Reflections on Steve Jobs: A Biography
I just finished Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs this past weekend.
Wow. What an amazing life.
Beyond all of the great innovations that sparked out of the mind of Steve Jobs like Apple, Pixar, Disney, etc., I was genuinely moved by his personal story and the flurry of insights into life and business it stirred within me.
Here are some of the key thoughts I walked away with from reading the book:
- No one is perfect so stop acting like it. Steve Jobs clearly recognized that he had issues (and lots of them!). He knew that many people didn’t like his approach or tact in leading companies and ideas. Jobs often ignored or pushed back any thoughts that went contrary to his own convictions. Nevertheless, he stayed relatively true to who he was. He understood that he was a flawed being trying to live out something he believed to be right.
- Do what you love and love what you do. Steve Jobs didn’t do what he did because of money. He actually loved his job (no pun intended). He had a genuine passion to do what he thought would make him feel completely alive. In fact, Jobs gave up several opportunities for more money so that he could focus on creating products the he way he wanted. He had the rare privilege of waking up each morning to do what he loved.
- Live without regret. Steve Jobs went for it! Period. He couldn’t bear the thought of not trying something be believed to be right. Did Jobs have any regrets? Of course he did. Nevertheless, Jobs wanted to go to the grave with no gas left in his tank. By in large, he did just that.
- Speak your mind and live with the consequences. Steve Jobs did not shy away from confrontation. Although many (if not most) didn’t appreciate it, it did bring clarity to a lot of important relationships throughout Jobs’ life. As difficult as it was to hear, people knew where they stood with Jobs. I think there’s a raw beauty here that could be learned by many of us leading companies and organizations.
- Learn from the unexpected and unrelated. Steve Jobs was a continual learner. He was not shy about engaging fields unrelated to technology. Jobs understood that creativity is often birthed when two seemingly unrelated ideas collide with one another. He masterful integration of technology and the arts is a testament to this paradigm.
- Simplicity must be integrated. Steve Jobs worked towards simplicity in all of his product development. Nevertheless, he didn’t just end with simplicity, but rather, sought simplicity that could be integrated to the whole of his company. In other words, simplicity in of itself was not good enough. A specific creation had to find its place in the collective whole.
Steve Jobs was far from being perfect. I think his relationship to loved ones and people who genuinely cared about his work was less than admirable. Maybe this is why I like him. I like the fact that Jobs was human…an average guy with an extraordinary gift. He did what he could with what he had and changed the world in the process.
I thank Steve Jobs for being Steve Jobs. Imperfect Brilliance.
Here’s a quick video introduction for the book. Yes, read it when you have get a chance: