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He arrives at his hotel suite in New York for press interviews and decides, at 10 , that the piano needs to be repositioned, the strawberries are inadequate, and the flowers are all wrong: he wanted calla lilies. He insisted that the machinery on the 165-foot assembly line be configured to move the circuit boards from right to left as they got built, so that the process would look better to visitors who watched from the viewing gallery.”Isaacson begins with Jobs’s humble origins in Silicon Valley, the early triumph at Apple, and the humiliating ouster from the firm he created. Britain had plentiful supplies of coal, for instance. It had relatively high labor costs, which encouraged the search for labor-saving innovations.
(When his public-relations assistant returns, at midnight, with the right flowers, he tells her that her suit is “disgusting.”) “Machines and robots were painted and repainted as he compulsively revised his color scheme,” Isaacson writes, of the factory Jobs built, after founding Ne XT, in the late nineteen-eighties. He then charts the even greater triumphs at Pixar and at a resurgent Apple, when Jobs returns, in the late nineteen-nineties, and our natural expectation is that Jobs will emerge wiser and gentler from his tumultuous journey. In the hospital at the end of his life, he runs through sixty-seven nurses before he finds three he likes. He also hated the oxygen monitor they put on his finger. One of the great puzzles of the industrial revolution is why it began in England. In an article published earlier this year, however, the economists Ralf Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr focus on a different explanation: the role of Britain’s human-capital advantage—in particular, on a group they call “tweakers.” They believe that Britain dominated the industrial revolution because it had a far larger population of skilled engineers and artisans than its competitors: resourceful and creative men who took the signature inventions of the industrial age and from Lancashire, invented the spinning mule, which made possible the mechanization of cotton manufacture.
long after Steve Jobs got married, in 1991, he moved with his wife to a nineteen-thirties, Cotswolds-style house in old Palo Alto.
Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived.
Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table.”Steve Jobs, Isaacson’s biography makes clear, was a complicated and exhausting man.
He forced the developers to do another version, and then another, about twenty iterations in all, insisting on one tiny tweak after another, and when the developers protested that they had better things to do he shouted, “Can you imagine looking at that every day? It’s something we have to do right.”The famous Apple “Think Different” campaign came from Jobs’s advertising team at TBWAChiat Day.
Jobs gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then denies that the child is his. He gets stopped for driving a hundred miles an hour, honks angrily at the officer for taking too long to write up the ticket, and then resumes his journey at a hundred miles an hour.
He sits in a restaurant and sends his food back three times.
“You shouldn’t whitewash it.” Isaacson, to his credit, does not.
He talks to everyone in Jobs’s career, meticulously recording conversations and encounters dating back twenty and thirty years. “He had the uncanny capacity to know exactly what your weak point is, know what will make you feel small, to make you cringe,” a friend of his tells Isaacson. He cries like a small child when he does not get his way.