Wired: The Story of Steve Jobs, An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale?


Source: The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale? | Wired.com.

Great article by Ben Austen at Wired. It’s hard to find a quote to sum it up nice; the piece is long and well worth reading in its entirety. For example, I liked this passage about Walter Isaacson:

The author admits that he now tends to defend Jobs against personal attacks, since his book has provided much of the ammunition. Isaacson sees Jobs as being hardly more blameworthy, even in his worst moments, than other powerful people. Readers he knows personally claim to be shocked that Jobs would brazenly park in handicap spaces, but Isaacson says some of them are bankers who created the derivatives that screwed clients out of their life savings and helped lead to worldwide recession. When other readers express their contempt for the way Jobs treated his family, Isaacson asks them, “Then how come you’ve been married three times and this particular daughter doesn’t fucking speak to you?” Indeed, Isaacson rejects the premise that Jobs failed with his family. He points out that Jobs ended up with a strong marriage and four loving children, all of whom were at his side during his illness. A wooden table filled much of Jobs’ kitchen, and for the last two decades of his life he came home just about every night and sat down for dinner. “Jobs could have been a better father,” Isaacson concedes. “But I look at that family, and it’s perfectly wonderful. It couldn’t be a better family.”

And this other passage, near the end:

In the end, that remains the paradox in the life of Steve Jobs. He put his uncompromising and sometimes brutal personality into the creation of products that strike us as beautiful, even uplifting. But the historical moment that he helped to create—a magical intersection of technology and commerce and culture, as our computers and computerized gadgets matured from purely functional items to expressions of ourselves—is unique to his life story. Without his unyielding approach to design, we might never have had our iPods and MacBooks and iPads. But most of us don’t need, or want, to take such an unyielding approach. We don’t operate Apple-sized corporations and redefine industries. Our employees, if we have any, will quit or undermine the company if they are repeatedly called shitheads who suck. Family members will find ways to administer payback if persistently ignored or mistreated. Jobs operated on an entirely different plane from just about anyone else. For the rest of us, trying to behave like him will make us and everyone around us miserable.

Oh, and in the in-article poll, Are you an Acolyte or a Rejector?, I voted ‘Both’.

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