Assuming his biography well represents him, Steve Jobs was a jerk for much of his life. A work-a-holic with eating disorders, incredibly bratty, ruthless.
I’m sure a lot of devout followers will excuse his actions with “no one is perfect.” I prefer that justification, however, for people who are at least trying to improve their social skills with age, instead of sticking to their anti-social guns as Jobs did for much of his life.
The reality, though, is that Jobs is the latest in a long line of humans that seemingly sacrifice their humanity to become great artists or contributors to society. The other that quickly comes to mind is Jack Nicholson. He’ll wow you with his acting (seriously, the last 45 seconds of About Schmidt is one of the most powerful scenes in movies). But he too has a reputation for being a jerk. Other great but tyrannical leaders do as well.
(A side note: Is it possible to be both a model human being and great contributor to society? If so, said people are few and far between. Well-roundedness never was greatness.)
That said, Jobs was an inspired businessman most of the time and good guy some of the time. I certainly came away with a stimulated mind and greater focus after reading the book. He’s also a poet. And I appreciated the remorse and hope he demonstrated near the end of his life. The last page, in particular, is very uplifting and ironic.
So for anyone interested in business, personal computing, or music, Steve Jobs is a fascinating and inspirational read. It will also help you take stock of how you treat others in your life.
Four stars out of five.