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’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” and Chogyam Trungpa’s “Cutting 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…
…Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and Ron Rosenbaum’s 1971 Esquire article “Secrets of the Little Blue Box”. Both “deeply influenced” Jobs, Isaacson wrote in the upcoming bio. The former explores the term disruptive technologies which the author coined and introduced in his 1995 article Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, co-written with Joseph Bower. The latter offers an insightful profile into the minds of the hackers who tapped into phone networks. As it is now famously known, Steve Jobs and his sidekick Steve Wozniak – before Apple had even been born in Jobs parents’ garage – tracked down the illusive figure known as Captain Crunch (real name: John Draper) who introduced the two Steves to the gentle art of phone phreaking.
According to Wikipedia, “Draper wrote EasyWriter, the first word processor for the Apple II, in 1978” and the Wall Street Journal claims he hand-wrote the code while serving nights in the Alameda County Jail, then entered the code later into a computer. Captain Crunch would later in an interview claim that Jobs himself wasn’t much of a hacker. Other book excerpts that big media leaked ahead of the official release have uncovered noteworthy facts about the Silicon Valley figure who famously kept his private life separate of his CEO role at the helm of the world’s most-valued technology company.
The Associated Press published an interesting excerpt on Android, where Steve Jobs pledges to drop the hammer on Google’s software “because it’s a stolen product”, saying “I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this”. The Huffington Post pulled some words that Steve had for President Obama over the nation’s inability to compete effectively with Asian companies. Jobs told the President he was “headed for a one-term presidency” because the United States can’t build factories due to “regulations and unnecessary costs”.
Apple’s co-founder also had some harsh words for Bill Gates and his biological father, a Syrian-born 80-year old named Abdulfattah John Jandali who is vice president of a casino in Reno, Nevada. Publisher Simon & Schuster’s book will also cover behind-the-scene details concerning Jobs’ resignation as the CEO of Apple. Fortune will also publish an exclusive excerpt from the book in the October 24 issue which will cover Jobs’ relationship with Bill Gates.
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