Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs caused a bit of a stir amongst Apple fanbois and observers of Apple. I’m just getting down to reading it myself. John Gruber believes the book is ‘flawed‘ (but doesn’t explain why) citing an article by Malcolm Gladwell who suggested that Jobs was a tweaker.
I don’t see any causal relationship between Isaacson’s book and Gladwell’s inability to understand the nature of invention, particularly in regards to Jobs.
One of Jobs’ geniuses was his capacity to see what others couldn’t; I call it The Seeing Eye. It is one very large part intuition, one part intelligence and one part experience. It explains some of Jobs’ apparently less attractive behavioural traits: doesn’t justify them, just explains them.
By way of example, if I say the sky is blue, but you don’t see it when to me it is self-evident that it’s blue, it can be frustrating to have to then explain why it is so. Worse is having to sometimes justify why one sees it that way when time would be better spent maximising the advantages blue sky presents.
This was Jobs’ genius. It’s why he can’t be replaced and why Apple will be a very different company without him. The only question I have is whether Jony Ive has The Seeing Eye too?
(And I’m guessing there was a lot of blue sky in Jobs’ life, although if Gruber’s assessment of Isaacson’s tome is accurate I might never know.)