Steve Jobs the movie starring Ashton Kutcher

By some strange coincidence the film about the life of Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher aired on tv yesterday, the same night as I had written my review about his book. It can be seen as nothing else than the world conspiring to make me write about the film as well – so here goes.

This was the first time I saw it, and had no idea what to expect. Or let me rephrase that – having read the book I had a pretty good understanding as to what COULD be in the movie but no idea as to what they had chosen to focus on or frame it as.

First of let me start by praising the caster/producer that chose Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs – it is striking how much he looks like the real deal! Furthermore Ashton Kutcher does quite a decent job portraying him. The way he walked with forward lean almost stumbling each step to keep up with his center of gravity while his limbs hang loosely from his slender body. The way he wore his feelings outside the body on most matters while totally denying the existence of other feelings in some cases. He really hit bullseye on those.

What I lacked having read the book was an even more detailed look at the person Steve Jobs himself. While they didn’t exactly try to portray him as being a super nice guy, they somehow in my opinion did not spend enough time on how impossible and evil he could be for his surroundings. There are some outburst at people he works with, cold feelings towards friends and lovers, even his daughter – but even with this included I somehow thinks he is portrayed as being to nice or framed as a person you should end up having sympathy towards.

The narrative of the story they portray, focussing on Apple can of course go a long way towards portraying him as a character you should feel sympathy for. The whole thing about him being forced out of the company he eventually started is by no means pretty or deserving for anyone. But if I had only seen the movie I would probably only feel sorry for Steve Jobs whereas having read the book I feel sorry for what happened with him being pushed out of Apple computers, but I still do not feel sympathy for him because he was to much of a jerk towards his surroundings – and that cannot be excused.

It is like hearing a story about a boy who is kept out of a game of basketball in the schoolyard, who you would feel sorry for and sympathy towards. But how would that change if you knew that he had again and again kept others out of basketball games in the past, ridiculing everybody’s abilities and clothes – then your sympathy towards the boy would probably change. That’s my issue with this movie – it frames him as only unsympathetic enough that you still end up feeling sorry for him in the end.

But with that in mind I still think it is a decent movie and by no means bad. It does have some inspiring and motivating parts in it, but overall it focusses more on rise – fall – re-rise, than the entrepreneurial spirit which could have made for an inspiring watch. The girl I watched it with liked it very much and felt more informed about his life and Apple when finished. So while I have no idea whether the movie has been a hit or not, it does a decent job at entertaining and informing.


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