Feeds

How Jobs bent reality with LSD, Apple hype

Biography reveals scruffy hippy past

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Out today on iTunes and Amazon, the highly anticipated Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson has had a level of hype normal for a new Apple product.

OK, there was no keynote speech and we already knew the specifications - £25*, hardback, 656 pages - but the media, amateur and mainstream, has been going bonkers over Steve Jobs by Isaacson. The former Time editor presented the book on CBS show 60 Minutes last night and the programme played out some fascinating little clips from the hack's taped interviews with Jobs. Isaacson conducted about 40 interviews with the billionaire iPhone baron after he was asked by the Cupertino supremo in 2003 to write a bio.

From conflicted feelings about his biological parents to delayed cancer treatment - the unusual life of Steve Jobs has been raked over in the media, but a couple of less-discussed things that come out of the biography include just how much of a scruffy hippie the young Jobs was.

In one of his first jobs at games maker Atari, Jobs ended up being pushed onto the night shift because he never washed and other employees complained they were distracted by how bad he smelled. Jobs didn't wear shoes, had long hair and simply refused to bathe. "He was a pretty abrasive and in some ways cantankerous character," Isaacson said.

And Jobs didn't just try out drugs, he thought that taking them was one of the best things he'd ever done, telling Isaacson: "Definitely taking LSD was one of the most important things in my life." Jobs relates in an interview: "Not the most important but right up there."

Check out the CBS anchor's face when he talks about the hippy days.

There are more anecdotes of just how hard the perfectionist could be on human error: "He could be very mean to people at times," said Isaacson, "whether it was a waitress in a restaurant or to a guy who had stayed up all night coding." Top of the list comes his former girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and their daughter Lisa, whom he abandoned just before she was born when he was 23 and initially refused to pay child maintenance.

On the genius of Jobs, Isaacson is not dazzled. "He was never much of an engineer," Isaacson said. "He didn't know how to code or programme a computer. That was Wozniak's job." But, as he does in his biography of Einstein, Isaacson makes a case for how Steve's rebelliousness, disbelief in rules and stance at the crossroads of the liberal arts and the sciences gave him a perspective that no one else had.

That and what Apple employees openly referred to as Steve's reality distortion field: "His ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything, to bend any fact to suit his purpose. That was how he made a dent in the universe," Isaacson explained.

Steve Jobs is being punted about by Amazon and iTunes. ®

*reduced to £12.99 on Amazon

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE
Examining the frothy disconnect in indie cafe culture
Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay
Stump up via tat bazaar, do a good thing for ill kids
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.