“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”— Steve Jobs
I’ve always wondered just what influenced Steve Jobs thinking?
Walter Isaacson‘s biography of Steve Jobs provides an unprecedented look at not only Steve Jobs life but the books which influenced him.
For such a success, there is oddly only one business book on the list, The Innovator’s Dilemma. According to Isaacson, this book “deeply influenced” Jobs.
Reminiscing on his teen years, Jobs recalled “I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology — Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear“.
Moby-Dick and Dylan Thomas‘ poetry were among Jobs’ favorites as well.
During his freshman year at Reed, Jobs devoured books such as Shunryu Suzuki’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” Chogyam Trungpa’s “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” and Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi,” a book Jobs would come back to and re-read many times during his life.
Jobs found himself deeply influenced by a variety of books on spirituality and enlightenment, most notably Be Here Now, a guide to meditation and the wonders of psychedelic drugs by Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert.
“It was profound,” Jobs said. “It transformed me and many of my friends.”
The one book that Steve Jobs had downloaded on his iPad was Autobiography of a Yogi, “the guide to meditation and spirituality that he had first read as a teenager,” Isaacson writes, “then re-read in India and had read once a year ever since.”
Now compare this to what Bill Gates reads for fun.