Aristotle on management: Wittiness

dsc_6301_2048leThere are truckloads of books, seminars and courses on the latest and greatest management methods. But is the latest and greatest really what we need or are developments in management theory primarily making the wheels spin for the people who invent them and the institutions that rely on teaching them. Can a man that lived almost 400 years BC teach us anything that is just remotely useful in our fast-paced technological wonder-World?

I sure happen to think he can and I will try to convince you as well. Just because someone lived several hundreds years ago without the technology of today, doesn’t mean that they cannot teach us a thing or two about life. I would almost go as far as to say that exactly because they lived in a world without so much technology fighting for their attention, they will have had way more time for deep thought and contemplation. And lots of our worries, problems and annoyances are the same wine only disguised in new technological bottles.

First let me give a small introduction to who this man actually is. Some of you may have heard his name or learned about him in school, but for those of you who had as high(low) an interest as me in old historical figures during your school years I will just briefly brush up the memory a bit. Of course taken from my deep, deep knowledge and in no way read and paraphrased from Wikipedia…

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher that lived from 384 BC to 322 BC. He was a pupil of Plato (you can look him up as well – I won’t go back through all of these and play Six degrees of separation or popularized as the Kevin Bacon Game to end up linking Aristotle to Kevin Bacon).

Later he tutored Alexander the Great. He spent his life thinking, teaching and writing and in relation to this article, wrote the book The Nicomachean Ethics from which some of the following originates.

Aristotle made a list of virtues listing the mean(virtue) but also either end of the spectrum – too much and to little of each. One of these is represented in the title of this post and is what this piece will be about, namely; wittiness.

Wittiness represents the mean between the bore on one end and the buffoon at the other. But why is this important in relation to management? Yeah, let’s dive into that.

If you have had more than one boss in your working career you have probably already experienced a big difference in management styles, if you have had several years of working you will probably have seen a lot of bad bosses/leaders and a few good ones. We won’t dissect all traits of good and bad leaders, but concentrate on traits related to wittiness.

Let’s start at the buffoon end of the spectrum. Hopefully your boss haven’t been dressed up and acting like a clown, full with red curly hair, nose and large shoes – if so I don’t know what to say. But even without going full retard the buffoon stage is still relevant. Being considered a buffoon as a leader often stems from wanting to be liked and loved too much. People who are not “natural” leaders and has reached the position by seniority rather than merit and skill, will probably easier fall into this “trap”. They will try their best to be liked among their subordinates by acting like “one-of-them”, joking inappropriately in an attempt to get attention, recognition and sympathy. As we will get to, being a leader isn’t about being a total bore either, but being a buffoon inappropriately joking about just about anything, playing one of the guys simply isn’t the way to conduct yourself as a leader.

Moving on to the aforementioned bore. Where the buffoon perhaps more than anything tries to be “one of the guys/girl” the bore perhaps tries to overcompensate in the other direction. The bore sees the role of a leader as very strict and square with absolutely no personality to it. Showing any kind of emotions could be misunderstood as weakness so instead he or she puts up a total facade keeping them from relating to their subordinates in any way. The bore may or may not be qualified as a leader, but is not totally confident in the position and is very afraid to lose it. Being a total bore is probably better than being a total buffoon, but in the end it isn’t optimal either.

As with almost anything in life the sweet spot is in the middle – what Aristotle called being “witty”. With wittiness comes humor in moderation. The ability to make people smile and feel entertained without acting like a clown. Being the person that people want to sit next to at the table without them worrying about either getting totally embarrassed or bored. The kind of person you can have a light easy conversation with as well as come to with your problems and open your heart to them.

A good leader is confident in his or her own abilities and exude authority both from title and action. Not trying too much to be among equals in relation to subordinates but not trying to stand on top of a pedestal either. Being a good leader means managing and shielding your subordinates from troubles and having them do the best work they can, while relating to them in a way that they feel they can come to you if they are in trouble.

Being witty is being human.

The distraction economy kills happiness

DSC_4692_2048LEI’m about halfway through Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and as I said in an recent installment of my weekly blogpost, LFK Thoughtful Weekends it is headed to be one of the most important books I have ever read – and I read quite a few. It is said to be the “classical” work on happiness, yet it in so many ways differs from what I would categorize as “books on happiness”. A lot of those try to pull all kinds of crazy advice over your head in order for you to achieve happiness. This book – Flow – doesn’t do that. It draws upon heavy and clever research on how people feel doing different tasks during the day. A lot of the data gathered has come from people carrying small devices that at random times during the day beeps them, and then asks them to answer questions on how they feel and what they do.

The surprising or unsurprising finding, depending on how deep you already are in this type of research is, that people actually doesn’t feel most happy or fulfilled when relaxing, but actually while they are working or submerged in a task that takes their total attention. This state of mind and being is referred to as “flow”. A state where you lose track of time and being and is just totally submerged in the task at hand.

Speaking from personal experience I can totally agree on the fact that this is one of the most pleasurable states of being. But it is also somewhat paradoxical as although pleasurable as it is, it takes quite a lot of mental effort to reach. In order for an activity to qualify as being able to produce flow, it has to involve some part of skill and be mental challenging to the right amount for you. Meaning that if you get bored doing the activity, then it is not challenging enough. On the other hand if it is to challenging you will look for ways to escape the activity to cut the mental strain.

Reading a book is probably one of the easiest ways to obtain “flow”. If it is a good book and you have placed yourself in an distraction free environment you will probably quite quickly get into a state where you lose track of time and is just totally submerged in the book. Watching television or surfing the internet without purpose is on the other hand not very good flow-activities. While you can get submerged in them, they don’t offer enough challenges or involve enough skill to be fully rewarding. A good movie can leave you with thoughts for days, but they still won’t qualify as flow-activities. That is not to say that you shouldn’t watch movies or television, they are great at creating relief after a full day of good work, but they shouldn’t be your prime sources of happiness.

I won’t go in full detail with how work in a “flow” state creates happiness, for that argument you should pick up the book. But if you can stay with me and for now “buy” the hypothesis that “flow” state creates a sense of happiness, then you can probably follow the title of this blog post; “The distraction economy kills happiness”. Because with billions of dollars poured into one universal goal – grabbing your attention, then you can begin to see why it is so hard to concentrate and reach the sought after state of flow.

Reaching flow is not easy. If it was just a straight fight between a pleasant and easy state on the one hand and an as easy and pleasant state on the other it wouldn’t be that hard a fight. But the odds are very skewed. Not only are billions of dollars being poured into the advertising industry, social media etc. they also offer a quick fix of dopamine that feels good – for about half a second, then you need the next one. But getting into flow and reaping the benefits of this awesome feeling takes hard work. You have to do something that is adequately challenging for a sometimes long period of time, before you can come anywhere close to this pleasant feeling, so why not just stay with the quick fixes of dopamine?

Because in flow state you really live. You live on your terms, creating value for yourself and perhaps even for others. We are born with this internal paradox where almost all of us wants to relax more, but once we do nothing we start to feel worse and perhaps even inadequate. Doing can be anything from researching your bloodline, building scale models of old planes or finding cures for rare diseases. The important part is doing. And doing focused work on something that we enjoy for long uninterrupted periods of time.

A lot of research points to the fact that we might call an unfocused mind an unhappy mind. The more time you can spend in flow the happier and more fulfilling the life you seem to live. The good news here is that you can almost turn any activity into flow activity. What matters is that it challenges you, and that you find it worthwhile. What it leads to and whether you only do it for your own sake does not matter.

Focus your mind and get to work.

LFK Thoughtful Weekends 005

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This weeks installment of LFK Thoughtful Weekends will feature 2 articles and a little film clip. They aren’t all that related, but each of them really caught my attention during the past week.

The first one is kind of philosophic and self-examining, but bears a very important message especially in this day and age. With billions upon billions of dollars being spent on advertising the world over, the advertising industry is more than ready to tell you what you want, or should want if you haven’t yet truthfully asked yourself the important questions. Advertisers sells stories, dreams and lives that can be or perhaps rightfully is really tempting. The message here is not whether or not the life and dream advertisers sell is right or wrong. No the message is for you to personally decide what is right for you. You have to decide what you want to want. If not you could end up spending an entire life chasing a goal that is not really yours and end up getting something that you actually did not even want in the first place.

This article spends a lot of time on this aspect and I found it really interesting and important. And don’t be put off by the name of the link, if you are a woman. This applies as much to women as men: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/08/15/what-do-you-want-to-want/

The first article was by no means short, but this second one is more digestible though still bearing an important point. It tells you to stop spending so much time in your head. I may find this interesting as I am super guilty of this and there are numerous articles on the same topic, but this just really caught my eye the past week. To add to some of the points that will presented it also falls right in line with what I am reading at the moment by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience which only halfway through looks to be one of the best and most important books I have ever read and I will probably write at least one post on that one alone. But in that book he also mentions that you cannot think yourself happy. Thinking too much impedes action and for most people actually leads to unhappiness. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t think at all, but the ones who spend too much time in their head probably already know that they are guilty of it – I sure do for my part.

But go read the very good and to the point article here: http://dariusforoux.com/stop-spending-time-in-your-head/

Finally something I found completely by surprise or at least what it also showed apart from the actual topic was quite a fun discovery. Some people are absolute naturals at striking up conversation and make people do exactly as they want. Seeing these people in “action” can be quite entertaining and fascinating. The clip here is from a Youtube channel for photographers, that in these installments give a shitty camera to a pro photographer to test the myth of equipment vs. skill. Meaning that perhaps you don’t always need the latest most expensive gear to get really good results. With the right attitude and creativity you may even be able to get really good results from shitty equipment.

But the surprising element in this clip actually isn’t the pictures in any way. They turn out okay – but nothing special. The thing to just sit back and watch with fascination is the pro photographer at work. I know that he is in the right element and all the people around the venues where they are as a general rule of thumb probably wants to be seen. But the way he works everybody and just strikes up meaningful conversations, not to mention making people do whatever he likes is just so fascinating in my book. If you ever had a hard time striking up conversations with strangers watch and learn from this guy, he is an absolute beast.

And this concludes the fifth installment of LFK THoughtful Weekends. Hope you enjoyed it. And have a very very pleasant weekend!

LFK Thoughtful Weekends 002


Small lighthouse by Jesper Reiche on 500px.com
– Click to see image in full size

Second installment of LFK Thoughtful Weekends – if you missed the first one or want to read the story behind it is here: LFK Thoughtful Weekends 001

But in short these posts are meant to highlight some articles that has made me think a little extra about my life, taught me something or maybe just made me smile.

Well let’s get underway.

The first one highlights somewhat of a potential problem with our consumer-economy. I guess bringing on this together with the one on basic income from last weeks post makes me seem like more of a socialist than what I would see myself, but as mentioned in that post, my own stand doesn’t matter all that much with regards to what I find interesting in these.

Getting back to the article. It revolves around the right to repair. As you have probably noticed from own or others behavior we very rarely repair and most often just buy new. Repairs are done, but primarily within warranty and once beyond items are mostly replaced rather than repaired. The no. 1 reason for this is economy. Economy from two sides but with one side sort of trying to force the hand, which is what this article revolves around.

We buy new because it is cheaper than having it repaired and our behavior is largely reliant on cost. Company policy almost solely controls this. Within warranty they are “forced” to repair but once we go beyond the warranty, they are not and if you go to a third party to get your item repaired, no money is coming back to the company that made the item. As a lot of these companies try to maximize profits they are of course looking at ways to make you buy yet another item from them once the “old” once runs out of warranty and if they can make the old ones harder to repair they might be able to sway you into buying new instead of repairing.

This of course isn’t the best solution for the earth in general as it leaves a hell of a lot of waste to be taken care of. One way to help this underway would be to become better at recycling, but as this article highlights the right to repair is also a struggle that can go a long way of helping this. So with no further explanation:

The right to repair: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/fight-right-repair-180959764/?no-ist

I love Richard Feynman. I have praised him several times before on this blog and will surely continue to do so in the future. What I really love about him is his aversion of pretentiousness and his ability to see and break down the world into simple understandable terms. If you haven’t already read Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! you should absolutely go pick it up. It is just so enjoyable!

This specific article is on the difference between knowing and understanding. It mentions some passages that are also present in the book. In short Richard Feynman is asked to be on an educational board for grade school that should help decide what should be taught and which books should be used to teach the children. In order to prepare for this he thinks he better read all the available books to see help decide on which to choose. Of course he is the only one on the board who actually did this mammut task, but what he finds is even more amusing. They are all crap! They try to use to difficult language to teach something that could be told way more easily. They try to sound wise without really teaching anything. All pretentious!

As he mentions in the book his father always anchored new knowledge to something already knew and understood. Paraphrasing he tells about his father reading aloud from a book that mentions the size of a tyrannosaurus rex. Which was X number of feet tall. But does that really mean anything. A child could recite this number but then if you asked him would that make it larger than a cat, he/she would have no idea. The facts aren’t anchored to anything. So each time his father taught him something like that he always anchored to something he already knew. The tyrannosaurus rex is X feet tall which means that if he stood outside the house his head would be at the hight of the top of our roof on the house. Well this way of thinking is one of the points of this article, but again I can highly recommend reading the actual book!

Feynman on teaching kids: https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/07/richard-feynman-teaching-math-kids/

Finally a little piece on something almost everyone has experienced and something that you probably won’t experience relaxing through the weekend – but then you are prepared first thing Monday morning. The topic in question is brain fog. Closely related to procrastination as one usually leads to the other. It is no groundbreaking article on brain fog, but a good reminder as to what can be done while struggling with brain fog. I can personally attest to the recommendation of starting something very simple. Just set out to do a little unimportant thing and before you know it you have done way more than you initially set out for. But I won’t dig too deep into this, it is not that deep of an article but sound advice.

Brain fog: http://blog.trello.com/foggy-brain-4-ways-to-better-leverage-your-off-days/

This concludes the second installment of LFK Thoughtful Weekends. Hope you enjoy it. Have a very good weekend and remember to relax!

LFK Thoughtful Weekends 001

Flowers and beachI have for a while considered starting a newsletter, with the sole purpose of sharing some of all the articles I read through the week. Whether new or old, but all with the common theme of having been thoughtful to me. Made me think about how I conduct my life, made an interesting point or educated me in some way. They somehow have an impact on me, so maybe it will do the same to others or perhaps it doesn’t – only one way to find out. The plan of the newsletter would in other words not be to gain a big following or earn a lot of money, but just sharing the articles I read anyway, perhaps with a few comments on what I found interesting and what you might learn as well.

But as my thoughts of starting the newsletter never really amounted to anything, or at least not yet, I thought I might try to start of with having it as an weekly feature on my blog. Then I can try my way with it and perhaps with time merge it into some kind of newsletter feature instead.

I had some ideas as to how you could benefit from some of my notes and highlights from the articles, but I haven’t yet found a smart way to do this, so for now it will just be a few links and some comments about each from me. I hope it works for now, but please feel free to comment.

I have thought of different names for these features, without it being that important, but ended with an abbreviation of the title of the blog and a bit about the content which resulted in: LFK Thoughtful Weekends – feedback here is welcome as well.

So what kind of content will make its way into these. In short everything I find interesting. As I will try to explain what I found interesting in the article, you should be able to determine whether it will be interesting at all for you or not and whether it is worth the read or not. But content will keep very much in line with the philosophy of the blog, so if you find some of my writing interesting then I’m sure you will like this as well.

My idea is to send it out at the end of the week so that you can save it and read it Saturday or Sunday morning with a good cup of coffee or tea. Semi fresh and semi open to new ideas and inputs.

First of we start with a little reminder to carve out time to see our friends. I suspect almost everyone will be able to recognize the scenario from this article. It actually is quite a lot in line with the last post I wrote here on the blog How to make everyday feel like vacation without quitting your job. The point isn’t so much that you should find time to see all your facebook friends or be best friends with everyone you ever met. There are people you don’t see that often and honestly deep down actually is okay with it, even though you always says to each other that you should meet more often. That is perfectly okay. This is about the ones where you really deep down actually want to spend more time with them – only you can tell the difference. If they fall in the latter category, MAKE time for them. It is always a “bad” time. Days can go on end without it being the perfect timing for both. Make an appointment and stick to it.

Here is the link to the article from The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/19/lets-get-drinks

Next one is from Ryan Holiday. It is no secret that I am a big fan of his writing. I have his book The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage standing face out on my shelf. I really, really liked that one. Even down to the simple fact of the printing and materials used for it. It just oozes quality. Also pre-ordered his new book Ego Is the Enemy which I really look forward to receive and read.

Well this link here is a list of common thoughtful advice from Ryan. They are hard to categorize, and I would prefer not to highlight anything particular although I end up doing so. I think this is one of the saved articles with most notes and highlights I ever had. Of course it is also a collection of a lot of old points from him which I liked in the first place, but still a very, very good list. Lets just take a few to make you go and check it out yourself.

“Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

“If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”

“You have no idea what other people are struggling with. You have no idea what their lives are like. Leave them alone. Judge them not”

The article is filled with things like these, each powerful enough to spend an entire blog post elaborating on, but read it and make your own judgement.

Here it is: http://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2016/06/29-pieces-of-life-changing-advice-i-collected-by-my-29th-birthday/

The last one perhaps is a bit controversial and a point where I have no clear stance on the matter. But what fascinates me is when people think up big ideas that potentially could change the world. Not just incrementally going a bit more in whatever direction but laying out a totally new map. The core of this idea sure fits that description. It may be unattainable or based on flawed assumptions, but independent on whether I think it is a good idea or not, I like that people dream those thoughts and are willing to test them.

Final article: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-05-02/a-basic-income-should-be-the-next-big-thing

That concludes the first issue of LFK Thoughtful weekends. If you liked it please subscribe, or get back next and see if it still floats your boat and subscribe then.

Good weekend everyone!

“A guide to the good life” – and notes

*Notes on the book towards the end

As mentioned before I can’t really remember when I was first introduced to stoicism, but I think some of the first stoic texts I read was from Seneca. Shortly after being introduced to stoicism I stumbled upon A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joyand if I remember correctly I probably bough it together with Letters from a Stoic.

First time I read “A guide to the good life” I liked it, but for some reason not much more than that. It was a good book with good practical advice, but somehow it did not really have the impact I had expected. Too high expectations? – Perhaps.

In the following years I read and re-read a lot of stoic books. Loved Meditations, Ryan Holiday’s book on stoicism and as mentioned above “Letters from a Stoic”. But did not re-read “A guide to the good life” because of my first impressions of it. Then hearing a guest on Tim Ferriss’ podcast praise it, I finally re-read it.

And I am very glad I did. Because this time it really hit something inside of me, it really resonated and I absolutely loved it. It’s really full of practical applications of stoic principles and very actionable. It spend a little too much time on philosophical discussion of stoic principles, but as the author is a philosopher this is not unexpected – even though it seems somewhat going against the exact principles of stoic philosophers; philosophy should be practical applicable in everyday life. But those passages are easily overshadowed by the majority of content that is really top notch.

As I have mentioned in this post: Read and remember – make it stick I always underline passages that resonate with me or perhaps I find worthy of some more digging. Then actually starting with this book, I waited a few days and then went through my highlights writing down notes for most of them.

They are probably very subjective to my head and understanding, but if someone might find them useful they will come below. So as final comment I will highly recommend the book to anyone interested in stoic philosophy and interested in practical advice on how to live like a stoic or perhaps just implement some of their advice.

And now the notes:


 

Notes on “A guide to the good life”

To be virtuous is to live in accordance with nature – if we do this well we live a good life according to the Stoics.

We are social creatures and therefore have duties to our fellow men. Honor friends, parents and countrymen.

Stoic tranquility is the absence of  negative thoughts and the pretense of positive ones.

Unlike Cynicism Stoicism does not require adoption of ascetic lifestyle. We can enjoy money, luxury etc. but should do so while being willing to give it all up. We should not cling to these things.

The obstacle is the way. Hardship and set-backs build character like strength training builds muscle and hormesis builds up our immune system.

Negative visualization. All we have is on loan from “fortune” – cherish it, enjoy it but be prepared to lose it.

Memento mori. Reflect upon each day as if it was your last. Don’t take anything for granted – in an instant it can be gone.

Reflect and be grateful upon the people and things you have in your life and contemplate how sad it would be to lose them. This counteracts hedonic adaptation.

A stoic will not spend all his time thinking about catastrophes and visualizing all things being taken away from him, but a few times a day or week, spend some time contemplating loss of things dear to him in order to make him value them higher.

To practice negative visualization is to contemplate the impermanence of the world around us.

There will be – or already has been! – a last time in your life that you brush your teeth, cut your hair, drive a car, mow the lawn or go for a run. There will be a last time you hear rain or see snow falling, smell newly baked bread or feel the warmth of your child or spouse fall in sleep in your arms. Or a last time you make love. You will someday eat your last meal and soon thereafter you will take your last breath.

Learn to want the things that are easy to obtain or better yet, the things you already have.

Trichotomy of control; things we have full control over, things we have some control over, and things we have no control over. Do not worry over things that you have no control over.

We should periodically cause ourselves to experience discomfort – cold exposure, hunger etc. This rehearses the “what if” and further more builds character and self confidence.

The more pleasures a man captures, the more masters he will have to serve. We must learn to resist pleasures – else we spend our lives twitching in each pleasurable way.

Avoid high expectations – both of people, events and things. Having high expectations set you up for disappointment.

Take responsibility for your reactions to events, a stranger might cut you off in traffic, a colleague may say something insulting – what you can control is your reaction. If you don’t feel insulted – then you weren’t.

In the morning, rather than lazily lying in bed, we need to get up and get to work on the thing that we were created to do. The first resistance of pleasure starts with getting out of bed first thing upon waking.

Avoid melancholy people and negative people – they will upset your tranquility.

Don’t be insulted by things that are objectively right – being bald and then being told that you are bald is not an insult – it is just a fact.

Grief: Grieving for a short period of time is OK. But then move on. If you grieve the loss of a child then after a period get on with your life. Be happy that you had that child in your life in the period you had. And your child most definitely did not want you to suffer so why go against the will of your own child and become a sad and unhappy person?

Anger: Should a stoic that has seen his wife and children be raped and murdered not do anything about it. Indeed he should – but he should remain as calm as possible while doing it. Success in doing so will make for a much better and thoughtful revenge than just resorting to outright anger.

If we seek social status we are at the mercy of other people trying to have them see us in as positive a light as possible. Our goal should be to become indifferent to other peoples opinion of us.

Realize that many other people, perhaps even your closest friend do not want you to succeed. By doing so they may see themselves as being put down, because if you can succeed then why can’t they.

Acknowledge that the exposure to luxury might lose us our ability to enjoy the simple things in life.

Eat to live instead of live to eat. Eat to nourish the body and fill its basic needs not to gain pleasure.

If a stoic finds himself well of, then he should enjoy his wealth but never cling to it. He should contemplate losing it all again. If he clings to his wealth and new lifestyle then he becomes a slave to it. Because then suddenly he might fear losing his high income and therefore becomes limited in his freedom.

Stoics not being afraid of public ridicule, exile or even death often held and stood up for unpopular beliefs. People today often go out of their way to steer clear of trouble, where as the stoics would ask whether a life where nothing is worth dying for is worth living?

A man is as wretched as he convinces himself he is.

The stoics was convinced that what stand between ourselves and happiness is not the government or the society we live in, but the lack of a life philosophy.

Never categorize yourself as a victim. Always take responsibility.

Thanks to hedonic adaptation a pursuit of novel things will always leave us in want and unhappy. We should instead use negative visualization to learn to want the things we have.

Steve Jobs – an evil character

Some months have passed since I read this book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I can’t really tell why I haven’t felt the urge to write about it yet though. Perhaps more because of the impression about Steve Jobs I was left with after reading it, than the book in itself.

I have read Walter Isaacson’s biography about Benjamin Franklin before, and found it really good and entertaining. I will at some point also read his biography about Albert Einstein – so nothing bad to say about the author or his style of writing – I really like that.

But what really stands in your way as a speed bump the size of Everest is the personality of Steve Jobs. You can try and go around it, look over it, but it is still in your way. Walter Isaacson’s writing is as good in this as in his Benjamin Franklin book, he engages the reader and paints a very telling picture of the man Steve Jobs. But struggle as I might I can’t say that it is a very good book. It is fascinating, shocking and revealing but good – just somehow not.

You can’t argue what Jobs have accomplished. He in many ways have changed the world. But reading the book really made me lose respect for him. And that is not coming from one who did not or still don’t like Apple products – I really am a big fan of them.

The point some people will make however is that he can be forgiven for how he behaved because of what he accomplished – or that you need to be that way to accomplish what he did. I simply just do not buy into that narrative.

There are so many instances where he just acts pure evil! Nothing else to describe it. And it has absolutely nothing to do with being goal-oriented, ruthless business man or anything of the like – he just acts evil. These projections of him can of course be false or projected in a more negative light – but my impressions of Isaacson in general and the book as a whole, is that he tries to be as objective as possible. And this fact just stayed with me for the entirety of the book. People who does so many acts of unnecessary evil and unkindness just cannot be given any respect.

I did finish the book and almost let my guards down a little towards the end, where if you have a really bad short time memory, you may have a slight breeze of compassion towards him. I just couldn’t let go off the evil picture painted of the man. He lost my respect and never won it back again.

Of course your mileage may vary – I almost wish I hadn’t read it. I did not have a positive image of Steve Jobs before, just as slightly unsympathetic at times – but this book really pushed the needle as far towards evil as it goes without physically harming people.

If you somehow feel compelled to read it you can get here: Amazon