1. Steve Jobs: Introduction
  2. Steve Jobs: Early Life and Education
  3. Steve Jobs: Success Story
  4. Steve Jobs: Net Worth
  5. Steve Jobs: Famous or Infamous
  6. Steve Jobs: Most Influential Quotes

Steve Jobs is arguably the most famous technology entrepreneur in the world. But you don't get to be that famous without also being controversial.

Brash Personal Style

From the time he was young, Steve Jobs was known for his standoffish and often unpleasant interactions with peers and employees. When he was in his late teens, he worked at video-game pioneer Atari, whose co-founder Nolan Bushnell would go on to remember him as someone who “was very often the smartest guy in the room, and he would let people know that."

In his first stint as the head of Apple, which ended with Jobs being ousted from the company he co-founded in 1985, he had a reputation as a tyrant, cursing and belittling employees, and resorting to public humiliation to keep them motivated.

In his second stint at the head of Apple, from 1997 to 2011, lore has it that employees lived in fear of Jobs to the extent that within 20 minutes of Jobs entering the Apple Cafeteria, everyone was usually gone for fear of being spotted away from their desks and singled out. (See also: Steve Jobs And The Apple Story.)

A former employee, vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive, witnessed many of the profanity-laden, abusive tirades Jobs aimed at Apple employees over the years.

"When he's very frustrated ... his way to achieve catharsis is to hurt somebody. And I think he feels he has a liberty and license to do that. The normal rules of social engagement, he feels, don't apply to him,” Ive recalled. “Because of how very sensitive he is, he knows exactly how to efficiently and effectively hurt someone. And he does do that."

His sense of being an exception was evident across the board in Jobs’ life. For decades, he drove a BMW without a license plate, parking it in the handicapped spots in the Apple parking lot. Because it had no license and because of where it was parked, Apple employees always knew which BMW belonged to Jobs. And there were years when the car was rarely seen without markings left by some outraged underling who’d taken a key to it.

Drug Use

When he was in his teens and early twenties, Jobs experimented with drugs and took a liking to psychedelics, especially LSD, of which he’d speak glowingly throughout his life.

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it,” Jobs would say. “It reinforced my sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”

One person who Jobs would often take LSD with was Daniel Kottke, who would later move to Palo Alto and become one of the first employees at Apple in the mid-1970s. At the time, the two were students and deeply interested in Eastern mysticism, a discipline they applied to their experiences with the drug.

"We were ... in a meditative space," Kottke said. "We were reading books about chakras and psychic energy and the chi and the Kundalini serpent that was going to rise up our spine."


Steve Jobs: Most Influential Quotes
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