Steve Jobs - links and further reading

Steve Jobs was a great marketer as well as a great innovator. Transforming Business is involved in some preliminary conversations about a theology of marketing. If you’re interested in taking part, please contact Peter Heslam (psh20[at]cam.ac.uk), whether or not you have formal expertise in either theology or marketing!

The pervasiveness of the kind of technology associated with Steve Jobs can represent opportunity, convenience and security. But it can also provide the means to an unhealthy blurring of boundaries, such as between home and work, that can lead to stress and over-busyness. Two books that seek to address this hazard from a Christian perspective are published by IVP: The Busy Christians Guide to Busyness, by Tim Chester; and Working without Wilting: Starting Well to Finish Strong, by Jago Wynne.

An organization that seeks to address the relational impact of new media and technology is the Relationships Foundation. Some of its thinking is reflected and developed by LICC director Mark Greene in his book The Best Idea in the World: How Putting Relationships First Transforms Everything, published by Zondervan.

Jobs delivered a remarkable speech to students at Stanford University in 2005, about a year after he was diagnosed with cancer. Here are two short extracts:

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

Whatever its shortcomings, many people have found this speech moving and profound. The text and video recording is available on the website of Stanford University here.

Tributes to Jobs include one from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook: ‘Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world’ (posted on Facebook here).

In 1983, John Sculley was lured by Jobs away from Pepsi-Cola to become Apple’s CEO with the words ‘Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?’ Sculley was instrumental in Job’s exile from Apple but paid the following tribute to him on the announcement of his death (posted here):

Steve Jobs was intensely passionate at making an importance difference in the lives of his fellow humans while he was on this planet. He never was into money or measured his life through owning stuff.(…) Steve Jobs captured our imagination with his creativity. His legacy is far more than being the greatest CEO ever. A world leader is dead, but the lessons his leadership taught us lives on.

An authorised biography of Jobs is written by Walter Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time magazine, entitled Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography. Customer pre-purchases made this the number one bestseller on Amazon within hours of the announcement of Jobs’ death, simulating the publishing house Simon & Schuster to bring forward its publication by one month.