He was also a genius, as Isaacson makes clear through anecdotes, interviews, and clear-eyed analysis of Jobs’ life and career.
Given up for adoption by his Syrian father and American mother, Jobs grew up middle class in northern California. He displayed intelligence and defiance from an early age, traits that stretched into adulthood. Rules never applied to Jobs, which explains why his cars never had license plates, his personal hygiene was atrocious, and he often padded through high-level corporate meetings in bare feet.
Paul and Clara Jobs adopted Steve upon birth. Even after learning he had been adopted, Jobs considered Paul and Clara his true parents and never acknowledged or contacted his biological father even after learning his identity as an adult.
Paul Jobs was an inveterate tinkerer who restored cars and sold them as a side job. Though electronics captured Steve’s imagination from a young age, a sense of craftsmanship in everything Paul Jobs did also caught his eye.
“He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see,” Jobs said of his father, recalling a trait that any Apple engineer or designer could appreciate (and sometimes lament). Bevels, rounded edges, and all of the other perfectionist touches included in Apple products started with Jobs watching his father build fences, cabinets, and cars.
Jobs, like Gates, dropped out of college and never earned a degree. After dabbling in psychedelic drugs, communal life, and veganism at Reed College, Jobs decided he had no interest in pursuing a traditional course load.