That’s the title of my piece that just went up on Daily Beast, and it’s what I kept thinking as I pored through the Isaacson biography, which landed on my iPad last night. Much of the stuff in the book is not new, but much of the stuff that is new is kind of disappointing to people who want to view Steve Jobs as a kind of messiah figure. The stuff with Lisa, the complaints from Jony Ive about Steve taking credit for things and being hurtful to people, the stuff about Steve never seeing his kids, his obsession with Android, the unkind comments about so many people around him, the crazy attempts to cure his cancer with carrot juice and acupuncture, the demand that Obama call him personally to request a meeting, the strange Montgomery Burns suggestions to Obama about deregulating businesses so they could be more like China and about making kids go to school 11 months out of the year and stay in session until 6 p.m. — these things do not add up to a flattering portrait and and they stand in stark contrast to the hagiography we’ve seen in the 19 days since Jobs died. Maybe this is a good thing. I’ve always felt that people did Steve a disservice by portraying him as a holy man, some kind of silicon saint leading us into the promised land. It seemed to me that Steve had a deep reservoir of darkness inside him, and that this dark energy was what fueled his genius. WIthout it, he would have been just another Silicon Valley marketing guy in a pair of khakis and an Oxford shirt. His challenge was to harness that dark energy and use it without being consumed or destroyed by it.
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