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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Jobs’ original vision for the iPhone: No third-party native apps

Remember back in 2007 when Apple first told developers that to develop for the iPhone, they’d need to build WebApps for Safari? Well, that really was the plan. At the time, Jobs said:

The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.

And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.

The App Store came later and apparently as a reaction to jailbreakers and developer backlash.

The App Store nowadays is arguably the most vital app community on any platform, but Steve Jobs initially resisted the idea of users customizing their iPhones with third-party programs, later to become known as apps. The revelation is another of the many interesting nuggets to leak from the upcoming Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, which goes on sale Monday. According to the Huffington Post which obtained an early copy of the book:

Apple board member Art Levinson told Isaacson that he phoned Jobs “half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps,” but, according to Isaacson, “Jobs at first quashed the discussion, partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers.”

Some other tidbits: Jobs informed Cook on a flight to Japan that “I’ve decided to make you COO”. Also, the initial lukewarm reception to iPad “annoyed and depressed” Jobs.

As for Apple’s seemingly unstoppable mobile application bazaar, Jobs – of course – would later embrace the App Store fully as it had become the central theme around Apple’s famous iPhone commercials featuring the “There’s an app for that” tagline. Upon releasing, the original iPhone immediately captured attention of the hacking community which had begun tinkering with the product. Soon thereafter, popular tweaks ensued which added more functionality to the device despite the lack of the official software development kit.

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Jobs to Obama: “You’re headed for a one-term presidency” because the US can’t build factories

The Huffington Post pulls some words that Steve Jobs had for president Obama from Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio.  On the meeting, Jobs insisted that Obama himself ask for a personal invitation.  They met in the Westin Airport hotel in San Francisco. It sounds like like Jobs is more of a Conservative than “hippy Liberal” in his incredibly blunt words to President Obama:

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.” Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.

That said, Jobs was still willing to help Obama’s re-election campaign…
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Steve Jobs’ harsh words for Bill Gates and his biological father

Before Steve Jobs’ biography drops Monday, many news outlets have already gotten their hands on excerpts from the book. Huffington Post has posted tonight some excerpts from the biography regarding Steve Jobs’ harsh comments on Bill Gates. Steve said:

“He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

Bill said regarding Steve:

“He really never knew much about technology, but he had an amazing instinct for what works.”

Steve said:

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

When it comes to Steve Jobs’ biological father, who we profiled a few months ago, Steve also harshly said..

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