Pop culture that shaped Steve Jobs’ penchant for design and innovation

Here’s another excerpt from the upcoming Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, which goes on sale Monday in electronic, hardcover and spoken word formats. The juicy bits published by the Huffington Post teach us about the books and music which had shaped the brilliant mind of the entrepreneur and cultural icon who would go on to transform computers, music, mobile, publishing, digital entertainment and cell phones, to name a few. Jobs’ artistic sensibilities drew from the influences he picked up along the way from his reading and listening material, most of which he had discovered and consumed back in the teen and college years.

So what did Jobs read and listen to back then? The music part is easy:

Jobs called Bob Dylan “one of my heroes” and had over a dozen Dylan albums on his iPod, along with songs from seven different Beatles albums, six Rolling Stones albums and four albums by Jobs’ onetime lover Joan Baez.

Jobs’ love for the Beatles became widely known when he likened Apple’s creative process to that of the Beatles, here’s that quote from 60 Minutes:

My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.

As for literature, Jobs’ “required reading” spanned a variety of genres that includes the likes of William Shakespeare to Paramahansa Yogananda, whose “Autobiography of a Yogi” remained one of Jobs’ favorite reads throughout his life and the only e-book he downloaded onto his iPad. Jobs also liked Shunryu Suzuki’sZen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” and Chogyam Trungpa’sCutting Through Spiritual Materialism.”

Apple’s co-founder in the early days was deeply involved in a spiritual search for enlightenment and he experimented with marijuana and LSD starting at the age of 15.

Jobs found himself deeply influenced by a variety of books on spirituality and enlightenment, most notably Be Here Now, a guide to meditation and the wonders of psychedelic drugs by Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert. “It was profound,” Jobs said. “It transformed me and many of my friends.”

Moby Dick and Dylan Thomas’ poetry were also among Jobs’ favorite reads, but the books which really shaped Jobs’ artistic sensibilities and enriched them with a touch of the much-needed technology flare are…

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