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Mike Biddell

He was an odious little twerp. Remember the king and his new clothes.

Andrew Meyer

Bnt0 has an interesting point, that Jobs was like a "strong man" in a country. This is an apt comparison because Apple could well be thought of as a country. There are probably only about 20 countries that have higher revenues than Apple, so thinking about it as a country is reasonable and provides valid insights. Isn't there value comparing him to Machiavelli's "The Prince"?

You have a great insight in Jobs' uniqueness. He grew up in a particular environment, at a particular time with very peculiar access. Not only was his brain unique, so were his advisers and his ability to open doors. And the pressures Apple would have put him under, must have hardened his outlooks and thinking in ways we cannot imagine.

Maybe people like using Jobs' name because is sounds better then crediting Mom with saying "Work hard, stick to your knitting and don't pick fights you can't win."

James Birchall

I wonder if being an asshole was a consequence of his obsession with excellence rather then a cause.

If you are trying to do something and believe you're right then you're going to have to compromise your aesthetic for the sake of harmony or deal with the perception that you're an asshole.

I think Jobs did the latter: his perception of being an asshole wasn't because he enjoyed being cruel, it was because he was right, you weren't and you weren't smart enough to recognise that.

In short, he was an asshole because he bruised your ego.

My question from that is: was Steve Jobs really an asshole then? Is he only an asshole because he expressed the fact that you were wrong using foul language and personal insult?

Lou Pepper, Jr.

First, if we give Jobs a pass on being an asshole it doesn’t mean that others are capable of getting away with it. How many among us are as talented, intelligent and unique as Jobs? Few, if any. So if you think emulating Job’s “assholeness” will help you, think again – you ain’t Steve Jobs. This doesn’t mean you can’t emulate his good qualities.

Second, Bob and others have written books and done loads of research on how assholes negatively affect organizations. For every Steve Jobs there are millions of assholes wrecking havoc in businesses across the world. The negative consequences of “assholeness” are well documented. The reality is most people aren’t as talented as Jobs and will never get away with it. So why try?

There are really two questions for each of us to answer:
1) Is being an asshole a prerequisite to success? Clearly not, because there are many, many successful non-assholes.
2) Is it ok to be an asshole if you are successful? Not in my book. I don’t like assholes. Most people don’t.

John C. Welch

Being Steve Jobs worked for Steve Jobs because that's who he was. It was...well, *sincere*. When he would scream about something sucking and it needing to be perfect, that was what he really believed. When he pushed to reduce the boot time on the original Mac, because it would save enough time to translate into millions of lifetimes, he believed that. When he made the iPhone team change the design from plastic to glass, it was because he *really* hated the idea of scratches.

You can't "act like" Steve and have it work for you, because you'll be insincere. You'll not be doing it because that's what you believe, but because you read it somewhere and thought maybe it would work. That's not going to work.

Now, if you read about Steve, and some of the things he cared about or said resonate with you, *those* things are worth exploring, but not because Steve cared about them, but because you maybe realized that you care about them also. Reading about how much steve cared about design helped me realize why so much enterprise software pisses me off:

It's like it's designed to torture people. But when I get passionate about making software not suck, I'm not "channeling Steve", i'm channeling *me*. The difference is perhaps subtle, but important. You have to care about things because YOU care about them, not because some dude in a book did.

Rod Johnson

To me, this is a "Is the glass half full, or is it half empty" argument. Simply because it depends on one's beliefs and perspective. I'm a glass half full kind of person, and therefore I believe that Jobs had some brilliant beliefs that guided him and Apple well.

For one, his laser-like focus. Jobs could come into a meeting that had been ongoing for hours and within minutes distill it into something that was simple, workable and at times brilliant. For some, Jobs could be criticized for his bluntness. Others could point to his brilliance and how he was able to move the team forward. It all depends.

Personally, it's Jobs guiding principles and beliefs that I can extract and use.


In Jobs' return to Apple, and the way he took over, I saw something akin to a "strong man" situation. When a society has lost its direction, it looks to a "strong man" to take over and impose order. (I say "man" for convenience, but a similar argument could be made for Mrs. Thatcher in the UK in the 1980s.)

You can see this throughout history e.g. the way Julius Caesar was invited to become a dictator, and would have had he not been assassinated, and a decade later Rome had an Emperor anyway. Italy needed Mussolini to make the trains run on time. The Communist revolution Russia was losing its momentum before Stalin took over and imposed his will on the state.The term "cult of personality" was coined by Khrushchev to describe Stalin, after he died.

Isn't it hyperbolic to compare Steve Jobs to political despots? A little, perhaps, but I think all the basics are there: a "strong man" restores order to an entity and becomes the focus of attention himself - possibly too much attention. Since Steve Jobs died while at (or close to) the peak of his popularity, I'm not surprised that his flaws will be overlooked. They came to praise Steve Jobs, not to bury him.

Raj Shankar

Very beautifully captured thought. It has been intriguing me from the time i completed Adam's book. Here is a quick review of mine ( )

Instead of trying to reduce all the actions and decisions of Steve Jobs & Apple into a set of behaviours that we can emulate - i think its about what made him be what he was which is a bigger learning. It definitely made me introspect and attempt seeing how the unique me can tap my entrepreneurial ability using Steve as an example. Thanks for highlighting that point. I haven't read your book, which i will do so soon to know more on this thought. Thanks!


What we learn as leaders, managers, CEOs or innovators is directly dependent on our personal & corporate values, mission statements, ethics, belief systems, & level of intelligence.
Personally, I take from him the message that a clear, passionate, focused vision will get you very far and perhaps step on a few people along the way.

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