the centuries were dysfunctional weirdos? Will they be remembered in history for how normal and nice they were? Are you looking for a friend or a parental figure when you read a book about them? Are you the kind of person who reads the Snowball and is then angry at Buffett because he shoplifted and mostly wasn't there in a conventional "good husband/father" way for his wife and kids? I'm sure that Munger has also pissed off countless people over the years, maybe more than Jobs; should people ignore what he says and what he did just because they think he's not nice and he doesn't sugar coat stuff?

 

To achieve extreme results, at both end of the spectrum, you often need a person with an extreme personality (skills, obsessions, character traits, independence, etc), and that often magnifies both talents and flaws and clashes with societal norms and will rub many people the wrong way. But if you look at how Apple employees venerated Jobs and how millions of people grieved his death, it looks like the bad parts were more than compensated by the good ones.

 

So how about being less judgemental and instead learning from other people's success and mistakes.

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I think some people are missing the point.

 

I completely agree.  The point isn't that Jobs win the Nice Guy of the Year Award, it's simply that he pushed technology into areas where it hadn't gone before.  These types of arguments are so bass ackwards.  It's like when people discuss great baseball players and Ty Cobb comes up.  But he was a racist they say.  He isn't being discussed for his humanitarian endeavors, but the fact that he was a great baseball player.  When people want to discuss the top assholes of all time, then we can discuss whether Jobs and Cobb belong there.  In the meantime, their personal views don't detract from the subject at hand.

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I think some people are missing the point.

 

I completely agree.  The point isn't that Jobs win the Nice Guy of the Year Award, it's simply that he pushed technology into areas where it hadn't gone before.  These types of arguments are so bass ackwards.  It's like when people discuss great baseball players and Ty Cobb comes up.  But he was a racist they say.  He isn't being discussed for his humanitarian endeavors, but the fact that he was a great baseball player.  When people want to discuss the top assholes of all time, then we can discuss whether Jobs and Cobb belong there.  In the meantime, their personal views don't detract from the subject at hand.

 

I really appreciate what Jobs did, but to be clear, he never really created new technologies.  He took existing technologies and used his team, influence and taste to rework them into beautiful things that the vast majority of people can now use, via a variety of methods, one of the principals of which is simplicity.  When the original iPod came out I totally missed how the simplicity and beauty would win over so many people.

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I think some people are missing the point. So what if Einstein treated his wife badly and if Paul Dirac was sometime a cold and remote asshole and if half the great musicians/writers/painters over the centuries were dysfunctional weirdos? Will they be remembered in history for how normal and nice they were?

 

So how about being less judgemental and instead learning from other people's success and mistakes.

 

By all accounts Winston Churchill was an absolutely, insufferable prick.  Without him the English anf French would all be learning German now, and the Americans would have had a 60 year cold war with Nazis.

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I think some people are missing the point.

 

No one is arguing that he wasn't a visionary; they are saying that it's sad that people idolize someone based upon professional success regardless of their personal failures.  You might ask who cares in Einstein treated his wife like shit?  I'd say his wife probably cared greatly.  And probably his wife's family, her friends, her parents, etc.  But hey ... if you can write fancy equations, go right ahead and treat people like shit.  It TOTALLY balances it out.

 

This is a major problem with humanity (not that it will ever change admittedly.)  It's what I call the "rock star" fetish.  Are you rich? Successful? Famous? Then you are given a blank check to treat people like insects. 

 

True story: I turned down an investment banking role in New York to stay in my hometown.  I took a less prestigious job with less pay.  I did so because I wanted my kids to grow up in a safe place, so my wife-to-be could be closer to her family and so I could look over my widowed mother.  But apparently, it wouldn't matter if Jamie Dimon treated me like shit, because he's a rock star financier.

 

Sorry, my measure of man isn't bank account, market cap or gadgets.  And some people agree with me.  This book about Steve Jobs is about the MAN.  But who knows, maybe when Jobs gets to the gates, Jesus will be a iPhone lover and all will be forgiven.  But I doubt it...

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I'm not saying it doesn't matter, I'm saying that if you want to study assholes, there are billions of those and singling out Churchill or Jobs isn't productive. But people who achieve what Jobs or Churchill (or even Bill Gates, who could be very mean to his employees and competitors) did are very few, so those parts of their lives are worth studying. Missing the good because of the bad is counter-productive, but that's just my 2 cents.

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A lot of you guys give him way too much credit.  It's not Steve Jobs that turned around Apple, it's Jonathan Ive. 

 

And Edison?  Fuck Edison.  He doesn't deserve any of the credit given to him.  I think Tesla deserves all the praise and Edison should have gone down in history as the biggest ass of all time.

 

 

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Guest valueInv

I think some people are missing the point.

 

No one is arguing that he wasn't a visionary; they are saying that it's sad that people idolize someone based upon professional success regardless of their personal failures.  You might ask who cares in Einstein treated his wife like shit?  I'd say his wife probably cared greatly.  And probably his wife's family, her friends, her parents, etc.  But hey ... if you can write fancy equations, go right ahead and treat people like shit.  It TOTALLY balances it out.

 

This is a major problem with humanity (not that it will ever change admittedly.)  It's what I call the "rock star" fetish.  Are you rich? Successful? Famous? Then you are given a blank check to treat people like insects. 

 

True story: I turned down an investment banking role in New York to stay in my hometown.  I took a less prestigious job with less pay.  I did so because I wanted my kids to grow up in a safe place, so my wife-to-be could be closer to her family and so I could look over my widowed mother.  But apparently, it wouldn't matter if Jamie Dimon treated me like shit, because he's a rock star financier.

 

Sorry, my measure of man isn't bank account, market cap or gadgets.  And some people agree with me.  This book about Steve Jobs is about the MAN.  But who knows, maybe when Jobs gets to the gates, Jesus will be a iPhone lover and all will be forgiven.  But I doubt it...

 

You admire people for the virtues they had. I admire Jobs for what he contributed to the technology world and Gandhi for what he contributed

to India's freedom. Not vice versa. Everyone one of us has flaws but that doesn't take away our contributions. Gandhi used to be against modernization. He believed that that would take away laborers livelihood because they would be replaced by machines. He was against railways because he believed that the would allow farmers to sell their products in other markets and deprive local communities. Does that mean that we should forget his contributions to humanity?

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You admire people for the virtues they had. I admire Jobs for what he contributed to the technology world and Gandhi for what he contributed

to India's freedom. Not vice versa. Everyone one of us has flaws but that doesn't take away our contributions. Gandhi used to be against modernization. He believed that that would take away laborers livelihood because they would be replaced by machines. He was against railways because he believed that the would allow farmers to sell their products in other markets and deprive local communities. Does that mean that we should forget his contributions to humanity?

 

Should we forget them? No.  But it should certainly be a factor in how he should be viewed, particularly when it's in the context of his life (which is the entire point of a biography.)

 

I don't think the world will ever forget Steve Job's positive contribution to computers.  But people also tend to idolize great contributors  by minimizing or outright forgetting their negative contribution to the world.  It's human nature.

 

But I think the world would be a better place if we all concentrated on being better people to our fellow human beings than trying to squeeze the last dollar out of an investment, the last drop of productivity out of an employee, etc. when it comes at the cost of openly demeaning/terrorizing inferiors in the workplace or treating people like stepping stones to personal gain.

 

 

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A lot of you guys give him way too much credit.  It's not Steve Jobs that turned around Apple, it's Jonathan Ive.

 

Saying this is like saying that Tim Cook turned Apple around. No. They all contributed a lot and are great men in their own fields, but it's Jobs that got them together and gave them power and had the final word on everything including where each screw went on a product and on which of the many prototypes would make it to market. Ive's great, but Apple without Ive but with Jobs would probably still have been great, while Apple with Ive but no Jobs would probably have been kind of like what it was in the 90s and Ive's idea would never have risen to the surface like in all those other companies that have talented designers but still make crappy products... There are more great industrial designers out there (even though not that many) than there are Steve Jobs-caliber CEOs, it's just that most of those industrial designers' work is being diluted by the leadership of other companies (just imagine Ive being hired by Microsoft -- would it transform the company? Then imagine Ballmer being replaced by Jobs, if he was still alive).

 

I'm also a Tesla fan, btw.

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But I think the world would be a better place if we all concentrated on being better people to our fellow human beings than trying to squeeze the last dollar out of an investment, the last drop of productivity out of an employee, etc. when it comes at the cost of openly demeaning/terrorizing inferiors in the workplace or treating people like stepping stones to personal gain.

 

It would be nice if everyone could be all things to all people. The reality is that we are all composites of good and bad. Rather than wishing for something idealistic that will not happen, why not be glad that we have people who excel in different things, character faults notwithstanding.

 

We are infinitely better off in a world where Jobs, Churchill, Gandhi, Buffett, Mandela, Franklin, Princess Diana, etc focused on what they did best. The work of the great humanitarians would more than offset the pain caused by the "assholes." This would be certainly be a more interesting world than one in which Diana and Jobs wasted half their time doing things they were bad at, such as creating electronics and helping AIDS and landmine victims respectively. The Theory of Comparative Advantage works.

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But I think the world would be a better place if we all concentrated on being better people to our fellow human beings than trying to squeeze the last dollar out of an investment, the last drop of productivity out of an employee, etc. when it comes at the cost of openly demeaning/terrorizing inferiors in the workplace or treating people like stepping stones to personal gain.

 

It would be nice if everyone could be all things to all people. The reality is that we are all composites of good and bad. Rather than wishing for something idealistic that will not happen, why not be glad that we have people who excel in different things, character faults notwithstanding.

 

We are infinitely better off in a world where Jobs, Churchill, Gandhi, Buffett, Mandela, Franklin, Princess Diana, etc focused on what they did best. The work of the great humanitarians would more than offset the pain caused by the "assholes." This would be certainly be a more interesting world than one in which Diana and Jobs wasted half their time doing things they were bad at, such as creating electronics and helping AIDS and landmine victims respectively. The Theory of Comparative Advantage works.

 

I personally don't believe the Theory of Comparative Advantage applies to morality.  I don't believe a man can mistreat others because he might be good at other things.  I don't believe there is a cost of being a good person.

 

There might be people that choose to overlook the bad if the good is good enough.  I, and some other, don't.  That's a well-traveled road to corruption.  I am not trying to seem high and mighty, but when compared to a brat like Steve Jobs, who never felt remorse for swindling people (his partner Woz included), I think this is an important discussion to have.

 

I remember as a kid, we all knew Ebeneezer Scrooge was a bad man.  But in today's society, we take his good with the bad because he built a very successful business. Ebeneezer Scrooge would be a hero today.  Money and power make people twist their views in ways they'll never quite grasp.

 

Steve Jobs was an Ebeneezer Scrooge that sold gadgets.  They were amazing gadgets (I own iPhone 4, iPad 2 and MBA) but I won't excuse his behavior for them.

 

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Guest valueInv

 

I don't think the world will ever forget Steve Job's positive contribution to computers.  But people also tend to idolize great contributors  by minimizing or outright forgetting their negative contribution to the world.  It's human nature.

 

If you know of a way of idolizing a person for their negative contributions, do tell, because I don't know how  ;)

 

But I think the world would be a better place if we all concentrated on being better people to our fellow human beings than trying to squeeze the last dollar out of an investment, the last drop of productivity out of an employee, etc. when it comes at the cost of openly demeaning/terrorizing inferiors in the workplace or treating people like stepping stones to personal gain.

Apple's products are great because Steve went way beyond others. That was possible because he pushed people. Yes, he had no filter and said what he wanted. I actually admire him for that. Instead of passive-agressive backstabbing that I see at too many companies, it is refreshing to see someone speak their mind. Steve did not hold back in his praise for his team either. Listen to his talks. He always says "We" or "Apple" never "I".

 

One note about his personal gain - if I remember correctly, he got a large grant of stock  options a while back. Since then, he has been on a $1 salary with no new stock options.

 

 

 

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