Last night, I watched 60 Minutes, for the first time in more than a decade. Why? Because the episode featured Steve Jobs’ self-selected biographer, Walter Isaacson. As I said back in August, I was late to the Apple party, but I became a total convert long before I knew Mr. Jobs was ill with cancer, or owned non-Apple-wealth four times greater than Oprah, or anything about how iPads help autistic kids, his independent streak or rags-to-riches life. Had I known the full story, perhaps I’d have learned his lessons much sooner. How about you?
Yet, the 60 Minutes piece reminded us that Steve Jobs contributed more to the world in his 56 years than others contribute in seven or eight decades. A few lessons: Steve Jobs created because he loved the work; enjoyed wealth but didn’t chase money; although he didn’t give away his wealth to please his detractors, from nothing but thin air he created employment for thousands and billions in shareholder wealth. Good work was, for Steve Jobs, its own reward; he guarded his privacy instead of flaunting celebrity or politics. Yes, we all benefited from his contributions, whether we’re Apple geeks or Pixar freaks or not.
Perhaps he was not simply gifted with magical thinking, but as Walter Isaacson, his biographer claims, saddled with it as well. Sadly, in death Steve Jobs proved another truth: Health is the greatest wealth of all.
For these lessons and more, Thank you, Steve Jobs. Maybe, to pay our respects if for no other reason, each of us would be wise to commit to living a healthier life and seeking medical care when we need it. I’m off to the gym. What healthy habits are you starting today?