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That's the fault of the biography, which refuses to ever analyze him and seems to not even notice when he's changed. Not the only thing it didn't notice - check out how often people are blatantly misquoted, like where Bill Gates supposedly claims a disk drive has "too low latency".

Seems like the actual event right before coming back to Apple, where he mysteriously becomes an amazing CEO, is when he met his wife.




Or indeed where Bill Gates claims that the purchase of NeXT technologies were just "warmed up UNIX" and was "never really used" by Apple. Isaacson failed to fact-check anything Gates said, and a lot of it was demonstrably, factually, objectively false.


Yeah, I wonder how much of the aloofness of the book had to do with the writer, Steve Jobs's personality, the unique and prominent place Steve Jobs has in tech history, and the unusual circumstances and deadline of the book (i.e. in his final days, and the rush to publish within a short time of his passing).

One passage that stuck out to me in which Isaacson clearly pressed present-day Jobs on his personal viewpoint was bringing up the episode in which Jobs, according to Woz and Bushnell, cheated Woz out of his bonus for building the Breakout game:

> Astonishingly, they were able to get the job done in four days, and Wozniak used only forty-five chips. Recollections differ, but by most accounts Jobs simply gave Wozniak half of the base fee and not the bonus Bushnell paid for saving five chips. It would be another ten years before Wozniak discovered (by being shown the tale in a book on the history of Atari titled Zap) that Jobs had been paid this bonus.

> “I think that Steve needed the money, and he just didn’t tell me the truth,” Wozniak later said. When he talks about it now, there are long pauses, and he admits that it causes him pain. “I wish he had just been honest. If he had told me he needed the money, he should have known I would have just given it to him. He was a friend. You help your friends.” To Wozniak, it showed a fundamental difference in their characters. “Ethics always mattered to me, and I still don’t understand why he would’ve gotten paid one thing and told me he’d gotten paid another,” he said. “But, you know, people are different.”

> When Jobs learned this story was published, he called Wozniak to deny it. “He told me that he didn’t remember doing it, and that if he did something like that he would remember it, so he probably didn’t do it,” Wozniak recalled.

> When I asked Jobs directly, he became unusually quiet and hesitant. “I don’t know where that allegation comes from,” he said. “I gave him half the money I ever got. That’s how I’ve always been with Woz. I mean, Woz stopped working in 1978. He never did one ounce of work after 1978. And yet he got exactly the same shares of Apple stock that I did.” Is it possible that memories are muddled and that Jobs did not, in fact, shortchange Wozniak? “There’s a chance that my memory is all wrong and messed up,” Wozniak told me, but after a pause he reconsidered. “But no. I remember the details of this one, the $ 350 check.” He confirmed his memory with Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn. “I remember talking about the bonus money to Woz, and he was upset,” Bushnell said. “I said yes, there was a bonus for each chip they saved, and he just shook his head and then clucked his tongue.”

This passage, early in the biography, cast a negative pall over Jobs's personality in my mind. He's in his final years, and not only is he facing death, but he's experienced success so far beyond the first Apple days and his name will likely be much more well-known and remembered than Woz's. Assuming that Jobs isn't actually right, what purpose does he have to perpetuate this mistruth? Why couldn't he just own up to it, to say something like, "Yes, back in those days I did things I regret, and I regret even more that I did it to my future business partner, Woz, one of the [insert superlative] men I've had the pleasure to work with"? But no, he had to keep denying it until his near-death, even slagging on Woz as if Woz was some lazy bullshitter who sat on Jobs' coattails.

The episode as recounted by Isaacson at least ends with something that reflects well on Woz (as if Woz's honest reputation needed more bolstering). In fact, I think Woz, in his characteristically honest and straightforward way, has the best description of Jobs' legacy:

> Whatever the truth, Wozniak later insisted that it was not worth rehashing. Jobs is a complex person, he said, and being manipulative is just the darker facet of the traits that make him successful. Wozniak would never have been that way, but as he points out, he also could never have built Apple. “I would rather let it pass,” he said when I pressed the point. “It’s not something I want to judge Steve by.”




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