Steve Jobs was an A–hole and Robin Sharma is a Genius

I can’t seem to read just one book at a time. Typically I have a few going and I switch back and forth depending on my mood. On the nightstand right now is the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, and The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

From these two amazing books, today I learned:

1. Steve Jobs was an A–hole (and a Genius): From the sounds of it the only thing you could predict about Steve Jobs was that an encounter with him would be entirely unpredictable.

A terrible boss. Demanding, demeaning, insanely detail focussed. I doubt I could have worked for him but I wish I could have.

A terrible customer. He would never hestitate to explain everything you had done wrong. There was no filter. No mute button. I would have hated dealing with him, but I wish I could have.

A terrible listener. Prepared slides be damned. No way would he sit quietly through your presentation. It would have been impossible to present to the man, but I would have loved to have tried.

An utter genius with an unrelenting drive for perfection. I own 6 products with his stamp on them. I can’t imagine life without them – they make my day easier and remarkably more fun. The more I learn about the man the more I find to both like and dislike, and the more I want to buy his stuff.

2. Robin Sharma is a genius:  I just picked up a copy of The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, and only a few pages in I am fascinated. I already considered one of his other books, The Leader Who Had No Title, the most simple and simultaneously profound book I have ever read, so it is no surprise I am enthralled with this one too.

As a carryover from school I always read with pen in hand ready to circle things that impact me. This is the passage that hit me today:

What I love about Robin Sharma is the simplicity at the core of everything he writes. Stripped down messages not unlike Aesop’s fables. This passage presents such a simple concept in a way that is easy to action. After today I know that the next time I am presented with an idea I will be sure to ask myself, “Is my cup full or empty?”

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4 Comments on “Steve Jobs was an A–hole and Robin Sharma is a Genius”

  1. Your post about Steve Jobs hits the nail right on the head. A genius and an asshole all rolled up in one. Heres a unique way to look at it though. What if Jobs was only a genius because he was an asshole? Or what if he was only an asshole because he was a genius? If either one caused the other, then I would rather get both traits rather than neither. Like you stated, he has created so many products that are staples in households across the world that it is hard to not like him. Isaacson’s book is very eye-opening but do you expect anything less from a man that defied every odd and changed the world? Maybe if we had a few more assholes in the world, we would have a few more geniuses…..or maybe not!

    • Thanks for your comment Anthony. I always considered the asshole side to be a by-product of his genius. Essentially, I felt that he was always two or three steps ahead of everyone, and the inability of other people to keep up brought out the asshole in him, simply from frustration. I had not considered the other perspective, that it might in fact have driven his genius. If that behaviour was simply a manifestation of his desire for everything – food, couches, hotel rooms, iPhones – to be designed and executed perfectly then you could be right. It seems a case can certainly be made for both perspectives, and in fact at different times in his life both may have been very true.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

  2. […] two things project Steve Jobs was an A–hole and Robin Sharma is a Genius […]

  3. […] somewhat similar to the theme of Robin Sharma’s book, The Leader Who Had No Title (and I have already made it clear I am a fan of this concept). I consider myself a believer in this approach to leadership, and over […]


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