The veneration of Steve Jobs is over and now the hack jobs and the jealous nellies are coming out from cover to scurry about and degrade the name of the man and his legacy. Sure, Steve was prickly and sometimes unkind — but that was the price of his magic — and the man repeatedly put himself and his vision on the line and found massive success.
However, if there’s one, bright, lesson in the gloaming of Steve Jobs’ death, it is to be braver than he was in his life and to admit that you aren’t always magical and that you are made of guts and bone and that your life is perilously always close to the fringe of death:
Jobs is painted as a stubborn egomaniac who refused to get treatment for his cancer when he was first diagnosed despite entreaties from close friends like Intel CEO Andy Grove, who is a cancer survivor himself, and Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson, who is an Apple director. “That’s not how cancer works,” Levinson recalls telling Jobs when he first set out to cure his disease by with a vegan diet, carrot juice, acupuncture, and visits to a psychic. “You cannot solve this without surgery and blasting it with toxic chemicals.”
Eventually Jobs did have surgery, but by then it was too late—the cancer had spread beyond his pancreas. The Isaacson book also reveals that for the last several years of his life Jobs knew his health situation was far worse than he let on to Apple and the public. For years some critics have complained that Jobs and Apple were not being forthcoming enough with shareholders about the true nature of his condition. The portrait presented by Isaacson is of a man who claimed he had been “cured” even when he knew this was not the case.
In nine, short, months — you can conceive a baby — and you can also have your localized, and totally operable, pancreatic cancer spread to your surrounding organs — making that cancer a killer instead of a temporary nuisance.
Steve Jobs was smart with other people’s lives and completely stupid in his own. In many ways, he died by his own hand. Steve Jobs’ charming hubris is what ultimately dealt him his own death blow.