Steve Jobs

My current read is the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I’m only a tenth of the way through but already Jobs’ story has been incredibly surprising and far different from the upbringing I had expected.

Jobs was difficult to deal with, selfish, and egotistical. He was apathetic, disrespectful, and rude. But he was also driven, obsessive, and curious. When Jobs was my age, he was a radical vegetarian, proud druggie, and college dropout. Aside from his fascination and aptitude towards technology, Jobs seemed to have little foundation to build a successful future on. I’d almost bet that anyone who knew him back then expected very little.

And yet, looking back, there’s no doubt that Jobs has made a profound impact on the world. He’s affected millions if not billions of people and disrupted industries. I’ve always believed that to be successful you’ve got to have a certain amount of “crazy”. I’ve even entertained the thought that crazy people are “normal” ones; the rest of us are “crazy” because we don’t embrace our crazy sides. But is his personality really what it takes to create and run a world-changing company?

If Jobs is considered a “success” of society, then I’m confused. Growing up, I always thought that a successful person had a perfect upbringing. They came from a good family, worked hard, had a plan, and got along with those around them. But as I learn more and more about the people who have made a tremendous impact on the world, I see them stray further and further from the model I had constructed.

Perhaps I’m confused because I’ve only been taught what society is comfortable with me learning. Those around me hope for me to be like the Steve Jobs that made Apple successful, but not the Steve Jobs that dropped out of college. But isn’t the latter necessary for the former? Don’t we need the college dropout to become the revolutionary CEO?

Jobs may be far from the model that we should raise children by, but his certainly life offers some incredibly valuable lessons for everyone to learn. More thoughts coming soon as I make my way through the book!