The Truth About Steve Jobs: My Take On the Best-Selling Biography

My wife bought me the Steve Jobs biography for Christmas. I know what you are thinking: Yes, it is only December 23rd , and yes I have already finished the book. I couldn't wait, okay?

I took copious notes, and here is what I learned.

#1: STEVE JOBS WAS A WORLD CLASS JERK .(Actually, jerk doesn’t even begin to explain him.  There is a more appropriate word, which I won’t use, but it begins with “a” and ends with “hole.” )

#2: BEING A JERK IS, MANY TIMES, NECESSARY TO GET ENOUGH PEOPLE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS THAT CREATE WORLD-CLASS RESULTS.

Closely related to this lesson are a few principles in which I strongly believe. Namely:

(a) Talk is cheap – I hate people whose mouth muscles are the strongest part of their body, while their legs muscles  lie dormant. Steve Jobs was definitely not one of these types and he did not permit his employees to be this type either.

(b) Actions speak louder than words – Andrew Carnegie said, “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”  I think Jobs and Carnegie would have gotten along well, if they had lived in the same era.

(c) Honesty trumps kindness, if you want to create meaningful improvement. Too many people are so sensitive that they would rather have people lie to their face, and as a result, have no growth. To me, that’s sick. Apple was a place where brutal honesty was practiced (even forced) and they created better products because of it. If an Apple employee’s work was crap, they heard about it. If their work wasn’t perfect, they would hear about that too. Then, they would begin a journey that would ultimately end with a much better result. BUT, brutal honesty was the start of that outcome.

#3: NOT TAKING “NO” FOR AN ANSWER MAY BE ANNOYING TO EVERYONE WITH WHOM YOU ASSOCIATE, BUT IT ACTUALLY IS THE STARTING POINT OF ALL SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE WORLD.

Henry Ford, once asked his engineers to create a car engine that had eight cylinders. They told him it was impossible. He told them that it WAS possible and to keep on keeping on until the task  was done (if they wanted to stay employed by him). The engineers, not knowing what else to do, kept at the project which they thought was absurd. Eventually, they invented the V8 engine – a mechanical and technological breakthrough at the time. Steve Jobs did the same thing time after time with his employees. As a result, we now have mouses on computers and GUI, personal computers in almost every home, the iPhone and iPad. Sometimes it pays to NOT believe something is impossible.

#4 FOCUS.

In this modern mobile world, we have too many distractions. I have been known to berate someone who texts during a conversation with me and cuss out a driver that is paying more attention to his phone than to the road. It is kind of ironic that Apple created the iPhone, which undoubtedly has created less-focused people, while Jobs was so focused himself. In fact, he was focused to a fault – to the point that he ignored loved ones. But, we can learn from him. We SHOULD learn from him. We should learn the trait of putting aside the unnecessary and pushing forward with the more weighty matters in life – the things that will move us to meaningful goals.

#5 MY FAVORITE PASSAGES IN THE BOOK:


“Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. 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!” ~ Apple Computers 

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” ~ Steve Jobs

MY CONCLUSIONS:

You must read this book if:

(a) You are a business person.

(b) You are an Apple fan and want to know how Jobs was able to create such first-class products.

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