by Ted Welch
Sat Oct 22nd, 2011 at 01:23:48 PM EST
It can also destroy communal values and was rejected when it was different to the way Jobs thought.
Steve Jobs Regretted Wasting Time on Alternative Medicine BY RYAN TATE
Everyone else wanted Steve Jobs to move quickly against his tumor. His friends wanted him to get an operation. His wife wanted him to get an operation. But the Apple CEO, so used to swimming against the tide of popular opinion, insisted on trying alternative therapies for nine crucial months. Before he died, Jobs resolved to let the world know he deeply regretted the critical decision, biographer Walter Isaacson has told 60 Minutes. (NB for Americans, to be on CBS Sun Oct 23).
As I was working on this I read the IHT, which just happened to have an article on a book about Jobs soon to be published. He was so used to imposong his way to "think different" that he stubbornly ignored other views, even about his own health. When he changed his mind and decided to go with medical science, acknowledging that he'd been wrong, he then tried to control this new direction:
Friends and family, including his sister, Mona Simpson, urged Mr. Jobs to have surgery and chemotherapy, Mr. Isaacson writes. But Mr. Jobs delayed the medical treatment. His friend and mentor, Andrew Grove, the former head of Intel, who had overcome prostate cancer, told Mr. Jobs that diets and acupuncture were not a cure for his cancer. "I told him he was crazy," he said.
Art Levinson, a member of Apple's board and chairman of Genentech, recalled that he pleaded with Mr. Jobs and was frustrated that he could not persuade him to have surgery.
When he did take the path of surgery and science, Mr. Jobs did so with passion and curiosity, sparing no expense, pushing the frontiers of new treatments. According to Mr. Isaacson, once Mr. Jobs decided on the surgery and medical science, he became an expert -- studying, guiding and deciding on each treatment. Mr. Isaacson said Mr. Jobs made the final decision on each new treatment regimen.
But it was already too late. Gates recalled their final meeting:
Mr. Gates later recalled to Mr. Isaacson the two laughed that Laurene had kept Mr. Jobs "semi-sane" and that Melinda, Mr. Gates's wife, "kept me semi-sane."
But "semi-sane" isn't enough when dealing with cancer, though his wife tried to overcome his irrational attitude towards surgery:
His wife, Laurene Powell, recalled those days, after the cancer diagnosis. "The big thing was that he really was not ready to open his body," she said. "It's hard to push someone to do that." She did try, however, Mr. Isaacson writes. "The body exists to serve the spirit," she argued.
Asked by Kroft how such an intelligent man could make such a seemingly stupid decision, Isaacson replies, "I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking...we talked about this a lot," he tells Kroft. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it....I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."
The very funny Dara OBriain on alternative medicine:
What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs
In the days after Steve Jobs' death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He's been hailed as "a genius" and "the greatest CEO of his generation" by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man's reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.
In the name of protecting children from the evils of erotica -- "freedom from porn" -- and adults from one another, Jobs has banned from being installed on his devices gay art, gay travel guides, political cartoons, sexy pictures, Congressional candidate pamphlets, political caricature, Vogue fashion spreads, systems invented by the opposition, and other things considered morally suspect.
Apple's devices have connected us to a world of information. But they don't permit a full expression of ideas. Indeed, the people Apple supposedly serves -- "the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers" -- have been particularly put out by Jobs' lockdown. That America's most admired company has followed such an un-American path, and imposed centralized restrictions typical of the companies it once mocked, is deeply disturbing.
Sweatshops, Child Labor and Human Rights
Apple's factories in China have regularly employed young teenagers and people below the legal work age of 16, made people work grueling hours, and have tried to cover all this up. That's according to Apple's own 2010 report about its factories in China. In 2011, Apple reported that its child labor problem had worsened.
Jobs tells Obama to make the US more like China - after arrogantly insisting Obama asks to meet him:
Jobs, who was known for his prickly, stubborn personality, almost missed meeting President Obama in the fall of 2010 because he insisted that the president personally ask him for a meeting. Though his wife told him that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you," Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.
"You're headed for a one-term presidency," he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where "regulations and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them.
In Person and At Home
Before he was deposed from Apple the first time around, Jobs already had a reputation internally for acting like a tyrant. Jobs regularly belittled people, swore at them, and pressured them until they reached their breaking point. In the pursuit of greatness he cast aside politeness and empathy. His verbal abuse never stopped. Just last month Fortune reported about a half-hour "public humiliation" Jobs doled out to one Apple team:
Jobs had his share of personal shortcomings, too. He has no public record of giving to charity over the years, despite the fact he became wealthy after Apple's 1980 IPO and had accumulated an estimated $7 billion net worth by the time of his death. After closing Apple's philanthropic programs on his return to Apple in 1997, he never reinstated them, despite the company's gusher of profits.
It's possible Jobs has given to charity anonymously, or that he will posthumously, but he has hardly embraced or encouraged philanthropy in the manner of, say, Bill Gates, who pledged $60 billion to charity and who joined with Warren Buffet to push fellow billionaires to give even more.
"He clearly didn't have the time," is what the director of Jobs' short-lived charitable foundation told the New York Times. That sounds about right. Jobs did not lead a balanced life.
And what about the lives he helped change ?
Those among us who have an iPod, Macbook, iTouch, iPhone or iPad have surrendered our powers of concentration and free time to this cult, not to mention our personal data. An entire generation will only be able to walk into its future so long as Apple holds its hand. They will only be able to commune with each other via their devices and a shared experience will only be truly shared through Facebook or Digg. Who talks with strangers on the buses today? You can't flirt with someone on a train if they are plugged into a two-hour shuffle of easy listening.
There's a reason why Apple put the ''i'' into its products and it has nothing to do with information. It cannily recognised that in a world of globalised products the consumer yearned to be recognised as an ''individual''.
The same issue of IHT had this, on the need to move beyond an "I" orientated world to one that moves back to one in which the emphasis is on "we" - especially the 99%. The new technology can play a part in this, but it is a mens to something wider than the assertion of self - which can end up destroying that self, as in Job's case:
We know that what begins with giving the young voice, with telling them they can be what they wish to be, can end with children who abandon their parents in their final years and forget all that was given.
Of course, it will end in these ways only if nothing is changed, if we treat the experience of the West as a model rather than as a set of experiments.
For the tradition-bound world, this Me-centric modernity is an overwhelming temptation. And yet it is the Indias and Chinas and Nigerias of the world that have a chance to reimagine it as they make their own modernity. And as they do, they would do well to observe that, even here in the West, there are attempts under way to make community an essential part of what it means to be modern -- though community of a fresh kind: a smarter, lighter We.
You see it in the various people working on a "new capitalism": companies like SnapGoods that use new technologies to let people do what their great-grandparents once did -- borrow things rather than buy them for short-term needs; the multiheaded movement toward local, sustainable, ethically derived food, which seeks to use money to connect people to the community rather than alienate them from it; the explosion of social enterprise, which uses the means of business to pursue the ends of civic purpose."
I would add - using civic purpose to oppose the means and end of business as practiced in places like Wall Street:
"It's a dream-sharing," another young man said during a small organizational meeting, to general approval.