Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Part 3)

The iTunes Store. There were many illegal file sharing websites like Kazaa, Napster etc. Steve wanted a legal way to download music. The music companies wanted to copy protect their music. Apple decided to work with Sony on that (Warner-Sony). Sony backed out and worked with Universal to create Pressplay. This was a subscription service to music. Steve hated stealing and piracy. Steve wanted the top 5 record companies to sell through the iTunes store. Steve wanted 99 cents per song, with the record company getting 70 cents. Musicians were unhappy that Steve allowed sale of single songs. According to him, tech companies don’t appreciate artists, and music companies don’t know technology. Steve convinced the music companies to sell through iTunes. Doug Morris was head of UMG. Steve had the vision that music companies were lacking. Morris loved Steve. He agreed to join Apple, instead of partnering with Sony. Sony was a good company, just that their divisions never collaborated and there was no synergy. Andy Lack was head of Sony Music. He knew that if Sony sold music through iTunes, Apple would be making a lot of money. He was angry by that fact. Eventually, Sony agreed to sell through iTunes. Persuading the record companies was one thing, now Steve had to approach the musicians. He went to the major artistes, including Bono, Mick Jagger etc. iTunes was released in Apr 2003. iTunes provided smoother and faster downloads. This was the turning point of the music industry. Microsoft was amazed at how Apple had managed to convince the record companies. Microsoft wanted to compete with iTunes. Microsoft tried to copy, but this time they couldn’t. Apple allowed the iPod to work with Windows. Steve was very against this initially. Apple also produced iTunes for Windows, so that more PC users could own an iPod. iTunes for Windows was launched in Oct 2003. Microsoft introduced Zune in 2006, 3 years later. It had very low market share. Sony’s divisions did not co-operate. This led to their downfall. Apple didn’t have divisional P&L. It was one P&L for the company. Steve was not afraid of cannibalizing yourself. Sony Connect was introduced. It was similar to iTunes. It failed miserably. In Jan 2004, the iPod Mini was released in the market. The iPod Mini was a huge success. In 2005, the iPod Shuffle was also a big hit. People loved to shuffle songs sometimes. ‘Embrace uncertainty’. Apple got rid of the screen. By 2007, iPod sales were half of Apple’s revenues. The iTunes was also a huge success. By June 2011, Apple had a database of over 225 million users.

With Andy, it was mostly about his big ego. He never really understood the music business, and he could never really deliver. I thought he was sometimes a dick. – Steve Jobs

With iTunes, it’s not stealing anymore. It’s good karma. – Steve Jobs

Steve Job’s ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things. – Bill Gates

The older I get, the more I see how much motivations matter. The Zune was crappy because the people at Microsoft don’t really love music or art the way we do. We won because we personally love music. We made the iPod for ourselves, and when you’re doing something for yourself, or your best friend or family, you’re not going to cheese out. If you don’t love something you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much. – Steve Jobs

If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will. – Steve Jobs

It’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people. And it hurts your own character. – Steve Jobs

I don’t care much about computers, and kept telling him so, but he goes on for 2 hours. He was a man possessed. After a while, I started looking at him and not the computer, because I was so fascinated with his passion. – Wynton Marsalis, a famous jazz musician

Music Man (The Sound Track of His Life). Revealing your iPod to your friends can reveal what kind of person you are. Music reveals who you are. Steve liked the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He had a lot of artistes from the 1960s and 1970s. Steve liked Bach. Both the Brandenburg concertos and the Goldberg Variations. The second version was much darker and wiser. Steve also preferred the second version. Joni Mitchell was also his favorite artistes. Steve visited Dylan before one of his concerts. Steve was really nervous. Steve was really impressed with him. Artists knew that if they appeared in Steve’s ads, they would have added publicity. Dylan, to Steve, was still cool. After an ad featured him, he was top of the charts again. Beatles was still not on iTunes. Steve made sure they were eventually on it. Bono, from U2, wanted a riff from Vertigo played in an iPod commercial. iPod commercials featured silhouettes of artistes. Bono wanted a special version of the iPod released and royalties for each one sold. Eventually, Steve agreed to a deal with U2. Steve also like YoYo Ma, the famous cellist. He played Bach at Steve’s house. Steve teared by the sheer quality of his playing ability. Steve liked people who are pure. Pure with passion. He made YoYo Ma promise that he will play at his funeral.

He was one of my heroes. My love for him has grown over the years, it’s ripened. I can’t figure out how he did it when he was so young. – Steve Jobs, on Bob Dylan

The way we build stuff at Apple is often this way. Even the number of models we’d make of a new notebook or iPod. We would start off with a version and then begin refining and refining, doing detailed models of the design, or the buttons, or how a function operates. It’s a lot of work, but in the end it just gets better, and soon it’s like, ‘Wow, how did they do that?!? Where are the screws? – Steve Jobs

Steve (Jobs) can be sparky, but those moments have made us closer friends, because there are not many people in your life where you can have these robust discussions. He’s very opinionated. After our shows, I talk to him and he’s always got an opinion. – Bono, from U2

You playing is the best argument I’ve ever heard for the existence of God, because I don’t really believe a human alone can do this. – Steve Jobs, on YoYo Ma

Pixar’s friends and Foes. Lasseter set the tone at Pixar. He let the creative people do the work quietly and did not want to interfere excessively. Steve was more into deal making. Steve clashed with Katzenberg when he accused him of stealing the Bug’s Life from Pixar and adopting it for Antz at Dreamworks. Lasseter was super pissed with Katzenberg and didn’t speak to him. It was Lasseter who first revealed that Pixar was doing an animated film on insects. Antz was released in the market first. . The Bug’s Life did twice as well as Antz, thankfully. Although Steve and Katzenberg was still on talking terms, Steve never really forgave him. Steve wanted a HQ for Pixar. The building was Steve’s movie. The building was designed such that people would keep bumping into each other in a central area. Michael Eisner’s Disney started to get aggressive at Steve Jobs. Steve didn’t want to deal with Disney anymore. Finding Nemo became the biggest hit so far. Lasseter was upset with the breakup with Disney. Steve explained why they had to break up. To Steve, Eisner was a creative guy who performed well in his first 10 years when he had Frank Wells to run the operations for him. After he left, for the next 10 years, Eisner didn’t do such a good job. He had poor managerial skills. Treasure Planet and Brother Bear from Disney were poor performers. Now, Eisner realized how bad his animation team was. Both Eisner and Steve refused to compromise. Therefore, a divorce was inevitable. Eisner was soon axed and replaced with Iger. Steve now tried again at striking a deal with Disney. The iPod video was soon released. Iger and Steve struck a deal. The iPod would also be selling TV shows. This was collaboration between Disney and Apple. Since their animation team sucked, Iger explored the possibility of buying Pixar. Iger admitted they missed Pixar. Steve usually started negotiating by proclaiming the other party sucked. Lasseter was shocked when learning that Disney might want to buy Pixar. Disney produced to buy Pixar for $7.4 billion in equity. Lasseter did all the pitching in the acquisition deal. Eisner was against this and wanted the animation team to get their act together. Steve did the announcement to Pixar employees that Disney was taking over. Catmull would be head of Disney animation and Lasseter would be chief creative officer. It was like a reverse acquisition. Toy Story 2 was an even bigger hit.

My goal has always been not only to make great products, but to build great companies. Walt Disney did that. And the way we did the merger, we kept Pixar as a great company and helped Disney remain one as well. – Steve Jobs

There’s a classic thing in business, which is the second-product syndrome. I live through that at Apple. My feeling was, if we got through our second film, we’d make it. – Steve Jobs, on Pixar

There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow’, and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas. – Steve Jobs

The worst, thing, to my mind, was that Pixar had successfully reinvented Disney’s business, turning out great films one after the other while Disney turned out flop after flop. You would think the CEO of Disney would be curious how Pixar was doing that. But during the 20 year relationship, he visited Pixar for a total of about 2 and a half hours, only to give little congratulatory speeches. He was never curious. I was amazed. Curiosity is very important. – Steve Jobs

He has the absolute ability to make you believe. Suddenly, we all had the confidence that, whatever happened, Pixar would flourish. – Oren Jacob

One of the things that Steve and I are incredibly excited about is the intersection between great content and great technology. – Bob Iger

It’s night and day different from Eisner’s Disney. He’s straightforward, and there’s no drama with him. – Steve Jobs, on Bob Iver

Michael (Eisner), how come you say I can fix it, when you couldn’t fix it yourself? – Bob Iger

21st Century Macs. Setting Apple Apart. The iBook was released in 1999. The G4 was a huge success as well. Jobs wanted to mass market something to consumers. The Cube would not do so well as it priced too expensive. In 2000, Apple had disappointing revenue results. At one point, their share price fell to $15. Flat displays were the in thing then. Finally, Steve and Jony thought of a laptop design. Apple was the only company still trying to innovate. The PowerPC chips they were using was faster than Intel for a few years. Motorola could not keep us with chip development and Steve wanted to switch to Intel chips. The board decided that they had to move to Intel. They hammered out a deal which impressed Bill Gates. He was surprised that Apple’s PCs could transition so seamlessly with different chips. Steve was accused of taking excessive executive compensation with his stock options. It was never about the money for Steve. He wanted even more stock options. Apple tried to backdate his options. This was discovered by the SEC. Steve was eventually not charged for doing that.

Round One

Memento Mori. Steve predicted that 1997 was the cause of his cancer, when he worked on two jobs full time. His immune system was rather weak at that time. A CAT scan in 2003 revealed a tumor in the pancreas. Steve was in denial and didn’t want to do it. The doctor identified it as a tumor. It was a tumor which had a chance to be treated successfully. To everyone’s horror, Steve didn’t want to have surgery at first. He wanted to try other methods to cure himself. He was not ready to go for surgery. He thought he could cure himself by eating nutritious foods. Everyone kept advising him to take the surgery. Steve was still living in his distortion reality field. He liked to ignore things he didn’t know how to deal with. By July 2004, the cancer had spread. He underwent surgery in 2004. The doctors only removed part of the pancreas. Tim Cook took over the operations in Aug 2004. Because of the lack of protein in his diet, doctors advised him to take more meat. He refused. The bad news was that the cancer had spread. The cancer had spread to his liver. He underwent chemotherapy. He lied to his friends, saying that he was ‘cured’. He was 50 when he gave the commencement speech at Standford University. He wrote the speech himself. It was simply a graceful speech. Famous colleagues attended his 50th birthday. Cook was calm and decisive when he took over as temporary CEO. Steve made Cook COO in 2005. Steve let Rubinstein leave eventually. He hired a professor to develop case studies on Apple so that new executives could learn from top management. ‘Memento mori’: Remember you will die. This helped to keep things in perspective. Steve recovered temporarily and worked even harder. He became somewhat a better person after his cancer episode. Ive was still perplexed by his behavior. Steve felt the rules of social engagement didn’t apply to him. Gates and Jobs sat in for a joint interview in 2007.

I think Steve has such a strong desire for the world to be a certain way that he wills it to be that way. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Reality is unforgiving. – Laurene Powell

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason to follow your heart. – Steve Jobs

Some people resent the fact that Steve Jobs gets credit for everything, but I’ve never given a rat’s ass about that. Frankly speaking, I’d prefer my name never be in the paper. – Tim Cook, new Apple CEO

I realized very early that if you didn’t voice your opinion, he would mow you down. He take contrary positions to create more discussion, because it may lead to a better result. So if you don’t feel comfortable disagreeing, then you’ll never survive. – Tim Cook

The iPhone. Three Revolutionary Products in One. By 2005, iPod sales were skyrocketing. It accounted for 45% of total revenue. The next step was to create a phone. A good phone competitor could cause iPod sales to plunge. Steve thought about partnering with Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola, to create a RAZR that could play music. Eventually, hardware and software with not in sync and integrated. Steve decided to work on his own model. Most of the phones in the market were too complicated. There was a huge market for phones. They wanted to modify the iPod. Eventually, they did away with the click wheel. The idea for the iPad came before the iPhone. A Microsoft kept revealing information about the tablet to Steve. Steve never liked the idea of a stylus. He made one without a keyboard and a stylus. His engineers took 6 months to come out with one prototype. Steve liked the idea of multi-touch technology. Apple bought over FingerWorks, a company dealing with multi-touch trackpads. Steve wanted rounded rectangles for the shape of the iPhone. They used anodized aluminum for the case and gorilla glass. Steve was impressed with Weeks idea of gorilla glass. It was technology developed in 1960s, but never utilized. Once again, Steve decided to change the design at the last minute. Jan 2007 was the release date for the iPhone. ‘It was a 3-in-1 device’. By end of 2010, it sold 90 million iPhones.

He’s always believed that thin is beautiful. You can see that in all of the work. We have the thinnest notebook, the thinnest smartphone, and we made the iPad thin and then even thinner. – Tim Cook

Round Two (The Cancer Recurs). In early 2008, the cancer was spreading. The pancreas failed to produce enzymes to digest proteins. He also still kept to a strict vegetarian diet, which made it worse. Their family hired a cook. His eating disorders got worse. The media soon was attacking Steve Jobs at hiding his health condition to the public. During the 3G iPhone launch, he was super thin. Apple said was it due to a common bug. Apple share price kept falling when Steve’s health got worse. Steve based out of an interview with Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Michael Dell. He also cancelled the Mac product show. In early 2009, he defended his absence by saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He tried various forms of therapy overseas. It didn’t work. He decided to take medical leave in early Jan, 2009. Tim Cook would take over the daily operations. SEC wanted to accuse Apple of withholding material information about Steve’s health. The board at Apple was torn as to whether to reveal more information about his health. Fisher was now saying that Steve needed a liver transplant. However, there was a long waiting list. Steve was placed on 2 different states’ waiting list at the same time. The liver transplant was a success. There were tumors throughout his liver when it was removed. He nearly died at that time. Even when doctors tried to put the mask on him, he commented that the design sucked. Steve recovered from this episode and he was still as grumpy as ever. Apple’s stock fared well in the time that he was away. He faced the public again in Sept 9. He revealed that he received a liver transplant. He revealed the new iPod Nanos. At the beginning of 2010, it would be one of his more productive years.

To manage Steve, you have to be persistent. Eason managed Steve and forced him to do things that no one else could, things that were good for him that may not have been pleasant. – Tim Cook

The iPad. Into the Post-PC era. As usual, Steve kept tinkering with the design. Apple licensed the ARM architecture. They used the A4 chip instead, instead of dealing with Intel. Intel was too slow sometimes. The iPad was launched in Jan 2010. It was in between the iPhone and a laptop. Bill Gates and some of the media was not impressed with it. There were a lot of emails complaints that were sent to Steve Jobs. Steve wanted the next version of the iPad to emphasize on artistic creation. The response was mixed and there were some media groups who liked it. It was very intuitive and easy to use. Even a 6 year old could figure it out. Sales were extremely good. It was one of the most successful consumer product launch in history. Steve was angry with the quality of commercials and he wanted something better. It had to be a manifesto. It had to be big. The app store was becoming huge and it allowed people to do all sorts of things. They needed to empower develops to make lots of apps. Steve allowed outsiders to write apps, but they would have to meet standards and could only be sold through the iTunes store. The App store opened in July 2008. Apple was also competing with Amazon on ebooks. He allowed the publishers to set their own price but not the music companies to do so. Steve wanted to work with NY times to strike a deal.Steve refused to give out subscriber info to the NY times. He didn’t want the publisher to develop their own app and sell it through the iTunes store. He also succeeded in convincing a few magazine or newspaper publishers. Rupert Murdoch and Steve became quite close. Steve now wanted to target schools and replace textbooks with his iPad.

The reason Apple can create products like the iPad is that we’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. – Steve Jobs

New Battles (And Echoes of Old Ones). Google created the Android operating system to compete with Apple in the phone market. Eric Schmidt was on the Apple board and Larry Page/Sergey Brin were close to Steve as well. He was pissed. Their multi-touch device was also similar to the iPhone. Steve tried to dissuade them from creating the Android. Apple sued HTC (as they were the first to create the multi-touch device). Steve wanted to destroy the Android. Google Docs was shit to Steve. There was always the debate between open and closed systems. Schmidt admitted that Apple always believed in a closed system. An open system would lead to more options and consumer choice. Apple want to ban apps that defamed people, were politically explosive or deemed to be pornographic. He had a verbal sparring with Tate regarding censorship of apps. Apple doesn’t want to be seen as restricting freedom by choosing the apps they wanted to display. Others starting seeing Steve and Apple as being very arrogant. Design vs engineering was a big problem at Apple. Whenever the engineers couldn’t do something, Steve would persuade them to keep trying. For the iPhone 4, if you held it in a certain way, one could lose connection. It became the Antennagate problem. Steve Jobs gave a press conference to the public to address this. He allowed people to return their phones. Only 1.7% did as the problem was not too serious. iPhone was the best selling product. The Beatles were finally released on iTunes in a special edition.

Adobe Flash is a spaghetti-ball piece of technology that has lousy performance and really bad security problems. – Steve Jobs

To Infinity (The Cloud, the Spaceship, and Beyond). The iPad 2. Steve wanted to add back and front cameras. He wanted it slimmer. He wanted a detachable cover that was magnetically controlled. It was a smart cover. This cheeky cover impressed many people. He was there for the product launch in Mar 2011. Globalization effects were everywhere, even in Turkey. He kept trying to design a boat again. He was determined to keep working on the boat’s design. It was his twentieth wedding anniversary. In 2008, he predicted that cloud computing would be the next big thing. He was right on that. iCloud was launched in June 2011. He was still on medical leave. However, he desperately wanted to give the speech. Steve looked weak. Everything would now be moved to the Cloud. Steve bought the Cupertino campus. He wanted a showcase HQ. Sir Norman Foster was the architect for the project.

It’s like a spaceship has landed. I think we have a shot at building the bet office building in the world. – Steve Jobs

It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. We believe that it’s technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing. Nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices, – Steve Jobs

Living with a disease like this, and all the pain, constantly reminds you of your own mortality, and that can do strange things to your brain if you’re not careful. You don’t make plans more than a year out, and that’s bad. You need to force yourself to plan as if you will live for many years. – Steve Jobs

I’m very lucky, because you just don’t know what you’re getting into when you get married. You have an intuitive feeling about things. I couldn’t have done better, because not only is Laurene smart and beautiful, she’s turned out to be a really good person. – Steve Jobs

I want to leave a signature campus that expresses the values of the company for generations. – Steve Jobs

Round Three (The Twilight Struggle). He had a burning desire to see his son graduate from high school. Unlike his dad, Reed was empathic and affectionate. He loved Steve. The moment his Dad had cancer, Reed spent time at the oncology lab to study about cancer markers. Reed could interact with many of the famous doctors. Reed wanted to combine biology and technology. He had a playful and warm personality. He wanted to be a cancer researcher when he grew up. At his high school graduation, Steve was elated. Erin, Steve’s daughter, was not very close to Steve as she was sensitive and quiet. Steve didn’t want to take her for any important events. Erin was fine with Steve treating her this way. Steve took the whole family to Kona Village for holiday. He even took them to Kyoto. Steve liked sushi and soba. The trip to Kyoto was also a spiritual one. Eve, Steve’s other daughter, wanted to be a horseback rider at the Olympics and was determined to get there. She was also a very sensitive girl. In Feb 2010, Steve turned 55. His health was now better. Powell arranged for Steve to meet President Obama. However, Steve was unwilling to meet him as he felt it was very ceremonial. Eventually the meeting lasted 45 minutes. He wanted Obama to make things more business friendly as there were too many regulations. Also, the American education systems had too many union work rules. He also wanted interactive educational materials. Steve wanted foreign engineering graduates a visa to stay in the US. He also wanted more trained engineers. His third medical leave took place in 2011. He lost his appetite and felt pain in his body. In Nov 2010, he had to be fed through tube. However, he didn’t want his condition to be leaked out. He had no appetite anymore. He also became increasingly emotional. In 2011, there was evidence of new tumors. At this stage, he was moaning in pain. Since young, he knew he could induce euphoria and ecstasy by fasting. He was absolutely ignorant about the need for medication or to seek professional help. Tim Cook was once again put in charge of Apple’s operations. His treatment was not integrated but taken care by many different specialists. Steve had his genes sequenced. This molecular therapy was better than chemotherapy. Lisa got back in touch with Steve then. Lisa was 32 then. Steve Jobs even told Larry Page how to build great companies. Bill Gates also came to pay a visit. They had a nice warm chat. That Day Has Come. Steve wanted to create an integrated television set that would be synced on the iCloud. By July 2011, the cancer had spread to the other parts of his body. He spent almost all his days watching television. The author met him in Aug 2011. Steve was too weak to get out of bed. Steve showed a few family pictures to Walter Isaacson. Steve wanted the author to write about him while he was still alive so that he could project a better account of himself. He knew he would not be returning to CEO anymore. In Aug 24, he announced the decision to the board that he was stepping down. The directors praised his contributions to the firm. Resolutions were passed on who would succeed him. It was decided that Tim Cook would succeed Steve Jobs. The board gave Steve a hug.

She’s a pistol and has the strongest will of any kid I’ve ever met. – Steve Jobs, on Eve

Like many great men whose gifts are extraordinary, he’s not extraordinary in every realm. He doesn’t have social graces, such as putting himself in other people’s shows, but he cares deeply about empowering humankind, the advancement of humankind, and putting the right tools in their hands. – Laurene Powell

That’s how I’m going to spend part of the time I have left. I can help the next generation remember the lineage of great companies here and how to continue the tradition. The Valley has been very supportive of me. I should do my best to repay. – Steve Jobs

I’ve had a very lucky career, a very lucky life. I’ve done all that I can do. – Steve Jobs

Legacy. The Brightest Heaven of Invention. His personality was reflected in the products Apple created. He was super intense at times. This could be either charming or terrifying. He had a binary view of the world and of almost everything. He wanted end-to-end control of every product. Steve always looked to integrate hardware and software. ‘Open’ VS ‘Closed’ software. Steve also had a good ability to focus and to filter out distractions. Everything was about simplicity and elegance. He was a brutally honest guy. He had a nasty personality and was mean to others. This had an advantage when he got people to do things they never dreamed of. He was both good at sizing up the big picture and also the minute details. His inventions are as follows (The Macintosh; Toy Story and other Pixar blockbusters; Apple stores; The iPod; The iTunes store; The iPhone; The App Store; The iPad; iCloud etc). He was a genius at sensing what lay ahead. Steve can be placed alongside Edison and Ford. The products were the motivation, not the profit. Sculley wanted to make money. Figure out what the customer wants and not give them what they want. You need good foresight of that. Being closed allow you to control the experience. Bill Gates was more of a business guy than a creative guy. Xerox and IBM let the salespeople run the show. They didn’t understand the product well. I wanted a company to last. He wanted everyone to be brutally honest with each other.

I hate it when people call themselves entrepreneurs when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. – Steve Jobs

What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how – because we can’t write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talent we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me. – Steve Jobs


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Foreword. I only knew Paul after his death. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he had a desire to write a book. We become aware of our own mortality after reading his book as well. Paul had a flair of writing, however, had a calling of being a physician. He would eventually be a neurosurgeon. Paul writes occasionally and was an excellent writer. Paul has been very vulnerable and revealed a lot about himself.

Prologue. The cancer had spread and was widely disseminated. I was the patient this time. Lucy was my wife and she was by my side. When I had back pain, I went for an MRI scan. X-rays aren’t good for detection of cancer. Weight loss became more common as the days went by. I was an outstanding surgeon and had a bright career ahead of me. A few weeks later, I had strong bouts of chest pain. My work and the demanding schedule had put a toll on our marriage. My wife wanted to leave me. The pain was getting more severe and I was in trouble. I also started to tell friends about my cancer. My wife learnt about it and promised not to leave me.

Part 1: In Perfect Health I Begin

I never thought that I would be a doctor. I didn’t know much about medicine when I was young. We had two dogs. Once, we went to the desert and found the insects there to be fascinating. My younger brother was Jeevan. My dad was the one who brought our family to the desert town of Kingman, in Arizona. The issue with Kingman was that the education system was bad and there were many dropouts. My mum instilled in us, a love of reading. I eventually got into Stanford University. I liked a girl named Abigail in school. In school, I was driven to understand what makes human life meaningful? One of my favorite authors, was T.S. Eliot. Literature was a form of moral reflection for me. Was the unlived life worth examining? I did an internship at Sierra Camp, which was very eye opening indeed. I studied both neuroscience and literature in school. Many of the caregivers will not even show up to pay the patients of severe brain problems. Some parents even abandon their kids. Brains indeed play a crucial role in our ability to form relationships. Language of life was a passion, hunger and a love. I studied the work of Walt Whitman. I wanted to find out how biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersected. I was contemplating medical school now. After I enrolled myself into the HPS program at Cambridge, I started to realize that only by practicing medicine, I could pursue a serious biological philosophy. I cut my first dead body and it felt alright. These were cadavers or donor corpses. I hardly ever felt like vomiting. The book by Shep Nuland on ‘How we die’ was very popular. It addressed the fact of existence. Although I read about the particularities of death, being a surgeon allowed me to understand them better. I was asked to deliver a child. I was educated on how to read the fetal heart rates etc. The twins were in distress and their only hope was a C-section. However, they didn’t survive as they were premature. On my next case, the baby was successfully delivered and I was very relieved indeed. Next on my rotation was surgical oncology. Many of the medical students chose to specialize in things like radiology or dermatology, which were deemed easier. Eventually, I chose neurosurgery as my specialty. Part of a doctor’s job is about to be emotionally attached to the patient and to calm them down. Brain surgery has a huge impact on the patient’s life. Would you trade your ability to talk for a few extra months of mute life? What makes life meaningful enough to go on living? Neurosurgeons have a huge responsibility. During the first year of residency, the workload was tremendous. The papers I file are narratives of risks and triumph. I finally lost my first patient. I saw a few people die in the course of my work. Sometimes, death has a suffocating weight on me too. In the second year of training, I was the first to arrive in an emergency. I was doing a lot of overtime work, which was very tiring indeed. It was so stressful that some left the profession. Some cases were beyond hope, where even surgery would not do much good. I did not think I was a doctor who missed the larger human significance. My dad was an inspiration to me and he even when to buy meals for his patients when they requested for them. I once persuaded a girl’s family that surgery was the best option for her. Announcing the bad news to a patient is very difficult indeed. Brain surgery for cases for cancer that metastases from other parts of body, can help to prolong life. In medical statistics, there is the Kaplan-Meier curve. This measures the number of patients surviving over time for any particular disease. It is a metric where doctors understand the ferocity of a disease. Instead of saying ‘You have a 95% chance of being dead in two years’, doctors can say ‘Most patients live many months to a couple of years.’. It is useful to hold a patient’s hand when announcing bad news. Sometimes, there can be an emotional cost as well. However, it can have its rewards too. For a neurosurgeon, it is also important to keep up to date on the latest technologies available in the market too. I loved talking to other scientists. Pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate. A patient can only be under anesthesia for that long. It is like finding the middle ground between the hare and the tortoise. Time flies in the OR. Technical excellence, was a moral requirement for me. For brain surgery, it is extremely important to be precise, up to the exact millimeter. The worst part of the brain damage is the cortex, the Wenicke and Broca area. These control one’s language abilities. I was excellent at my job and rewards and awards were coming naturally. My scientist friend committed suicide one day after he had a difficult complication. This made me contemplate the meaning of life even more.

The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving. – Paul Kalanithi

Books become my closest confidants, finely ground lenses providing new views of the world. – Paul Kalanithi

Indeed, this is how 99% of people select their jobs: pay, work environment, hours. But that’s the point. Putting lifestyle first is how you find a job – not a calling. – Paul Kalanithi

Rushing a patient to the OR to save only enough brain that his heart beats but he can never speak, he eats through a tube, and he is condemned to an existence he would never want…I came to see this as a more egregious failure than the patient dying. – Paul Kalanithi

Amid the tragedies and failures, I feared I was losing sight of the singular importance of human relationships, not between patients and their families but between doctor and patient. Technical excellence was not enough. As a resident, my highest ideal was not saving lives – everyone dies eventually – but guiding a patient or family to an understanding of death or illness. – Paul Kalanithi

The call to protect life – and not merely life but another’s identity; it is perhaps not too much to say another’s soul – was obvious in its sacredness. – Paul Kalanithi

A resident’s surgical skill is judged by his technique and his speed. You can’t be sloppy, and you can’t be slow. – Paul Kalanithi

Neurosurgery requires a commitment to one’s own excellence and a commitment to another’s identity. The decision to operate at all involves an appraisal of one’s own abilities, as well as a deep sense of who the patient is and what she holds dear. – Paul Kalanithi

Cease Not till Death

The CT images were not good. My identity no longer mattered. It was life shattering and it hurt me. My potential would never be fulfilled. I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Emma Hayward was my oncologist. Emma was one of the best lung cancer specialist out there. She was also compassionate in nature. I felt weaker as the cancer spread. I couldn’t know my spot on the Kaplan-Meier curve. One option for me was chemotherapy and the other was therapy targeting at molecular defects. I had a PI3K mutation. Emma suggest carboplatin as chemotherapy for me. She refused to discuss the Kaplan-Meier curves. Lucy and I went to the sperm bank to preserve gametes. There is no point in depending or reading too much into statistics. I felt a drop of hope. After a drug, my appetite returned and I was happier. I had to figure out what is the most important for me. Cancer had helped to save my marriage with Lucy. I was also in physical therapy now. I was lifting my legs, but it was so exhausting and humiliating. I kept pushing myself. Finally, my condition improved. I could ride a bike for 6 miles and that was a massive achievement. Emma was a friend to me as well. I wanted a child, but the decision would ultimately lie with Lucy, because she would take care of the child. Life wasn’t about avoiding suffering. Life was about striving. We all need to carry on living. Only the best embryos would have a chance of survival. The tumor was reduced after a CT scan. It was good news. Life was looking up now. I started reading more about mortality. I pushed myself to return to the OR. Some patients could live for at least 10 years on the drug. I felt it was a moral responsibility to continue being a surgeon. Suddenly, halfway through the surgery, I felt faint and couldn’t continue. My junior resident took over. It was disappointing. Over time, my skills started to improve and I was getting better. However, it felt joyless as sometimes I would still be in pain. I wanted to be a doctor-scientist, but there were no vacancies. I overcame my pain and continued to see patients. I wanted to run a cancer lab as it would less demanding. I had to figure out what was the most important to me. God and meaning were linked, but it was also possible to believe in one and not the other. The problem is that science cannot reach some permanent truth. Hence, it might be incompatible with human life, which is more unpredictable. Science is cold, unlike the warmth of humans. I returned to Christianity as I found it to be compelling. Humans do not like blind determinism. A new tumour emerged in my latest CT scan. I was neither angry nor scared. I felt really tired after a grueling surgery. My last surgery was a big success and I could end on a high. Chemotherapy was the only way as localized treatment was out of the question. It would start on Monday. I felt very tired and the food was tasteless. I wanted to go for graduation but I started puking and it was horrible. I had to be placed on IV drip. My condition worsened. My kidneys were starting to fail now. I was placed in ICU now. Many specialists were now attending to me. Lucy was now 38 weeks pregnant. The problem was that the specialists could not come to a common consensus. No 1 party was willing to take responsibility. Some of them suggested ill-advised tests. I struggled to listen to them. Emma was now the captain of the ship. I was discharged from the hospital finally. I was very tired again, after the chemotherapy doses. Emma finally revealed that I could live for 5 more years. Lucy was in labour. My baby was finally born and it was a complete joy. Time began to feel static. The days of the week no longer to mean anything to me as I wasn’t working.

If I were a writer of books, I would compile a register, with a comment, of the various deaths of men: he would should teach men to die would at the same time teach them to live. – Michel de Montaigne (That to study philosophy is to learn to die)

The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live. – Paul Kalanithi

Only 0.0012% of 36 year olds get lung cancer. Yes, all cancer patients are unlucky, but there’s cancer and then there’s CANCER, and you have to be really unlucky to have the latter. – Paul Kalanithi

It’s easier when the patient is 94, in the last stages of dementia, with a severe brain bleed. But for someone like me – a 36 year old given a diagnosis of terminal cancer – there aren’t really words. – Paul Kalanithi

Many people, once diagnosed with cancer, quit work entirely. Others focus on it heavily. Either way is okay. – Emma Hayward, an oncologist

If the weight of mortality does not grow lighter, does it at least get more familiar? – Paul Kalanithi

If human relationality formed the bedrock of meaning, it seemed to us that rearing children added another dimension to that meaning. – Paul Kalanithi

I would push myself to return to the Operating Room. Why? Because I could. Because that’s who I was. Because I would have to learn to live in a different way, seeing death as an imposing itinerant visitor but knowing that even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living. – Paul Kalanithi

The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing. You try to figure out what matters to you, and then you keep figuring it out. – Paul Kalanithi

The way forward would seem obvious, if only I knew how many months or years I had left. Tell me 3 months, I’d spend time with family. Tell me 1 year, I’d write a book. Give me 10 years, I’d get back to treating diseases. – Paul Kalanithi

Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world. – Paul Kalanithi

But at my back in a cold blast I hear the rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear. – T.S. Eilot

Part of the cruelty of cancer, though, is not only that it limits your time; it also limits your energy, vastly reducing the amount you can squeeze into a day. It is a tired hare who now races. – Paul Kalanithi

Epilogue by Lucy Kalanithi

Paul died on March 9, 2015. Chemotherapy stopped working a few months before his death. We still had our family dinners etc. Paul was focused on completing his book. At his late stages, he lost his appetite completely. At times, he would suffer from a really serious fever. Paul chose the do not resuscitate status at the very end. We chose comfort care at home as he didn’t want to die in hospital. His carbon dioxide levels were too high, indicating lung failure. Paul wanted to hold Cady, his daughter. Paul was really to remove the breathing support and die. His wish was for us to publish his manuscript. I hope that he would be resting in peace now. Our family continued to sing to him and look at his facial expressions. Soon, his breaths became more faltering and irregular. During his last years, Paul wrote furiously and wanted to complete the book. He was very determined to write. He was brave throughout his most difficult days. He did not avert his eyes from death and was strong. Our love stood strong and firm throughout his difficult days. Paul suggested that I remarry after my marriage. I was definitely very blessed to have known a man like him. He was an unwavering source of support to our daughter. Throughout his illness, he faced it with grace and authenticity and acceptance. He was fully alive and his life was full of meaning even in his darkest days. This book is his culmination of his life and love for literature. Paul had made great contributions in the area of neuroscience. Paul managed to face death with integrity, and I was as his wife, his witness.

Conversely, we knew that one trick to managing a terminal illness is to be deeply in love – to be vulnerable, kind, generous, grateful. – Lucy Kalanithi

Bereavement (of a partner) is not the truncation of married love, but one of its regular phases – like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too. – C.S. Lewis



Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Part 2)

The Launch (A Dent in the Universe). It was now 1984. Microsoft was now competing with Apple. Revenue now largely came from its operating system. IBM was dominating the PC market. The Mac was not out yet. Once again, Steve set ridiculous deadlines for the programmers at Apple, which they eventually managed to meet. Lee Clow was tasked to design the advertisement for the Mac. Steve was a rebel deep inside. He was representative of the counterculture. It turned out to be one of the greatest commercials of all time.. “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’”. Over the years, Steve became a master at product launches. He had his way with the media. It was Jan 24 and the team had completed the software for the Mac.

Obviously, I can talk. But right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs. – The Macintosh

Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone? – Steve Jobs

Gates and Jobs (When Orbits Intersect). The Macintosh Partnership. Bill Gates was another high school dropout. They both had very different personalities. Bill Gates was not someone who represented the counterculture. Rather, he dropped out of school to start a computer software company. Bill was more of the introverted sort. They each really didn’t like each other. Bill was not as closed and was open towards licensing of the operating systems. Steve thought Bill liked to rip off other people’s ideas and was better at philanthropy. Bill agreed to work on Excel, Word and BASIC for the Mac. Bill was a guy who hated the Mac and didn’t know how to appreciate it. They forged a deal where Microsoft would develop Excel for the Mac and Apple would stop working on BASIC. The software like Excel were sold separately from the Mac. Also, Microsoft bundled such software for IBM etc. Microsoft had an operating system known as DOS. There were fears that Microsoft were going to copy the user graphic interface(GUI). So they decided to copy Apple. Bill could not create GUI until 1983. Soon after, he create Windows. The deal to do non competing software was wearing out. Steve told him that he was ripping them off. Apple and Microsoft had a strained relationship after that. Windows was only released in 1985 and it was bad. Through improvement, it became better and now is a more dominant OS.

The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste. I don’t mean that in a small way. I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their product. – Steve Jobs

Each one thought he was smarter than the other one, but Steve generally treated Bill as someone who was slightly inferior, especially in matters of taste and style. – Andy Hertzfeld

Steve was in his ultimate pied piper mode, proclaiming how the Mac will change the world and overworking people like mad, with incredible tensions and complex working relationships. – Bill Gates

Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it. – Bill Gates

Icarus (What Goes Up…). Flying High. The Mac was doing well. Steve was now controlling Sculley, Apple’s president. Steve needed extreme control. Steve had the factory painted in bright colours. He was crazy and wanted to check for dust in corners of the factory. He wanted to instill a sense of discipline in the workings. He just continued speeding after he got a ticket for speeding. Especially in Europe, he kept pressuring the managers to increase sales forecasts. One had to out-bully him. Sales of the Mac started to slow in 1984 as it was underpowered. It had only 128K of RAM. It didn’t have an internal hard disk drive as well. There was also no fan on the Mac. This caused it to overheat easily. Steve turned 30 in 1985. A few of the engineers started to leave Apple. Steve was upset by this. Woz decided to start his own company and manufacture remote control device. Sculley didn’t really understand Apple’s products and hated tweaking by Steve on the design. Sculley and Steve got into a huge conflict. He told Steve to give up on the Mac division. He wanted Steve to work on new technology and products. The board had the final decision on what to do. The board wanted Steve to run a research lab. They sided with John Sculley to eject Steve from the Mac division. There was little cooperation between divisions in Apple. John Sculley refused to let Steve run the Mac division. Steve launched a coup and gathered his supporters to fight against John. The board had to vote on whether they preferred John or Steve. In conclusion, the board sided with John and Steve Jobs was out of Apple. Even those Sculley won, he also felt like resigning. Gassee would take over the Mac division as well as other products. Steve could be the board chairman, with no AppleLabs or operational duties. Jobs would be a visionary with no recognition. Steve now spent more time with his girlfriend, Tina Redse. The three men who brought him up (Sculley, Markkula and Rock) brought him down now. Steve had lost the respect from them. Steve thought Sculley was a bozo. Steve and his girlfriend headed off to Europe to take a break.

You have to be ruthless if you want to build a team of A players. It’s too easy, as a team grows, to put up with a few B players, and they then attract a few more B players, and soon you will even have some C players. The Macintosh experience taught me that A players like to work only with other A players, which means you can’t indulge in B players. – Steve Jobs

Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them. – Steve Jobs

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. – Steve Jobs

The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say ‘ Bye, I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.’ And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently. – Steve Jobs

Sculley believed in keeping people happy and worrying about relationships. Steve didn’t give a shit about that. But he did care about the product in a way that Sculley never could, and he was able to avoid having too many bozos working at Apple by insulting anyone who wasn’t an A player. – Al Alcorn

We have developed a great friendship with each other, but I have lost confidence in your ability to run the Macintosh division. – Sculley

The board felt that I couldn’t run a company, and that was their decision to make. But they made one mistake. They should have separated the decision of what to do with me and what to do with Sculley. They should have fired Sculley, even if they didn’t think I was ready to run Apple. – Steve Jobs


Prometheus Unbound. Steve was excited and now wanted to start a new company. Universities wanted machines that were more powerful than the Mac. Gassee cancelled the Big Mac experiment.He now persuaded some of the Apple’s current employees to join me. Steve wanted to create a computer for the higher education market. He only wanted a few of the top people from Apple but said he would not compete with Apple. Steve took 5 people with him, and they were to resign on their own accord. He took Page, Lewin etc. The Board was furious with Steve for poaching their staff. Mike Markkula, Rock etc were furious with Steve for taking 5 senior staff. People were shocked by his behavior. He drove to Mike’s house with his resignation letter. Both Jobs and Wozniak were out. The board sued Steve for poaching staff and breaches of fiduciary obligations. He liquidated his 11% of stock in Apple for more than $100 million. Tough love made him a better person. He named his next company ‘Next’. He contacted Paul Rand to design the logo. Rand was contracted to IBM but was given permission by the CEO to design the logo. He wanted the new PC to be a cube. NeXT was born. The lawsuit was settled when NeXT was placed with a few restrictions on what it could do. Esslinger also joined NeXT. Steve wanted a cube shaped PC. He was still prone to mood swings. Lotus agreed to write a spreadsheet for the NeXT operating system. He treated employees the same. NeXT was in trouble when they were slow to launch a product and cash was burning out. Perot was a venture capitalist who was willing to invest in NeXT. He eventually took a stake in the company. Bill Gates did not want to develop software for NeXT as it was not revolutionary. Steve tried to persuade IBM to stop using Windows, but rather collaborate with NeXT. Bill was furious on learning about this because he felt the object-oriented OS at NeXT was not compatible with IBM. Eventually the deal died. In October 1988, NeXT was launched. He controlled the design of everything. He charged the product at $6,500 each. This was way too expensive. The keynote was a success. However, the public response to it was lukewarm at best. Sales in 1989 turned out to be bad and NeXT was bleeding cash once again.

He had it in his mind to start a new company. He was young and rich, and had to find something to do with the rest of his life. – Paul Berg

As you know, the company’s recent reorganization left me with no work to do and no access even to regular management reports. I am but 30 and want still to contribute and achieve. After what we have accomplished together, I would wish our parting to be both amicable and dignified. – Steve Jobs

What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them. I’ll always remember Apple like any man remembers the first woman he’s fallen in love with. – Steve Jobs

Part of my responsibility is to be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs

Steve Job’s product comes with an interesting feature called incompatibility. It doesn’t run any of the existing software. It’s a super-nice computer. I don’t think if I went out to design an incompatible computer I would have done as well as he did. – Bill Gates

PIXAR (Technology Meets Art). Steve went for a walk with Alan Kay. He brought him to Ed Catmull, a member of George Luca’s Lucasfilms. Steve was thoroughly impressed with the firm. John Lasseter was a star at animation. The IT division of Lucasfilms needed a buyer. Steve agreed to buy 70% of it for $10million. PIXAR married art with technology. Steve initially didn’t want to cede control. Lucas advised Steve that his people were only interested in animation. The Pixar Image Computer was a big thing. Soon, Steve began to control things and propose wacky ideas. Steve wanted to integrate hardware with software. He tried to lower the cost of the PC to about $30,000. Steve wanted to mass market it. However, the design features did not suit the common user. People were not interested in graphics rendering. Steve was an exceptionally charismatic man. Only Disney was interested in Pixar’s technology. Lasseter was a designer of animated films and Steve was thoroughly impressed with him. They complemented each other very well. Lasseter’s film was nominated for an Academy Award. Steve kept funding the animated films division. Alvy Ray Smith, a co-founder at Lucasfilms, hated Steve. He refused to be a slave for him. Smith left to set up his own design film. This was eventually bought by Microsoft. Steve was merciless about chopping people when the firm started bleeding cash. He also didn’t want to share information with Intel. Disney worked with Pixar to bring animated films to another level.

My view is that people are creative animals and will figure out clever new ways to use tools that the inventor never imagined. I thought that would happen with the Pixar computer, just as it did with the Mac. – Steve Jobs

A Regular Guy (Love is Just a 4 Letter Word). Jobs met Joan Baez and was attracted to her. He was ending his past relationship with Barbara Jasinski. The girl was 41 and he was 27. Joan was once a lover of Bob Dylan. Steve gave her a few of the Apple PCs. Joan hated a idea of a computer playing music. Joan also had a kid from her previous relationship. After 3 years, their relationship ended. Clara had lung cancer when Steve was 31. Steve now managed to find his biological mother. After Clara died, he contacted Joanne Simpson. Joanne was overwhelmed when he met Steve. Steve actually had a sister named Mona. Mona was a writer with a magazine. They became closer, like family. She wrote a book about him. It was known as ‘A Regular Guy.’ Now, they tried to hunt down their father. Steve had actually inadvertently met his father at a restaurant which he used to frequent. Lisa was the girl who Steve abandoned. When Lisa was about 8, Steve often visited her and brought her around. Lisa and Steve’s relationship would be a rollercoaster, with many ups and downs. Steve could be a very romantic guy. Steve met a Tina Redse, a blonde woman. Tina was very understanding and they hit it off. Steve was incredibly self-centered. Their relationship lasted for 5 years. There were plenty of fights during their relationship. Steve was someone who lacked empathy. Things were just not meant to be.

I believe in environment more than heredity in determining your traits, but still you have to wonder a little about your biological roots. – Steve Jobs

Steve believed it was our job to teach people aesthetics, to teach people what they should like. I don’t share that perspective. I believe when we listen deeply, both within ourselves and to each other, we are able to allow what’s innate and true to emerge. – Tina Redse

Family Man (At Home with the Jobs Clan). Jobs eventually married Laurene Powell. He gave lectures at Stannford. Laurene was impressed with Steve and he took her out for dinner. She left her number behind. He brought her to a vegan restaurant. Laurene did not worship money, which was good. He was 36 when he got married. Laurene was 27. . After marriage, Laurene set up her own company, Terravera. Steve lived in a very unassuming house with his wife. Burrell went psychotic. Lisa moved in with Steve when she was 14. Laurene was supportive and attended most of Lisa’s school events. Lisa got admitted to Harvard. Erin was 1 year old then. Erin was Steve Job’s daughter as well. Their son was known as Reed Paul Jobs. Reed turned out to be smart, creative and someone with good manners. Erin was born 4 years later. Eve was born another 3 years later. Steve was closer to his son than his daughters.

Every other CEO I know has a security guard. They’ve even got them at their homes. It’s a nutso way to live. We just decided that’s not how we wanted to raise our kids. – Steve Jobs

There were only two women in my life that I was truly in love with, Tina and Laurene. I thought I was in love with Joan Baez, but I really just liked her a lot. It was just Tina and then Laurene. – Steve Jobs

He had the power to focus like a laser beam, and when it came across you, you basked in the light of his attention. When it moved to another point of focus, it was very, very dark for you. It was very confusing to Laurene. – Kat Smith

He is the luckiest guy to have landed with Laurene, who is smart and can engage him intellectually and can sustain his ups and downs and tempestuous personality. – Joanna Hoffman

Toy Story (Buzz and Woody to the Rescue). ‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’ Walt Disney. There was a fit between Pixar and Disney. Pixar wanted to do a film with Disney. Jeffrey Katzenberg was the head of Disney’s film division. Katzenberg was a tyrant and was similar to Steve Jobs. ‘Everybody thinks I’m a tyrant. I am a tyrant. But I’m usually right.’ Jeffery Katzenberg. John Lasseter thought of Toy Story as a movie. The two main characters were Buzz Lightyear and Woody. The story kept changing, but Steve kept costs under control. Steve only wants perfection. He was about to revolutionize the movie industry. He wanted to take Pixar public. Toy Story was released in Nov 1995. Toy Story turned out to be a huge success. Whose movie was it? Pixar or Disney’s? The IPO was also a huge success and the firm raised a lot of money from the public market. He was a billionaire now. Pixar had the ability to co-market and design the films. It was great

Everyone has had the traumatic childhood experience of losing a toy. Our story takes the toy’s point of view as he loses and tries to regain the single thing most important to him: to be played with by children. This is the reason for the existence of all toys. It is the emotional foundation of their existence. – Walter Isaacson

The Second Coming

What Rough Beast, its Hour Come Round at Last. NeXT was released in 1988. It failed to attract many customers. They targeted customers who wanted personal workstations. However, Sun Microsystems were doing well. Steve agreed to license NeXTSTEP OS to run on other computers. He also gave up on hardware. His movie business was doing well. However, he was disappointed with the PC market. Sculley was a bad CEOs and Apple’s market declined in the early 1990s. It remained stagnant. Sculley was too profit driven. By 1990, Windows 3.0 was out. Windows 95, released in 1995, was the most successful OS. Larry Ellison wanted to buy Apple and place Steve as CEO. Steve was not keen on this idea. Michael Spindler replaced Sculley as CEO in 1993. He, too, desperately tried to sell Apple to other giants. This failed. In 1996, Gil Amelio took over as CEO. Steve approached Amelio, wanting to be CEO. Apple needed a new operating system which was stable. It turned to NeXT. He wanted to get rid of NeXT, as it was bleeding cash as well. Amelio was torn between NeXT and Be (A company owned by Gassee). Amelio chose Jobs instead. Steve shook Markkula’s hand again. Apple paid $400m for NeXT. Steve agreed to be a part time advisor to the chairman back at Apple. He didn’t want to take over Apple then. This marked his re-entry back into Apple.

Windows has won. It beat the Mac, unfortunately, it beat UNIX, it beat OS/2. An inferior product won. – Steve Jobs

Steve’s sales pitch on the NeXT operating system was dazzling. He praised the virtues and strengths as though he were describing a performance of Oliver as Macbeth. – Gil Amelio

Don’t you understand that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a super salesman. I can’t believe you’re making such as a stupid decision…He doesn’t know anything about engineering, and 99% of what he says and thinks is wrong. What the hell are you buying that garbage for? – Bill Gates

There are a lot of other things going on in my life now. I have a family. I am involved at Pixar. My time is limited, but I hope I can share some ideas. – Steve Jobs

The Restoration

The Loser Now Will Be Later to Win. Even those he was 40, Steve was still very innovative. He wanted to build a legacy for himself. Steve didn’t want to take over Gil yet. Gil was bad at doing keynotes and lost his train of thought. Steve wanted to create an OS even better than Windows. Steve introduced his NeXT team back into Apple. Gil wanted to get rid of Newton. He eventually did. Steve was wresting power away from Gil. Gil said a lot of stupid stuff. Ellison from Oracle pretended to take over Apple. This put the heat on Amelio. Amelio also thought Steve liked him. He was dead wrong about it. Steve had his way of charming people. Amelio soon realized he was under threat from Steve. The board were worried that Apple would keep bleeding cash. The Board wanted Steve back. Steve declined the offer to be CEO as he had other commitments. Pixar just went public and he was happy being CEO. He didn’t want to be CEOs of two public companies. Eventually, he decided he would help them hire a CEO. Steve liked to ignore situations which were uncomfortable. Apple was complex and uncomfortable at that time. Steve wanted to see whether Apple could be saved before joining. Fred Anderson would be interim CEO. 12 years after Steve lost power, he was back. Steve lowered the exercise price of options to make it valuable. Steve sometimes used threats to get things done. He threatened the board that he will quit if they did not approve the option pricing. Steve even threatened that the whole board apart from Woolard resign or he will resign. Eventually, the board resigned. Steve was that powerful. Even Mike Markkula had to leave. Apple needed to reinvent itself desperately, or it was going down. Microsoft was highly dominant in the PC market. Steve chose his board members. Apple’s board is special. The CEO has control over the board.. Apple was only running at $20 per share in 1997. Microsoft gradually refused to design Word and Excel for the Mac. Apple needed Microsoft to continue developing for the Mac and invest in Apple. Bill liked it. Steve wanted commitment and an investment. Steve mentioned about the deal in his keynote. Bill featured in the keynote and said the application software would be for Mac as well. Microsoft would have non-voting shares in Apple. Apple was back and healthy.

I said this guy is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen. I think if you needed a license to be a CEO he wouldn’t get one. – Steve Jobs, on Gil Amelio

If we stay with Gil as CEO, I think there’s only a 10% chance we will avoid bankruptcy. If we fire him and convince Steve to come takeover, we have a 60% chance of surviving. If we fire GIL, don’t get Steve back, and have to search for a new CEO, then we have a 40% chance of surviving. – Apple’s Board of Directors

It was just what we needed, because whatever you think of Steve, he knows how to get the magic back. – Steve Wozniak

Okay, tell me what’s wrong with this place. It’s the products. So what’s wrong with the products? The products suck. There’s no sex in them anymore! – Steve Jobs

We too are going to think differently and serve the people who have been buying our products from the beginning. Because a lot of people think they’re crazy, but in that craziness we see genius. – Steve Jobs

Think Different

Steve Jobs as iCEO. Here’s to the Crazy Ones. Lee Clow was summoned by Steve. He had to prove that Apple was still alive. ‘Think different’. Lee Clow came up with this tagline. It made Steve cry. It was that brilliant. The team came up with a short poem. Richard Dreyfuss read the poem above. It was historical. The commercial featured many famous people. He was given permission to make use of Gandhi’s photo. Steve Jobs did the voice-over instead. Eventually, they used Dreyfuss version. It was not about him. He was super passionate about the ads. Steve finally decided to be the CEO. Steve decided not to take any money initially. Many chose not to be CEO, especially when Steve will influence him/her. The search did not produce the right candidates. His health was affected from running two companies. He developed kidney stones from working too hard. The company can be the best innovation sometimes. Should Apple have licensed their OS to make more money? This was the debate here. Apple eventually gave the license to 2 small companies. The clones ended up cannibalizing sales. Steve wanted it to be closed and he didn’t know any more licensing. Steve hated people who used powerpoints. ‘You are bright people. You shouldn’t be wasting your time on such crappy products. There were too many versions of the Macintosh, to suit customers needs. They were too confusing. The engineers were directed at 4 areas. Pro, Portable, Consumer and Desktop. He chopped off printers and servers. He killed the Newton, a stylus with a PDA. These people eventually moved to the iPhones and the iPad. It was good technology, but bad management. Apple lived because of their focus. In Sept 1997, Apple would nearly be insolvent. He laid off 3000 people. In the year he turned CEO, Apple lost $1 billion a year. The following year, it made a $300 million profit. Incredible.

There was a purity about that I will never forget. – Steve Jobs

We at Apple had forgotten who we were. One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are. That was the genesis of that campaign. – Steve Jobs

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we seem genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. – Apple’s Think Different Commercial

There are cars people are proud to have – Porsche, Ferrari, Prius – because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product. – Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle

What we’re trying to do is not highfalutin. We’re trying to get back to the basics of great products, great marketing, and great distribution. Apple has drifted away from doing the basics really well. – Steve Jobs

If the platform goes closed, it is over. Total destruction. Closed is the kiss of death. – Stephen Kahn

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products. – Steve Jobs

I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking. People would confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint. – Steve jobs

Design Principles. The Studio of Jobs and Ive. Jony Ive was the head of Apple’s design team. He wanted to quit. He was sick of the fact that the company focused too much on profits. Steve persuaded him otherwise. He had something for Apple and loved the people there. Jony was not replaceable and Steve liked him. Jony made a huge difference at Apple. Like Steve, he liked simplicity and it showed in his products. For Apple, the design comes first and then the engineers have to come out with a way to fit their chips inside. That should be the way products should be made. Design dictated engineering, not the other way around. Tim Cook was the chief operating officer in charge. Steve will go on the ground and feel the products in the lab to see if he liked them. Many rounds of iterations are made. He patented a lot of the design boxes. Steve liked to take credit for ideas.

There wasn’t that feeling of putting care into a product, because we were trying to maximize the money we made. All they wanted from us designers was a model of what something was supposed to look like on the outside, and then engineers would make it as cheap as possible. I was about to quit. – Jony Ive

The difference that Jony has made, not only at Apple but in the world, is huge. He is a wickedly intelligent person in all ways. He understands business concepts, marketing concepts. He picks stuff up just like that, click…If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony…He gets the big picture as well as the most infinitesimal details about each product…There’s no one who can tell him what to do, or to butt out. – Steve Jobs, on Jony Ive

Steve and I care about things like that, which ruin the purity and detract from the essence of something like a utensil, and we think alike about how products should be made to look pure and seamless. – Jony Ive

Steve and I spend a lot of time on packaging. I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story. – Jony Ive

The iMAC (Hello, AGAIN). The iMAC was introduced in 1998. It was combination of Steve and Ive’s ideas. The PC had no floppy disk slots because they were turning obsolete. It had a built in hard drive. The PC was also created with a handle to make it seem more user friendly. It indeed was. Steve fumed when he wanted a CD slot instead of a CD tray. Instead for the next version of the iMAC, a slot was introduced instead. He kept tweaking with the lighting on stage during the rehearsals. He invited Markkula for a private preview of the iMAC. Mike was thoroughly impressed. Product launches were like theatre to him. It was launched on May 6, 1998. It was well received during the product launch. The design was brilliant and it fit seamlessly in a home environment. Bill Gates joked and said that if he painted the computer red, it would look like a Mac. It was the best-selling computer in Apple’s history. The iMAC was offered in 5 different colours. Steve made decisions on the spot, and he was often right. The problem with a CD slot was that when Panasonic offered a CD drive with rip and burn function, it was for trays instead. Apple lacked behind for a while in the music scene

When we took it (iMAC design) to the engineers, they came up with 38 reasons they couldn’t do it…No, no, we’re doing this. Because I’m the CEO and I think it can be done…And so they kind of grudgingly did it. – Steve Jobs

I don’t want the people I work with at Apple to think I am coming back to get rich. – Steve Jobs

CEO (Still crazy after All These Years). Tim Cook. He was less clear on whether he could run a company. Under Steve Jobs, underperforming was not allowed. The head of operations quit as he couldn’t take the pressure. In 1998, he met Tim Cook, who worked at the supply chain at Compaq Computers. He would later become indispensable to Apple. They saw things the same way. He wanted a JIT inventory system. He wouldn’t need to constantly supervise Tim. He decide to join Apple and work for a creative joy. Tim worked very long hours at Apple. He reduced excess inventory and made suppliers move nearer to Apple’s factories. He cut excess inventory to only about 2 days worth. He made a hundred turtlenecks for himself. He wanted collaboration at Apple too. Steve was against the Bozo explosion. He removed the iCEO to become permanent CEO. He only took $1 per year of pay. Apple stock was over $102 by year 2000. Steve refused to take the stock options. Steve wanted a private airplane. He got it. . Eventually, he demanded stock options as well. OSX was released in Jan 2000.

For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. When I saw with Steven Wozniak (Apple co-founder) was somebody who was 50 times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players. People said they wouldn’t get along, they’d hate working for each other. But I realized that A players like to work with A players, they just didn’t like working with C players. At Pixar, it was a whole company of A players. When I got back to Apple, that’s what I decided to do. You need to have collaborative hiring process…My role model was J. Robert Oppenhemier… – Steve Jobs

You never win an argument with him at the time, but sometimes you eventually win. – James Vincent

Apple Stores (Genius Bars and Siena Sandstone). Steve didn’t control the experience of buying an Apple product in a store. He felt that the sales staff needed to be educated on Apple’s products. The customers needed to know how creative their products were. Steve wanted his stores in major shopping malls. He wanted them to be bigger than Gap. The store would have to impute Apple’s qualities. The board was not keen on opening stores as Dell was successful even though they didn’t have stores. Apple built a prototype and Steve controlled the aesthetic and service experience. The stores commanded great sales volumes and were a huge success. Steve even had patents for his staircases. They also created the genius bar at the store. In 2011, there were over 300 Apple stores. The stores accounted for 15% of their total revenue. Steve was fighting the effects of cancer in 2011.

The store will become the most powerful expression of the brand. – Steve Jobs

The Digital Hub (From iTunes to the iPod). The first iPod was released in 2001. Steve discussed with his colleagues on what are the next 3 things Apple could do next. The PC was not so hip anymore. He wanted the PC to be a digital hub. He wanted the PC to sync devices etc . Steve was 45 and he wanted to build this digital hub for the Mac. Adobe didn’t want to make software like Photoshop for the Mac OS. He had a war with Adobe ever since. They ended up developing software in-house. iMovie, iTunes, GarageBand etc. The PC was morphing to be something else. He wanted video and photo editing to occur on PCs. Steve wanted an end-to-end solution. They were the only IT firm which provided everything. Music was going to be big. Steve came up with iTunes for that. He created a writable CD drive. However, he wanted the user to manage playlists etc on their PCs. At that time, there was a portable music player in the market that played mp3s. Apple bought SoundJam and converted their software into something simpler. It was eventually known as iTunes. Next, the iPod was in the mix. This was a portable music player. The problem was having a disk drive small but with ample memory. Rubinstein started working with Toshiba on manufacturing such devices. Tony Fadell was passionate about MP3 players and thrilled to be on-board. Phil suggested using a track wheel. Jobs proclaimed ‘That’s it!’ Steve wanted most of the functions performed on iTunes, and not on the iPod. Most Apple devices also wouldn’t have an one-off switch. Jony felt the whole iPod should look white. This would make it look classy and non-disposable. Everything would be white, even the earphones and charger. Apple integrated software, hardware and devices. iPod sales would leave to increase in sales of the iMac. Oct 23, 2001 marked the launch for an iPod. It became a hit for consumers. It married art with engineering. Bill Gates was also impressed with the iPod.

Taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he’d done in his life. – Steve jobs, to Mike Markoff

Don’t worry about Sony. We know what we’re doing and they don’t. – Steve Jobs

Wow, it makes sense that Apple was the one to come up with it. After all, Apple’s whole history is making both the hardware and the software, with the result that the two work better together. – Steve Wozniak

There was something very significant and nondisposable about it, yet there was also something very quiet and very restrained. It wasn’t wagging its tail in your face. It was restrained, but it was also crazy, with those flowing headphones. That’s why I like white. White isn’t just a neutral color. It is so pure and quiet. Bold and conspicuous and yet so inconspicuous as well. – Jon Iver, on why the first iPod was white


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Part 1)

‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ – Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997

Introduction. How This Book Came to Be. The author has published other famous biographies. Steve was an incredibly intense guy. He launched his ‘Think Different’ campaign. Steve was an extremely persistent guy. In 2009, he had to go on medical leave due to his cancer. Finally, Steve approached the author and wanted a biography. Thankfully, he was also brutally honest. Steve changed 6 of the following industries: ‘personal computers, animated movie, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing.’ He is the epitome of innovation and invention. Think differently.

I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics. Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. – Steve Jobs

Chapter One: Childhood

Abandoned and Chosen

The Adoption. Paul Jobs was a mechanic and dated Clara Hagopian. Eventually, they got married. He was a calm and gentlemen. Eventually, Paul settled on being a used car salesman. Due to Clara being unable to conceive, 9 years after their marriage, they looked to adopt a child. Joanne was pregnant, but only wanted her child to be adopted by college graduates. Another couple rejected Steve Jobs as they initially wanted a girl. Steve got adopted by Paul and Clara eventually. He was named ‘Steven Paul Jobs’. Steve was aware from young that he was adopted. His parents assured him that he was the chosen one and was ‘selected’ and not abandoned. Because of this, Steve had the strong urge to be independent. Later in life, Steve also abandoned another kid (Lisa). Even in his life, he occasionally acted cruel to others. This stemmed from his tumultuous past. He saw Paul and Clara as his true parents, not the biological ones. Paul exposed Steve to mechanics and cars when young and Steve didn’t really like mechanical work. His dad thought him to do things right. Steve liked hanging out with Paul. However, it was electronics which got Steve very interested in. He was inspired by the housing designs by Eichler. Paul tried being a real estate agent but failed. Steve admired his desire to try. Paul had a very respectable and resolute character.The tech industry at Stanford University was very big.Intel moved from memory chips to microprocessors. Moore’s Law. Steve Jobs was inspired by how developed Silicon Valley was. Steve soon realized that his parents didn’t know everything and that he could be smarter than them eventually. Paul was very good at mechanical stuff. His parents accommodated for that fact. Steve hated reading and studying in school and did not respect authority. Often, he played pranks and got into trouble. To his parents, the school was at fault for failing to stimulate his interest. A teacher used bribes to make him do homework and it worked. The teacher known as Imogene Hill changed his life. Soon, he became to change and even do work without the bribes being present. He managed to skip a grade. However, he found it hard to interact with kids older than him. He was often bullied in school. Eventually he dropped out of school. He was also appreciative of organic fruits and vegetables. Steve Jobs hated church and never wanted to go back. Instead, he spent time studying and practicing the tenets of Zen Buddhism. Steve was fascinated when he saw that a calf could walk a few minutes after it was born. Soon, his pranks involved electronics. His parents instilled in him the fact that he could anything easily. The first PC he fell in love with was the HP 9100A. Soon, Steve worked in an assembly line for frequency counters. Steve also worked as a newspaper delivery boy. Since young, he had an entrepreneurial spirit. He got his first car at 15. He was fascinated by paying for something with his own savings. In that same year, he tried marijuana. He didn’t give up on that so quickly. Steve had an artistic side to him and listened to music, read Shakespeare etc. Jobs never respected authority and was deeply rebellious in nature.

Steve Jobs was usually off in a corner doing something on his own and really didn’t want to have much of anything to do with either me or the rest of the class. – John McCollum

Knowing I was adopted may have made me feel more independent, but I have never felt abandoned. I’ve always felt special. My parents made me feel special. – Steve Jobs

I love it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn’t cost much. – Steve Jobs

Both my parents got me. They felt a lot of responsibility once they sensed I was special. They found ways to keep feeding me stuff and putting me in better schools. They were willing to defer to my needs. – Steve Jobs

I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me. – Steve Jobs, on his high school teachers

Odd Couple. This was the time Steve met Stephen Wozniak. Stephen was one of the top students and was very geeky. His dad was Francis Wozniak, a graduate from Cal Tech. Woz’s father explained a lot of electronic stuff to him when young. In a business sense, Woz was not brought up to be as ambitious as Steve. Woz spent a lot of time assembling stuff and reading electronic journals. He started building calculators. He was an extreme hardware guy who often played pranks on others. Similar to Steve, Woz was quite a loner at school. They both shared passion for music, esp from Bob Dylan. Their pranks included screwing the tv signals, so that it became difficult for their friends to watch TV. Woz designed a digital Blue Box from scratch. It was incredible. It worked and they could make overseas call for free by replicating the phone company’s signals. They even pretended to be Henry Kissinger and tried calling the Pope at Vatican City. Soon, they were thinking of marketing the Blue Box for cash. This Blue Box Adventure marked their success working together.

I remember him telling me that engineering was the highest level of importance you could reach in the world. It takes society to a new level. – Steve Wozniak

My dad believed in honesty. Extreme honesty. That’s the biggest thing he taught me. I never lie, even to this day. – Steve Wozniak

We had so much in common. Typically, it was really hard for me to explain to people what kind of design stuff I worked on, but Steve got it right away. And I liked him. He was kind of skinny and iry and full of energy. – Stephen Wozniak

Woz was the first person I’d met who knew more electronics than I did. I liked him right away. I was a little more mature than my years, and he was a little less mature than his, so it evened out. Woz was very bright, but emotionally he was my age. – Steve Jobs

The Blue Box adventure established a template for a partnership that would soon be born. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention that he would have been happy just to give away, and Jobs would figure out how to make it user-friendly, put it together in a package, market it, and make a few bucks. – Walter Isaacson

The Dropout ‘Turn On, Tune in’. Chrisann Brennan was Steve’s first girlfriend. She was still a minor at that time. Steve’s crazy antics was what made him attractive. Steve introduced Brennan to marijuana. Steve also listened to Bach music at that time. He was a guy who was cruel sometimes to her. Patience was never one of Steve’s virtues. He was 17 and it was time to go to college. However, at times, he did not even want to go. All along, he wanted to do something which was both artistic and interesting. He insisted on going to Reed College. Eventually he got admitted to the school. Sometimes, he hurt his parent’s feelings and regretted engaging in such actions. Another of Steve’s friends was a guy named Daniel Kottke. Both of them were vegetarians. Steve soon met Robert Friedland. He was like a drug dealer. Robert also believed in enlightenment. Steve often stared at other people. It was like a reality distortion field to be able to mix with Robert Friedland. Robert taught Steve how to market himself and start selling stuff. Eventually, Steve realized Robert was a con man and lost respect for him. He was a gold miner. At Reed, Steve was bored of the classes he was forced to take. Since the college education was very expensive and it was not beneficial, he decided to drop out. Steve had a very curious mind. Soon, he attended a calligraphy class. He learnt about serif and sans serif typefaces and typography. His font was soon to be used in the Macs. Windows had it as well. Steve credited drugs for making him more enhanced.

Taking LSD (Acid) was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could. – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs refused to go to the classes he was assigned and instead went to the ones he wanted, such as a dance class where he could enjoy both the creativity and the chance to meet girls. – Walter Isaacson

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay. – Steve Jobs

Atari and India

Zen and the Art of Game Design. Atari was a game manufacturer. The founder was Nolan Bushnell. Alcorn was the chief engineer at Atrari. He was impressed by Steve’s work attitude. Steve refused to leave Atari until they gave him a job. Steve met Ron Wayne, a guy who had started a company that built slot machines. He became to realize that it was indeed possible to start your own company. Ron Wayne later admitted he was gay. Robert headed to India to embark on his spiritual journey. His company devised of a way to pay for his trip to India. Over there, he met Larry Brilliant, who later became Steve’s good friend. Steve stayed in India for 7 months, but failed to find a guru. Steve was now 19 years ago. People in India used their intuition. Steve felt intuition was more valuable than intellect. Through his mediation, he realized he could harness his intuition more than others. Steve kept meeting a guy called Kobun and embarked on mediation trips. The adoption had an impact on his and he wanted to seek his natural parents. Steve was super confident and wanted to inspire others to do things they thought were not possible initially. This was the good side of the reality distortion field. Woz was the better engineer. Bushnell wanted a single player of pong and got Woz and Steve to design them. Steve kept the bonus from the work and didn’t tell Woz about it. They were actually quite different people. Steve is actually a complex guy with a manipulative side. Eventually they let this issue go. Steve was a guy who didn’t accept no for an answer.

I learned the truth of the Zen saying that if you are willing to travel around the world to meet a teacher, one will appear next door. – Steve Jobs

Then he puts on a tape of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, lays his head in my lap, and goes to sleep. He had the attitude that he could do anything, and therefore so can you. He put his life in my hands. So that made me do something I didn’t think I could do. – Elizabeth Holmes

If he decided that something should happen, then he’s just going to make it happen. – Elizabeth Holmes, on Steve Jobs

There is something indefinable in an entrepreneur, and I saw that in Steve. He was interested not just in engineering, but also the business aspects. I taught him that if you act like you can do something, then it will work. I told him, ‘Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.’ – Nolan Bushnell

The Apple I (Turn On, Boot Up, Jack in)

Machines of Loving Grace. The 1960s were a time of cultural explosion. The hacker subculture were born. There was also a hippie movement. Steve Jobs practiced mediation in the morning. LSD aided Steve in the creation of the first PC. Hackers envisioned a PC and not everything under central control. The whole earth catalog inspired Steve. This was when he saw the phrase: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish’. Steve gathered a group to discuss about building a PC. Woz thought of a microprocessor and the idea of a keyboard, screen and computer all in one package. The problem were that microprocessors were often made by Intel and would later be incompatible with Apple’s. On June 29, 1975, Woz managed to type something on a keyboard and this was displayed on a screen. Steve wanted to try and sell this product. At first, Woz wanted to give the Apple I away for free. Steve rejected this idea. Bill Gates didn’t like this idea of charity too. Steve wanted to sell printed circuit boards. They had to raise money to fund it. Apple was thus born. They had to think of a name and eventually settled on Apple. Apple denoted simplicity and it attracted the attention of many. Woz left HP after some persuasion to join Apple. Steve-Woz-Ron had equity in the following percentage 45-45-10. As partners were liable for their debts, Ron backed out and received his money back. The two of them were too crazy for him. The audience, except a guy named Paul Terrell, was impressed with the Apple I. Terrell became Apple’s first customer. Woz was shocked by this news. Steve got their friends to help out with the order. The garage was converted into a lab. Woz wanted to sell at cost but Steve wanted to make a profit. In addition to the Altair, there were other competitors. At that time, their product was not as good as their competitors’.

The people who invented the 21st century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently. The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mindset that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence. – Bono, from the band U2

Steve is just that sort of person. I mean, he knew how to talk to a sales representative. I could never have done that. I’m too shy. – Steve Wozniak

Every time I’d design something great, Steve would find a way to make money for us. It never crossed my mind to sell computers. It was Steve who said, “Let’s hold them in the air and sell a few.” – Steve Wozniak

Even if we lose our money, we’ll have a company. For once in our lives, we’ll have a company. – Steve Jobs, to his co-founder Steve Wozniak

I was on one of my fruitarian diets. I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer.’ Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book. – Steve Jobs

They were very different, but they made a powerful team. Jobs at times seemed to be driven by demons, while Woz seemed a naïf who was toyed with by angels. Jobs had a bravado that helped him get things done, occasionally by manipulating people. He could be charismatic, even mesmerizing, but also cold and brutal. Wozniak, in contrast, was shy and socially awkward, which made him seem childishly sweet. – Ron Wayne

I never wanted to deal with people and step on toes, but Steve could call up people he didn’t know and make them do things. – Steve Wozniak

We were participating in the biggest revolution that had ever happened, I thought. I was so happy be a part of it. – Stephen Wozniak

The Apple II

Dawn of a New Age. PCs need to be in a complete package, not just the processor. Woz tried to build the Apple II. He created colour this time. This was slow to be released to the market. Steve had to get new sources of funding to build it. Steve was hurt when Woz’s dad criticized him for not giving Woz more of the profit. Steve wanted Woz to take the whole Apple. But Woz refused and knew the power of the team. Steve would help package the Apple II. Steve got someone to design a plastic case for the PC. It was simple, yet elegant. He persuaded another guy to design the power source. They created a switching power supply (alternating current). The PC came with slots which allowed users space to upgrade. Steve looked weird and thin and this frightened off potential investors. Markkula thought about investing in Apple and was excellent at marketing. He was made rich after a stint at Intel. Markkula impressed both Steves and furthermore, he liked the Apple II. He had a strong moral compass as well. This guy had big dreams and wanted to bring the product into the mass market. Markkula pumped $250K into Apple and the shareholding was now Steve (25%)-Woz (25%) – Markkula (25%)- Future Investors (25%). Woz initially did not want to leave HP completely. Woz did not want to leave engineering. After much persuasion, he came on board Apple as an engineer. The company was incorporated in Jan 1977. Markkula was like a mentor to Steve. Mike wanted Apple to live by these qualities ‘Empathy, Focus and Impute (Creating a Good Impression + good marketing)’. Regis McKenna was a publisher for IT companies and had good outreach. Steve was persistent about getting Regis to publish about Apple. McKenna worked with the logo with a bitten apple. ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. They spent a lot of marketing. Both Steves were given wardrobe makeovers. During a trade show, they got a first deal from Japan. Steve was becoming rude to his staff. Mike wanted to bring Mike Scott ‘Scotty’ as the new Apple president. He was brought in to manage Jobs. Steve wanted to be in control of everything. He took offence at not being #1 in the badge number list. Steve was a product perfectionist as well. Steve and Scotty had many conflicts regarding design. Steve was not practical at times regarding his demands. VisiCalc produced word and spreadsheet software for Apple II only.

You don’t deserve shit. You haven’t produced anything. – Jerry Wozniak, to Steve Jobs

Mike really took me under his wing. His values were much aligned with mine. He emphasized that you should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last. – Steve Jobs

He became increasingly tyrannical and sharp in his criticism. He would tell people, that design looks like shit. – Mike Markkula

Steve was too tough on people. I wanted our company to feel like a family where we all had fun and shared whatever we made. – Steve Wozniak

Woz designed a great machine, but it would be sitting in hobby shops today were it not for Steve Jobs. – Regis McKenna

Chrisann and Lisa (He Who is Abandoned). Chrisann was together with Greg Calhoun. She and Greg also headed to India for a spiritual journey. Soon, their relationship soured. Steve got her pregnant. However, he didn’t care about it and didn’t know how to deal with it. He lived in denial. He knew he didn’t want to take care of the kid. Steve didn’t want her to place the kid up for adoption. Steve was 23 then. After the girl was born, Steve named her Lisa Nicole Brennan and left to go back to Apple. Steve, under law, had to pay money to support the girl. He kept admitting he was not the father. Looking back, he regretted how he handled the situation. Steve put aside drugs and his strict vegan diets. Still, he had the child-like streak in him.

I was all in favor of her getting an abortion, but she didn’t know what to do. She thought about it repeatedly and decided not to, or I don’t know that she ever really decided – I think time just decided for her. – Steve Jobs

Xerox and Lisa

Graphical User Interfaces. 210,000 units of Apple II were sold in 1981. Steve didn’t want to live in Woz’s shadow. He wanted to impress others as well. The Apple III was a failure. Jobs wanted to name a new computer Lisa. Bill Atkinson was putting life into ‘Lisa’. He created Pascal, a programming language for the Apple II and to develop a program for tracking a stock portfolio. Xerox PARC’s engineers began to create a GUI. Every pixel would be retained in memory and more computing power was required. Steve was interested in Xerox PARC. Steve allowed Xerox to buy Apple’s shares for a discounted rate and in return Xerox had to share their new idea. Apple went public a year later. Xerox got the worse end of the deal and revealed too much to Apple. Eventually, Steve was amazed by their technology. Smalltalk showed how computers could be networked and how object-oriented programming worked. Apple raided on their idea. It was how Apple used the Xerox PARC idea. If Xerox had commercialized their invention, the whole computer industry could have been theirs. Execution is just as important as innovation. Apple improved the GUI as well. The modern day desktop interface was formed. Atkinson designed windows that overlap with each other. Steve dismissed people who were not ambitious and doubted their abilities in life. Mike Scott and Mike Markkula aimed to control Jobs with a reorganization. This relinquished operational control from Steve Jobs. He was made non-executive chairman of the board.

The Apple III was kind of like a baby conceived during a group orgy, and later everybody had this bad headache, and there’s the bastard child, and everyone says, ‘It’s not mine.’ – Randy Wigginton

‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it. People who are serious about software should make their own hardware.  -Alan Kay

“Picasso had a saying – ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ – and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” – Steve Jobs

Everything you’ve ever done in your life is shit, so why don’t you come work for me? – Steve Jobs to 2 Xerox engineers

I was upset and felt abandoned by Markkula. He and Scotty felt I wasn’t up to running the Lisa division. I brooded about it a lot. – Steve Jobs

Going Public (A Man of Wealth and Fame). By end 1980, Apple was worth $1.79 billion. Daniel Kottke didn’t get stock options because he was paid by the hour. He pleaded with Steve Jobs to give him options. Steve didn’t bulge. ‘Steve is the opposite of loyal. He’s anti-loyal. He as to abandon the people he is close to.’ Steve lost a friend because of this. Woz, on the other hand, gave some options to his other employees so that they could be rich. He even gave Daniel and some others stock options. Morgan Stanley was the underwriter for the deal. By 25, Steve was worth $256 million. Steve was anti-materialistic when young when he pursued the Zen way of life. However, now he had a love for material objects. He tried his best not to let money change him. He set up his own foundation.

I never worried about money. I grew up in a middle-class family, so I never thought I would starve. And I learned at Atari that I could be an okay engineer, so I always knew I could get by. I was voluntarily poor when I was in college and India, and I lived a pretty simple life even when I was working. So I went from fairly poor, which was wonderful, because I didn’t have to worry about money, to being incredibly rich, when I also didn’t have to worry about money. – Steve jobs

I watched people at Apple who made a lot of money and felt they had to live differently. Some of them bought a Rolls-Royce and various houses, each with a house manager and then someone to manage the house managers. Their wives got plastic surgery and turned into these bizarre people. This was not how I wanted to live. It’s crazy. I made a promise to myself that I’m not going to let this money ruin my life. – Steve Jobs

The Mac Is Born (You say you want a revolution). Jef Raskin wrote the manual for the Apple II for $50. The Macintosh was born. It was a screen, keyboard and computer all rolled into one. Burrell Smith was a brilliant engineer who worked on the Mac. Raskin didn’t believe that if you just had passion, you could design anything you want. Raskin used the underpowered Motorola 6809 microprocessor. Jobs wanted to use the more powerful Motorola 68000 chip. Eventually, he got his way. Also, Steve wanted a mouse whereas Jef wanted a keyboard. Some engineers found Steve very difficult to work with due to his desire to introduce politics and tension. Mike sided with Jobs this time. Raskin was forced to leave. Andy Hertzfeld started to work on the Mac as well. Steve had a personality that convinced some of the top engineers to join the Mac team. Woz had a crash in an airplane and decided to take a break from Apple. Steve wanted to name the Mac the bicycle. This failed. A few weeks later, Jobs managed to push Scotty out as president of Apple. Mike Markkula took over as interim president and Steve was free to explore with the Mac.

I think he likes people to jump when he says jump. I felt that he was untrustworthy, and that he does not take kindly to being found wanting. He doesn’t seem to like people who see him without a halo. – Jef Raskin

Very often, when told of a new idea, he will immediately attack it and say that it is worthless or even stupid, and tell you that it was a waste of time to work on it. This alone is bad management, but if the idea is a good one he will soon be telling people about it as though it was his own. – Jef Raskin

The Reality Distortion Field (Playing by His Own Set of Rules). Steve had super ambitious goals and was living in his own world at times. It is not wise to get caught in his distortion reality field. It was like a force of nature. He had the power to transform others. It was almost hypnotic. He felt special and super rebellious at birth. Just like Gandhi. He felt rules did not apply to him. People’s work were either brilliant or totally shitty. You were either a god or a shithead. Although he might see your idea as being shitty, he might actually come back to you later and claim it was great. Steve could adopt your position as if he was his own. It was essential not to react to his extreme positions and be affected by it. Those who were criticized by him improved along the way. Steve actually respected people who stood up for themselves. ‘This is shit’ actually means ‘tell me why this is the best way to do it.’ Steve had the ability to look at the big picture. The Mac turned out to be a great product. He had a good way of motivating employees.

In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he’s not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules. – Bud Tribble, on Steve Jobs

His reality distortion is when he has an illogical vision of the future, such as telling me that I could design the Breakout game in just a few days. You realize that it can’t be true, but he somehow made it true. – Steve Wozniak, on Steve Jobs

It was a self-fulfilling distortion. You did the impossible, because you didn’t realize it was impossible. – Walter Isaacson

It’s a common trait in people who are charismatic and know how to manipulate people. Knowing that he can crush you makes you feel weakened and eager for his approval, so then he can elevate you and put you on a pedestal and own you. – Joanna Hoffman, on Steve Jobs

I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B work. Ask any member of that Mac team. They will tell you it was worth the pain. – Steve Jobs

The Design (Real Artists Simplify). Steve liked clean and simple designs. He poached Lewin from Sony. He really believed less is more. Once again, he was very focused on the packaging. He wanted bright and pure colours, and products with top technology. ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. Soon, he was thinking of a flat laptop. He didn’t want a boxy Mac, but rather, a curvaceous one. Steve would keep improving on the model. He didn’t want ovals or rectangles but rectangles with rounded edges. Steve used his typography knowledge to design the Mac. He placed heavy emphasis on getting the fonts right. He also designed the Mac’s calculator. Hartmut Esslinger would be Apple’s designer. Even the circuit boards had to be designed well. Quality and design must be consistent throughout. He kept making people re-do their designs.

I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it. – Steve Jobs, on the circuit boards in the PC

Building the Mac

The Journey is the Reward. Steve dismantled the IBM’s PC and analysed it. Apple was overconfident and tried to taunt IBM. To him, IBM was not innovative. Steve wanted his Mac to compete with the Lisa. It became unhealthy. The people working on Lisa thought Steve was destroying Apple. His software etc was all over closed and not compatible with other products. For the Mac, a user could not open the motherboard. For the hacker, this was bad. He wanted utter control over the user’s experience. He didn’t want people to open the Mac up. Steve was soon featured on the Time Magazine. Lisa eventually died a natural death because sales dried up. Apple had to turn to Steve Job’s Mac. It was 1983. Steve asked weird questions at interviews at ‘Are you a virgin?’; ‘How many times have you taken LSD?’ ‘It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.’ He didn’t treat the Japanese well. Especially those who had crappy hard disk drives. Steve wanted a disk drive designed by Alps and not imported from Sony. Time was running short. Hertzfeld disobeyed Steve by using Sony instead of developing their own disk drive as the Mac was due for introduction soon. Steve thanked him for it.

If, for some reason, we make some giant mistakes and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter sort of a computer Dark Ages for about 20 years. – Steve Jobs

It would be as if someone off the street added some brush strokes to a Picasso painting or changed the lyrics to a Dylan song. – Walter Isaacson

No, because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them. – Steve Jobs, on the need for market research

Enter Sculley

The Pepsi Challenge. Mike didn’t want to be president and started looking for someone else. John Sculley from Pepsi Co came to mind. He and Steve met a few times. John was excellent at marketing. Sculley was thrilled by Steve’s ideas and visions. Sculley was also a perfectionist by nature. They went on long tours together. Sculley realized he couldn’t reject him. Steve had the uncanny ability to say something which could convince others. Steve and Sculley were incredibly similar. Eventually, it became a recipe for disaster. Steve kept praising Sculley. However, when he couldn’t meet his expectations, things started to go downhill. Steve had big mood swings. The first disagreement was on how to price the Mac. Sculley priced it too high and Microsoft dominated the market then.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water (Pepsi), or do you want a chance to change the world? – Steve Jobs, to John Sculley (the future Apple President)

We’ll have to solve those problems, because you’re the best person I’ve ever met. I know you’re perfect for Apple, and Apple deserves the best. – Steve Jobs

We all have a short period of time on this Earth. We probably only have the opportunity to do a few things really great and do them well. None of us has any idea how long we’re going to be here, nor do I, but my feeling is I’ve got to accomplish a lot of these things while I’m young. – Steve Jobs



Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give in by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin

Lessons from an Extraordinary Life. Louis Zamperini died on July 2, 2014. He had an indomitable courage and fighting spirit for life. He always kept himself occupied by talking and traveling. His biography, Devil at the Heels, was published in 2003. Unbroken was also a film by Angelina Jolie about him. Louis had an exemplary character.

Introduction. I felt sharp even at 97. I was a runner for my high school. I used to run the mile. In the 1936 Olympics, I ran a 56 second final lap and got praised by Hilter. Eventually, I became a bombardier during the WWII. When my plane crashed in the Pacific, I miraculously survived. We grabbed rafts and we ate chocolates and ate fish and sharks that came by. I had a sharp mind and that kept me going. After 33 days, Mac died. Phil and I were left. By day 46, we found Marshall Islands and landed there. However, the Japanese had established a presence there. We were tortured by the Japanese. When I returned home after the war, I received a hero’s reception. However, I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Later, I devoted my life to God. Enduring challenges have gave me many rewards and I do not regret anything I have done. I started an outreach camp program after the War. Reporters were interested to cover my story after the war. Unbroken was one of the NYT bestsellers. I am just an ordinary man who resolved never to give up even in the face of trying circumstances. If you give life a try, you never know that might take you.

Run for Your Life

The Family Rules. We all need a code of ethics to guide us in life. Everyone pitched in to help when we were tight on cash. I worked odd jobs when young. My mum was strict but taught us well. My parents also knew how to play instruments.

Anyone Can Turn Their Life Around. I was often in trouble when young. I also had a self-esteem problem as I couldn’t speak English when young. Also, I hated the way I looked. School fights were common. One day, my dad gave me a punching bag and I trained. I was caught for smoking when I was 9. When I was older, I also like drinking and stole booze whenever I could. We robbed shops of pies and booze. Once in a while, I went to church. Once I beat up a driver because he reported me to the police after I stole his pies. Could I turn my life around? My parent were sick of me getting into trouble time after time. My brother was a better influence than me and wasn’t mischievous. My parents gave me a chance to shine through school sports. The principal encouraged me to sign up. I visited the steel mill and knew that I didn’t want to work there and suffer. I trained hard and sports changed my life and finally I started winning. Pete had much to do with my turn-around. I simply just kept running and never missed a training session.

The Difference Between Attention and Recognition is Self-Esteem. I was mischievous because I wanted recognition. I wanted to be accepted by others. I was also voted into the student-body as president. I had high self-esteem when it came to stealing from shops. However, in school, I suffered from low self-esteem. I was constantly anxious over how I was perceived by others. Self-respect can only be earned by doing something great. My fans and family were a tremendous part for my success. You don’t have to fight this journey alone.

It’s Not How You Win, It’s How You Lose. I raced the 5,000 metres in 1936. However, the officials made a mistake and I collided into another runner, causing me to lose. I was upset as I was winning continuously for 3.5 years. I congratulated Bright, the winner. Back in the day, we competed for the love of the sport. I represented the US at the 5,000m race at the Olympics, but I didn’t win.

That’s the way it should be. If you give everything and you lose, so what? It’s not going to put you in your grave. I walked away knowing I could handle defeat gracefully, and I had more self-esteem from that than from winning the race. – Louis Zamperini

I didn’t win the 5000m race at the Olympics, but making the team and not winning is like going to the moon and stumbling over a rock and falling. So what? You’re still on the moon. – Louis Zamperini

A Race Isn’t Over Until It’s Over. Glenn Cunningham was my hero. He was badly burnt but refused to give up on life. He epitomized resilience and resolve. The runners were not friendly towards me after I bragged that I would do a 4 minute mile. However, I still won in a time of 4:08.03. I won for myself and also for Glenn Cunningham. I didn’t know to accept defeat and kept pushing myself to greater heights. Thankfully, the persistence and perseverance would come in handy during WWII.

Be Prepared

Preparation Determines Your Survival. You should be prepared for anything. Every circumstance can be broken down into manageable challenges. When I was stranded at sea, I did not panic and used my first aid skills and learned how to catch fish. Everyone should learn some survival skills. Schools should teach survival skills to kids. I was a Scout and got inspired by Robinsoe Crusoe. As a rock climber, I knew that the ability to tie knots could determine my fate. Survival depends on education, preparation and anticipation.

Anything can happen to anyone, but there are simple rules designed to keep you out of trouble. When you’re hiking off-trail through the wilderness and you make a turn, break a tree branch so you know that’s where you were. – Louis Zamperini

My Survival Kit. You should keep your survival gear near to you. Even a water cape and shower cap can save you from the blistering cold. Use whatever that can help you survive. You always have to be one step ahead in your thinking.

Trust What You Know. The sharks often ate the bait that I laid while trying to catch first. Once, two sharks tried to jump on our raft. Then, we devised a plan to kill it and clutched the tail, however, I couldn’t hold on to it because of its strength. Later, we managed to kill one and we cut its belly. Raw shark meat would make us sick. The shark liver was delicious as it contained a lot of vitamins and protein. Without it, we might have died.

Keep Your Mind Sharp. Do not allow your body and head to rot. The brain must be exercised. Even on the raft, I tried to imagine mental sums and trying to solve them. We described the meals we cooked while on the raft. Phil and I also talked about our futures and that seemed to work. The Japanese interviewers were astounded by our sharpness on Kwajalein – Execution Island. It is imperative to use your brain well. I stayed sharp throughout the interrogation process. Other than Phil and I, no other prisoners made it off Kwajalein alive. I knew there were fake airfields in Hawaii and told the Japanese to bomb them. It was probably because the Jap thought that we would be better used for propaganda purposes.

Don’t Forget to Laugh. Remember to laugh. We had jokes even in Hawaii. We even laughed in POW camp. I felt rats running over my body in the bunk. If you pushed them away, they would bite you. I once made a paddle and smacked it. The rat squeaked in pain, and that got the rest laughing.

You are the Content of Your Character. I spent a year at Ofuna, a secret interrogation facility. Later, I was sent to Omori prison camp and I was also punished. Once, Mutsuhiro Watanabe ‘The Bird’ punished me. He knocked me down after I didn’t want to look at him. He offered me a tissue to wipe away the blood. After, he hit me again. He was a psychopath. The Bird couldn’t handle power as there were many higher ranked officers in the camp. I was extremely pissed and wanted my revenge. Once, I was brought to Radio Tokyo as they wanted me to send a message. In fact, the Japanese were using me to show the Americans that the POWs were being well taken off. They wanted me to claim that I was one of the lucky guys. However, I refused to read it and I’d rather be punished. Even though I transferred a camp, I still realized that ‘Bird’ was in charge again.

Never Let Anyone Destroy Your Dignity. Those soldiers who couldn’t accept their situation suffered the most. I got beaten up by ‘Bird’ but I kept going on and preserving. Bird punched in the stomach, causing me to drop the plank I was holding above my head for 37 minutes. Don’t let anyone destroy your dignity.

The great lesson of my life is perseverance. Never give up. – Louis Zamperini

Hate is a Personal Decision. Hate is just a cover-up and it will destroy you. Hate is a personal decision. Some of the prisoners hated the Japanese so much that they refused to eat. If you hate someone, it destroys your spirit.

The True Definition of a Hero. Being a hero is over-rated and over-used. I have deep respect for public servants like lawyers, doctors, teachers, firefighters etc.Whatever I did in the war, I did it for myself and fellow soldiers. It is important to work for the betterment of everyone.

Let others boast of you, but no with thine own mouth – Louis Zamperini

Attitude is Everything

You Must have Hope. If you tell yourself the war is going to end soon, you have a chance to stay mentally intact.

You must have hope. It rejuvenates your whole being. You can’t allow negative thinking – even if you know your chances are slim. I’m not saying that it’s easy to do, but the ability to envision the road to successful completion is what keeps you alive. – Louis Zamperini

Don’t Ask Why, Ask What’s Next? When you are old, the best form of exercise is walking. Walking keeps my legs strong. Old people shouldn’t give up walking. My attitude towards life remains upbeat even though I am old. The nurses also support me all the way. Having a positive attitude pays off in tremendous ways that you cannot imagine.

If you can’t control your attitude, forget it. You’re going to heal slowly or die young. – Louis Zamperini

You Choose How to View Your Fate. I rather be marooned alone on an island as compared to being caged up in prison. Even if you are stranded on an island, you should view your fate in a more positive fashion.

The Secret of Contentment. I have learnt to be content and react positively to life. I have learnt to accept everything that happens in life. Learn to work with what you have. Acceptance creates cheerfulness, which in turn creates contentment. Attitude is everything.

After the War: Still Lost

You Can’t Run (Or Sail) Away from Yourself. I felt like a celebrity after the war. My wife and I were invited to many functions. I wanted to run for the California state legislature. Your reputation and character are all you have. I wanted to get rich fast and I started trying to sell construction equipment. Sometimes, I still kept thinking about my time in POW. My running was too slow and I knew I couldn’t compete again. I wanted to party and have fun. I decided to take a trip on a boat on an expedition. It was an adventurous trip. It was definitely a joyous trip which I enjoyed thoroughly. The moral of the story is that you can’t run away from your problems and responsibilities.

Don’t Leave the Crucial Details to Others. We went to the Earl Carroll Theatre mostly. Once, we were stranded out at sea because our crew member forgot to top up fuel. We sent out an SOS signal and the plane dropped food to us. I used the mirror to send a morse code. The girls on my boat kept waving at the pilot and the pilot seemed interested in rescuing them. Finally, the Coast Guard saw us and pulled us aboard. The moral of the story: don’t leave the crucial details to someone you don’t know.

don't give up phrase on blackboard

motivational phrase, don’t give up, handwritten with white chalk on a blackboard


The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston (Part 2)

‘Better than Harvard’. Michael Sexton licensed Trump’s name for online real estate courses. Trump loved this idea. Trump University was born. He promised to handpick the professors etc but this was not true. The address chosen was also used by other criminals. Trump was prohibited using the word university unless it was authorized by the state education department. The professors were actually commissioned sales people, many with little experience in real estate. In 2012, he was sued for civil fraud. Trump, when questioned, said he couldn’t remember what the lawsuit was about. He could not even name one good live events instructor. He said that the education would be better than the best business school. This was not true at all. He also did not review the scripts used by the live events instructors. The whole Trump University was a fraud. The students were taught ‘to prey upon homeowners in financial turmoil and to target foreclosure properties’. The whole course was more of a high pressure tactic to buy into Trump U’s “Gold Elite” package. The Texas attorney took no public action in recommending penalties for Trump’s conduct. Abbott and Trump seemed to have some relationship going on. Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general, would investigate Trump. Trump’s office sent a cheque to her to support her re-election. Later, Bondi failed to further carry on the investigation. When the court records was released to the public, Trump was furious. Trump was also involved in problems with charities helping military veterans.

Trump Charities. Liberty House is a small veteran’s charity. Trump wanted to donate $100k but Keith Howard declined. It was illegal for charities to participate in partisan politics. However, some charities accepted the donations. These reduced their ability to receive tax-deductible donations. Trump was questioned by reporters on whether the donated money really went to charities. There are no buildings on Philadelphia campus that bears Trump’s name. Trump often declares a large amount of money would go to charities, but in reality, less of it will be transferred. He claims he is an ardent philanthropist, but there is little record of his charitable gifts given. Trump can’t recall all the veteran organizations that he has dealt with. Trump also has imaginary employees.

Imaginary Friends. When reporters tried to call Trump, a guy named John Baron, a VP of the Trump organization, answered. He said he was Trump’s spokesperson. He explained why destroying the sculptures was the only way. It was actually Donald Trump on the phone. By posing as his publicist, he could get more attention. Sometimes, Trump would confirm what Baron has said to give affirmation to the stories. Similarly, he used this tactic to taunt his enemies. Later, after he was exposed, he switched to using the name ‘John Miller’.

Imaginary Lovers. In 1991, Trump apparently dumped Marla Maples and taken up Carla Bruni. A reporter got a call from John Miller. He pretended to be Trump’s PR man. He said that Trump was too busy to answer calls because he was taking to other beautiful women. Miller claimed that Trump was not seeing Bruni. Bruni would be later treated to a hotel stay by Trump. Carswell, the reporter, was not fooled and knew that was Trump. She doubted he was with Bruni as he knew Trump wanted to have that playboy image. Once, Maples and Trump was caught arguing. In 1991, Carswell released the news that Trump was actually John Miller. In 2008, after Carla Bruni was the first lady of France, Howard Stern asked Trump why he was no longer with Bruni. He denied dating Bruni and claimed she was flat-chested. Trump kept declining to comment. He didn’t want to criticize the first lady of France. A few months later, Bruni slammed Trump for making up stories. Now, Trump would attempt to advance his pursuit of the Presidency.

Myth Maintenance. Trump often recites facts without analysis and threatens to sue journalists. This often shuts reports and journalists from further questioning. He sued Tim O’Brien for wrongly quoting his net worth. The aim of it was to harass him and waste his time. His second strategy is to distort information and contradict himself. When queried in 2016, Trump said he couldn’t know who was on the tape in 1991. He said the voice on the phone sounded like a scam. He denied that it was him on the phone. Trump often uses the words ‘I don’t recall’ very frequently. Trump has also accepted awards that he gave to himself.

I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about. – Donald Trump

You mean you are going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago about whether I made a phone call… Let’s get on to more current subjects. – Donald Trump

Collecting Honours. The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences gave awards to Trump. His golf course won the Star Diamond award. Cinque was the President of the Academy. His other buildings have won similar awards. The awards are chosen by the board of trustees. Donald J. Trump sat on the board. In other words, Trump accepted awards from a board on which he was a member. He also gave his friends and family awards. Cinque is often praised by Trump. Cinque has also a history of being involved in organized crime. Cinque also boasts about his prowess with women and his rich friends. In a recent interview, Trump denied attending any board meetings.

If a guy’s (Cinque) going to give you an award, you take it. You don’t tend to look up his whole life story. – Donald Trump

Who’s That? Felix H Sater’s name was usually spelt with one T. However, he added another T to his name, Satter, to conceal his past. His father was Russian mob boss in Brooklyn. Trump said he was unaware of Sater’s criminal background. He was allowed to work on property projects. He was eventually made ‘Senior Adviser to Donald Trump’. Trump had his name on buildings, causing investor to invest. However, they later learnt that Trump was only licensing his name. Sater had a short jail time considering the crimes he committed. Trump continued to work with Sater. When interviewed much later, Trump claimed that he would not be able to recongize Sater.

Down Mexico Way. Trump announced that he would build in the Trump Ocean Resort in a great location. It would be a world-class resort. It would be the new Cabo. The whole Trump family appeared bullish during the launch. Some people purchased because of the strong Trump brand. They would regret their decision. 200 people bought in, paying more than $22 million in deposits. In 2007, construction was underway. 3 months later, the market crashed by Ivanka assured that the project would carry on. Even in 2008, construction did not start. In fact, neither Trump nor the Trump organization was involved as investment partners. They had use licensed the use of their name. All the buyers sued him as they felt that Trump was the developer. Trump denied any wrong-doing. Many of the buyers were given too short time to decide whether to purchase the house. It was unfair business practices. Trump has done something before which was similar too. The fact that Trump licensed his name was not disclosed to buyers.

Trump Beaches a Whale. He wanted updates on the baccarat game at the Atlantic City casino. Akio Kashiwagi was a huge gambler, a billion dollar customer. It was year 1990. He was known as ‘The Warrior’. Trump was very anxious because Akio was up 4.2 million. Wynn was very rich too and personally talked to high rollers. He made the customer feel special. Trump didn’t treat his big customers as well. He was greedy and wanted bigger profits from high-rollers. Many casinos wanted ‘The Warrior’ to play. His life was mysterious. Trump didn’t understand the maths of the games well. The Warrior had already bankrupted a casino before after he won too much. Akio never varied the size of the bets whether he won or lost. Akio brought $12 million to the Atlantic casino and was preparing to lose it all. As a high roller, Akio received wonderful treatment. Baccarat was his game of choice. He left for meals only but continued playing. Akio made the same flat bet every time, this was pure maths. Many of them believed in lady luck. Marcum knew that the odds were 5 to 1 that he would lose his bankroll before doubling it. The house had slim advantages but it would multiply over time. It was predicted in 10,000 bets, Trump could win 5,125 bets to Kashiwagi’s 4875. . Even on the second day, Akio was winning. Trump introduced Khashoggi to Akio, but Akio didn’t know him. It was awkward indeed. Trump was nervous and appeared to ‘sweat the action’. Trump panicked when Akio was up 6.8 million. Trump asked whether Akio was cheating. The next day, his profit was only $4.4 million. Trump said Akio was the greatest when he was only down to $2 million cash. This was dishonourable. Akio left and never came back. In 1992, he was murdered by the yakuza. He died after owing Trump $6 million, on top of the $5.4 million he had previously won. Trump lost big time.

There are no such things as lucky streaks, but all gamblers believe in them. – Marcum

Probability is like a wave. Because of the house advantage, over time the player dips lower and lower until he stops crossing the midpoint and ultimately loses all his money, unless he quits first. –  Marcum

Biggest Loser. Bob Libutti was the biggest loser. Trump treated him like a friend and tried to seduce his daughter. Lubutti was involved in evaluating racehorses. He was charged for civil tax fraud etc. In the 1980s, he led the high life. Trump treated him like a king. Trump took him on helicopter rides and top sporting events and shows. His daughter was Ebie Libutti. Libutti confronted Trump when he approached his daughter. Trump kept fulfilling his demands. Libutti was a very hot tempered man.

Epilogue. Trump is a household name in US history. Voters should definitely ponder about his conduct before voting in November 2016. Action is character. This book is about his relationship with criminals etc. Often, they were profitable in nature and were not subject to greater scrutiny. Trump has threatened to sue me. He dismisses others who do not see him as he sees himself. Trump values money a lot whereas I value honour more. Money can always be earned back again. His conduct should make us reflect on what we want to see in a leader of our great nation. Many of the things he does in business cannot be applied in politics. From his campaign speeches, some of the things he plans to do makes him seem like a dictator. Trump is smart in that he is tapping into people’s frustrations with the current state of affairs. Whether he can put up viable policies is another matter altogether.


The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston (Part 1)

Introduction. I have been an investigative reporter since young and have freedom to report on what I want. I also happen to be good at what I do. In 1988, I met Donald Trump in Atlantic City. It turns out that he knew nothing about the casino industry. I have a trove of his documents with me. He first mooted the idea of becoming President in 1988. Trump would make a profit in his 2016 campaign. He is always thinking of how to make profits. Through the book, I hope to expose the things he has done. Trump is smart and can deflect enforcement investigations and threatens to sue others. Sometimes, he can come across as ignorant in the way he conducts himself. This book is a presentation of the facts. Trump even hired people to show up and clap during his campaign.

Family History. His family name was Drumpf and he has German roots. Donald’s grandpa was Friedrich and also flouted some rules in his life. He arrived in the US when he was 16. Friedrich started the Diary Restaurant. Trump did not vote regularly at elections. Friedrich’s foray into mining projects were a flop. He later headed for Yukon Territory and started a bar called the Arctic. The gold rush was present and he made some money. Later on, he met Elizabeth Christ, a 20 year old blonde. Later, the family headed back to Germany. Frederick returned to the US and started new ventures. However, he passed on the 1918 influenza pandemic. Donald’s father was Fred.

Trump men favouring busty blondes would become a family pattern. – David Cay Johnston

Family Values. Fred was charged for battling NYC policemen. However, Donald continuously denies the charge. He pretended that if he heard nothing, it meant there was no charges filed against Fred. The public should not know about crime and its implications. Later, Fred built single family houses and even a supermarket. He was a fast learner and turned in a small profit. Often, his buildings were built using cheap materials. To attract attention, Fred would hire beauties in bikinis etc. Fred was also investigated on whether he was into profiteering. He was a household name. Donald denied that his dad profiteered. Nothing came of the investigation though. Fred borrowed money from Tomasello, who was engaged in illicit businesses. Much of what Donald does is learnt from his father. Fred gave Donald much support when he was younger. Donald’s older brother tried to help with the business but didn’t do well. Donald attended the New York Military Academy as he was ill-disciplined when young. Later, he went to the University of Penn. Fred Jr became a pilot but subsequently had alcoholism problems. Donald claims that he was a good student in the University of Penn. However, he doesn’t know what Net Present Value is and how it is measured.

Personal Values. Trump was giving advice to a crowd on how to succeed in life and business in 2005. He was working with a convicted felon and swindler named Felix Sater. He did not prepare for the presentation. Trump did not show the audience any respect by not preparing for the speech. His mentality is to trust no one, even employees. He has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits. He has written more than 12 books. Once, he trusted a female employee and when he wanted her to call her friend at a big bank and she refused, Trump fired her. He hates disloyal people, like Rosie O’Donnell. This act of vengeance is certainly at odds with what the Bible preaches. He can’t remember his favourite Bible verse.

Get even. If somebody screws you, you screw them back 10 times over. At least you can feel good about it. Boy, do I feel good. – Donald Trump

I have to tell you about losers. I love losers because they make me feel so good about myself. – Donald Trump

I love getting even when I get screwed by someone – yes, it is true…Always get even. When you are in business you need to get even with people who screw you. You need to screw them back 15 times harder… go for the jugular, attack them in spades! – Donald Trump

A Sickly Child. His dad died in 1999, at age 93. William Trump had problems at birth and Fred Trump Sr would cover the medical expenses. After he passed on, William Trump’s family knew they were not collecting their anticipated share of the estate. The judge ruled that medical coverage resume until the matter could be resolved. Fred Jr sued Donald Trump’s father. Donald was obviously not pleased when someone sued his father. The will excluded Fred Jr and his children. Donald appears to be very vicious in his motto of vengeance. This caused divisions within his family. He also had a close relationship with the notorious Roy Cohn.

Making Friends. Roy Cohn was a notorious attorney and Donald Trump wanted to get close to him. They had a great relationship. Trump always wanted to join Le Club, a hottest club in the city. However, he didn’t know anyone. He hired Cohn to sue the federal government after Trump was investigated of racial bias when hiring operators. Trump allegedly didn’t hire rent out apartments to blacks. As a result, the Federal Government sued Trump. This was a high profile discrimination case and appeared to violate the Fair Housing Act. Cohn claimed that the government was unfair as they were trying to force Trump to rent to people on welfare. Cohn lost the case and the government could proceed with the investigation. Eventually, Trump folded and settled. When confronted by reporters in future, Trump claimed that the government couldn’t prove its case and that he only had to make a minor settlement. Trump learned to place loyalty over everything else. Trump knew he could count on Cohn. He was also associated with powerful Mafia figures who worked in the demolition and construction industry.

Trump’s Most Important Deals. Trump applied for a casino license in New Jersey in 1981 and his background was not thoroughly checked. The government didn’t want a mob-run casino on Atlantic City. Trump talked to the attorney general and told him there was no need to check his background thoroughly. Trump threatened not to bid for the casino if they wanted to check him in detail. Trump had indeed been under investigation before but there was no mention of it in the DGE report. No charges were filed. There were about 4 cases where Trump was involved in shady dealings but these were not reported. Trump did not tick the box for civil misconduct. Lying in his application would result in disqualification. The concrete he used was controlled by a concrete cartel. Roy Cohn helped to ensure that the Mafia bosses would not have the unions stop work on Trump Tower. Barrett was a reporter who managed to examine some of Trump’s business practices. Cody was another crook who knew Roy Cohn. Trump also took kickbacks from contractors etc. Soon, those contractors who fixed prices for concrete were convicted.

A Great Lawsuit. Football made Trump famous. He bought the New Jersey Generals in 1983. The attendance at the games were decent, but were nowhere that of National Football League. Trump was aiming the NFL league. Dixon started the USFL league to slowly compete with the NFL. USFL could celebrate the scoring of goals whereas for the NFL, players couldn’t. Trump held cheerleader try-outs at the Trump Tower to attract attention. He brought them to sleazy bars and some of the girls were offended. In 1984, Trump, together with the other USFL owners, sued NFL. The lawsuit for that NFL allegedly monopolised the tv contracts. Roy Cohn would represent Trump again. The USFL was awarded damages in $3. This was humiliating to Trump. Trump’s legal strategy backfired. USFL folded after that. The court also dismissed claims that Trump wanted to merge the USFL with NFL. USFL wanted to grow fast, but failed. One cannot disagree with Trump. It is like to be a loser.

Showing Mercy. Trump dealt with a drug trafficker named Joseph Weichselbaum. He did unusual favors for the felon, even putting his casino license at risk. When Trump met him, he was already a twice-convicted felon. He was arrested for grand theft auto and embezzlement previously. Joseph and his brother ran a helicopter service and ferried high rollers to and from casinos. Their main client was Trump. Trump also retained Dillinger Charter Services, whose owner was John Staluppi. The mysterious thing was why did Trump keep supporting Joseph’s team when he could have used other firms? Did Trump finance Joseph’s activities? In 1985, he was convicted of drug trafficking in Florida, Ohio and Kentucky. Trump kept paying $2 million per year for the helicopters. One of Joseph’s court case was also transferred to the state of New Jersey, where Trump’s older sister Maryanne Trump Barry was assigned to the case. When she was eventually replaced, Trump asked for leniency for Joseph. Joseph eventually only served a mere 18 months jail. The DGE did not ask deeper questions on Trump’s relationship with Joseph Weichselbaum. There are still things unknown about Trump’s relationship with Joseph. When asked to recall his relationship with Joseph, Trump said he barely recalled who he was.

Polish Brigade. Trump knocked down Bonwit Department store before he built Trump Tower. It was a really famous store. He promised to give the architectural treasures to the Museum of the Art. However, he didn’t keep this promise. He used a Polish contractor and the men need not wear safety gear. It was primitive. The workers were not paid in accordance with wage laws. They were underpaid and made to work like slaves. The crew had huge numbers and suffered. Trump was also known to delay the payments. Trump was told to fire them if he didn’t want to get into trouble with labour laws. Trump would always want to collect more money and not paid people. He was downright greedy and did not care about the workers’ welfare. Surprising, there was no safety inspection of the demolition. The union was under the main control of Roy Cohn, his lawyer. Only when the men threatened to not work, did Trump start to pay them more regularly. Trump testified that he had no knowledge that any worker was unpaid. The judge found that Trump wanted to cheat workers of their pay. Trump had to settle in the end. He also claimed that removing the art would cause a lot more, hence they would be demolished instead. The museum curators were furious. Yet, Trump claims to be an ardent philanthropist.

Feelings and Net Worth. Trump has given different figures when asked to present his net worth. Sometimes, a different figure could be quoted just within a few days. He sued Tim O’Brien after he quoted wrong net worth figures in his books. Trump’s image is really important to him. A lot of information was not disclosed in the financial statements, making it hard to determine how much Trump earned. Sometimes, Trump might even hide debts and other liabilities. Mortgages were not recorded. When estimating his net worth, values of properties are very high. However, when answering to tax authorities, he quotes very low valuation prices.

I would say when I publicly state my net worth, I base it on my general attitude at the time that the question may be asked. And as I say, it varies. – Donal Trump

Trump’s net worth is central to his public persona as a kind of modern Midas. – David Cay Johnston

My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try. – Donald Trump

Government Rescues Trump. Trump made over $375 million between 1986 and 1990 (not profit). However, in 1990, he could not pay his bills. He lacked the money to pay for the construction for Trump Taj Mahal. His casino also risked being shut because Trump could not pay. Trump was bleeding dry fast. Cash was burning and he still had his private jet. The regulators also did not regularly monitor his finances. Lawyers and accountants started going over his books. The Leventhal report showed his net worth was -295 million. The DGE, despite this, did not ask very difficult questions of Trump. Overall, Trump owed $3.2 billion and it was terrible for his creditors. A deal was planned and Trump had to live on $450,000 per month. The press was not allowed to say the word bankrupt. The commission would approve the deal between Trump and his bankers and Trump would be safe. Many reporters did not know that Trump was on the verge of bankruptcy. Donald Trump was saved by the government. Because of this, Trump had to restructure and sell off stake in some of his enterprises. Investors lost more than $1.5 billion when he shrugged off 4 bankruptcies. He was lucky to have escaped.

Gold and Taxes. Trump gives variable values on his property values. Many civil settlements have resulted and these files are all sealed. He overvalued his Trump National Golf Course at more than $50 million. However, when talking to the tax assessor, he quoted the golf club to be less than $1.4 million. He told a reporter subsequently that the value was $9 million. When the town was flooded and covered in silt because of the golf course, Trump refused to pay. The storm water facilities at his golf course failed. The litigation between the town and Trump remains unresolved. Trump valued the National Golf Club Bedminster at more than $50 million and said it had annual revenue of more than $16 million. He paid lower property tax on it because he had goats on the active farmland. He did the same for another of his golf course. Often, he ends up suing the town.

Income Taxes. Jack Mitnick prepared Trump’s income tax returns. They had a close relationship. In 1978 and 1979, Trump paid no federal income taxes. His tax returns showed negative income because there was a rule in Congress that let big real estate investors offset income from salaries, stock market gains, consulting fees, and other income with losses from depreciation in the value of their buildings. A review by the tax authorities concluded that Trump owed more tax in 1984. Once, Trump’s returns showed zero income from the consulting business. The auditors demanded supporting documents for Trump’s large deductions. Penalties were levied against Trump because he could not substantiate. Mitnick claimed that he did not prepare the tax return. When I questioned Mitnick about it last year, he claimed he could not remember. How did his signature get on the tax return then? Judge Barrie ruled that the penalty be upheld. In 1991 and 1993, Trump paid no taxes too.

Empty Boxes. In 1983, Trump had 2 empty boxes mailed to him from an out-of-state address. This was to evade sales taxes on expensive items. Back then, the law was that under NY law, a visitor who buys good and has them shipped to her home state does not have to pay NY sales tax but then owe an equivalent tax to their home state, known as a use tax. But this was not readily enforced. The tax auditors uncovered this scam. There were other rich people involved in this scam. Adnan Khashoggi was an arms dealer who partied with Trump. He also evaded sales tax. It is amazing why billionaires would want to escape small taxes like these. A criminal charge like this would be sufficient to revoke his casino license. Howard Rubenstein defended Trump throughout this saga. The Bulgari staff and the master-mind would be jailed. Trump was let off.