(Video link here.) After hearing a lot of very kind and reverent words about Steve Jobs lately, Walter Isaacson’s new biography about him, apparently balancing the picture, which we can’t help but think is a good thing. The guy was brilliant, but no angel; he was deeply flawed. Ryan Tate of Gawker wrote just this in his piece What Everyone Is Too Polite To Say About Steve Jobs an outline of the other side of Jobs, which include authoritarianism, rough treatment of underlings, tolerant of abusive working conditions in Apple factories overseas….This is the same guy who gave his famously uplifting commencement speech, who said “Death is life’s change agent.”
We’ve heard similar combo-platters of gifts and faults with a number of famous people (and experienced it working for some). And this past year, three of our dear friends passed away. The were all much loved, creative, valiant and very generous people who had harsh, often dark, sides as well.
What do we make of this? We don’t have it figured out except to say that we think it’s better to try to see the whole picture then perpetuate an illusion of perfection. That illusion, to us, is a danger; it creates an unreal view of life and people. It allows us to condone or ignore crappy behavior. Even worse it makes us believe that life can be tidy and in control, and condemn ourselves when ours is not. As far as we can tell, it’s always in process, messy, full of flaws and big surprises, with tons of mistakes and adjustments to be made along the way.
We LOVE that we get to work on ourselves as we live, to learn and change along the way.
Related posts: steve jobs: ‘you have to trust…’
apple’s ‘think different’ video: tribute to steve jobs
howard rheingold: on becoming (“life…forks every day, in every moment”)
4-step algorithm for change
a question-driven, learning-centered life
our lives, in brief (secrets, 6-word memoirs, even obits)