Brennan spent a lot of her time that summer painting

Brennan spent a lot of her time that summer painting; she was talented, and she did a picture of a clown for Jobs that he kept on the wall. Jobs wrote poetry and played guitar. He could be brutally cold and rude to her at times, but he was also entrancing

 

and able to impose his will. “He was an enlightened being who was cruel,” she recalled. “That’s a strange combination.”

Midway through the summer, Jobs was almost killed when his red Fiat caught fire. He was driving on Skyline Boulevard in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a high school friend, Tim Brown, who looked back, saw flames coming from the engine, and

casually said to Jobs, “Pull over, your car is on fire.” Jobs did. His father, despite their arguments, drove out to the hills to tow the Fiat home.

In order to find a way to make money for a new car, Jobs got Wozniak to drive him to De Anza College to look on the help-wanted bulletin board. They discovered that the Westgate Shopping Center in San Jose was seeking college students who could

dress up in costumes and amuse the kids. So for $3 an hour, Jobs, Wozniak, and Brennan donned heavy full-body costumes and headgear to play Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit. Wozniak, in his earnest and

sweet way, found it fun. “I said, ‘I want to do it, it’s my chance, because I love children.’ I think Steve looked at it as a lousy job, but I looked at it as a fun

adventure.” Jobs did indeed find it a pain. “It was hot, the costumes were heavy, and after a while I felt like I wanted to smack some of the kids.” Patience was never one of his virtues.

Reed College

Seventeen years earlier, Jobs’s parents had made a pledge when they adopted him: He would go to college. So they had worked hard and saved dutifully for his college fund, which was modest but adequate by the time he graduated. But Jobs, becoming

ever more willful, did not make it easy. At first he toyed with not going to college at all. “I think I might have headed to New York if I didn’t go to college,” he recalled, musing on how different his world—and perhaps all of ours—might have been if he

had chosen that path. When his parents pushed him to go to college, he responded in a passive-aggressive way. He did not consider state schools, such as Berkeley,

where Woz then was, despite the fact that they were more affordable. Nor did he look at Stanford, just up the road and likely to offer a scholarship. “The kids who went to Stanford, they already knew what they wanted to do,

” he said. “They weren’

t really artistic. I wanted

something that was more

artistic and interesting.”

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The closest of those friends was another wispy

In late 1972, there was a fundamental shift happening in American campus life. The nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and the draft that accompanied it, was winding down. Political activism at colleges receded and in many late-night dorm

conversations was replaced by an interest in pathways to personal fulfillment. Jobs found himself deeply influenced by a variety of books on spirituality and enlightenment, most notably Be Here Now, a guide to meditation and the wonders of psychedelic drugs by Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert. “It was profound,” Jobs said. “It transformed me and many of my friends.”

The closest of those friends was another wispy-bearded freshman named Daniel Kottke, who met Jobs a week after they arrived at Reed and shared his interest in Zen, Dylan, and acid. Kottke, from a wealthy New York suburb, was smart but low-

octane, with a sweet flower-child demeanor made even mellower by his interest in Buddhism. That spiritual quest had caused him to eschew material possessions, but

he was nonetheless impressed by Jobs’s tape deck. “Steve had a TEAC reel-to-reel and massive quantities of Dylan bootlegs,” Kottke recalled. “He was both really cool and high-tech.”

Jobs started spending much of his time with Kottke and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Holmes, even after he insulted her at their first meeting by grilling her about how much money it would take to get her to have sex with another man. They hitchhiked to the coast together, engaged in the typical dorm raps about the meaning of life,

attended the love festivals at the local Hare Krishna temple, and went to the Zen center for free vegetarian meals. “It was a lot of fun,” said Kottke, “but also philosophical, and we took Zen very seriously.”

Jobs began sharing with Kottke other books, including Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, and Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Ch?gyam Trungpa. They created a

meditation room in the attic crawl space above Elizabeth Holmes’s room and fixed it up with Indian prints, a dhurrie rug, candles, incense, and meditation cushions. “There was a hatch in the ceiling leading to an attic which had a huge amount

of space,” Jobs said.

“We took psychedelic drugs

there sometimes, but mainly

we just meditated.”

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Jobs’s engagement with Eastern spirituality

Jobs’s engagement with Eastern spirituality, and especially Zen Buddhism, was not just some passing fancy or youthful dabbling. He embraced it with his typical intensity, and it became deeply ingrained in his personality. “Steve is very much Zen,” said Kottke. “It was a deep influence. You see it in his whole approach of stark,

minimalist aesthetics, intense focus.” Jobs also became deeply influenced by the emphasis that Buddhism places on intuition. “I began to realize that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and

intellectual logical analysis,” he later said. His intensity, however, made it difficult for him to achieve inner peace; his Zen awareness was not accompanied by an excess of calm, peace of mind, or interpersonal mellowness.

He and Kottke enjoyed playing a nineteenth-century German variant of chess called Kriegspiel, in which the players sit back-to-back; each has his own board and pieces and cannot see those of his opponent. A moderator informs them if a move they want to make is legal or illegal, and they have to try to figure out where their

opponent’s pieces are. “The wildest game I played with them was during a lashing rainstorm sitting by the fireside,” recalled Holmes, who served as moderator. “They were tripping on acid. They were moving so fast I could barely keep up with them.”

Another book that deeply influenced Jobs during his freshman year was Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé, which extolled the personal and planetary benefits of vegetarianism. “That’s when I swore off meat pretty much for good,” he

recalled. But the book also reinforced his tendency to embrace extreme diets, which included purges, fasts, or eating only one or two foods, such as carrots or apples, for weeks on end.

Jobs and Kottke became serious vegetarians during their freshman year. “Steve got into it even more than I did,” said Kottke. “He was living off Roman Meal cereal.”

They would go shopping at a farmers’ co-op, where Jobs would buy a box of cereal, which would last a week, and other bulk health food. “He would buy flats of dates and

almonds and lots of carrots, and he got a Champion juicer and we’d make carrot juice and carrot salads. There is a story about Steve turning orange from eating so many carrots,

and there is some truth to that.”

Friends remember

him having, at times,

a sunset-like orange hue.

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On Sunday evenings Jobs and Friedland would

On Sunday evenings Jobs and Friedland would go to the Hare Krishna temple on the western edge of Portland, often with Kottke and Holmes in tow. They would dance and sing songs at the top of their lungs. “We would work ourselves into an ecstatic

frenzy,” Holmes recalled. “Robert would go insane and dance like crazy. Steve was more subdued, as if he was embarrassed to let loose.” Then they would be treated to paper plates piled high with vegetarian food.

Friedland had stewardship of a 220-acre apple farm, about forty miles southwest of Portland, that was owned by an eccentric millionaire uncle from Switzerland named Marcel Müller. After Friedland became involved with Eastern spirituality, he turned it

into a commune called the All One Farm, and Jobs would spend weekends there with Kottke, Holmes, and like-minded seekers of enlightenment. The farm had a main house, a large barn, and a garden shed, where Kottke and Holmes slept. Jobs took on the task of pruning the Gravenstein apple trees. “Steve ran the apple

orchard,” said Friedland. “We were in the organic cider business. Steve’s job was to lead a crew of freaks to prune the orchard and whip it back into shape.”

Monks and disciples from the Hare Krishna temple would come and prepare vegetarian feasts redolent of cumin, coriander, and turmeric. “Steve would be starving when he arrived, and he would stuff himself,” Holmes recalled. “Then he

would go and purge. For years I thought he was bulimic. It was very upsetting, because we had gone to all that trouble of creating these feasts, and he couldn’t hold it down.”

Jobs was also beginning to have a little trouble stomaching Friedland’s cult leader style. “Perhaps he saw a little bit too much of Robert in himself,” said Kottke.

Although the commune was supposed to be a refuge from materialism, Friedland began operating it more as a business; his followers were told to chop and sell firewood, make apple presses and wood stoves, and engage in other commercial

endeavors for which they were not paid. One night Jobs slept under the table in the kitchen and was amused to notice that people kept coming in and stealing each other’s food from the refrigerator. Communal economics were not for him. “It started to get very materialistic,” Jobs recalled. “Everybody got the idea they were

working very hard for

Robert’s farm, and one

by one they started to leave.

I got pretty sick of it.”

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Many years later, after Friedland had become

Many years later, after Friedland had become a billionaire copper and gold mining executive—working out of Vancouver, Singapore, and Mongolia—I met him for drinks in New York. That evening I emailed Jobs and mentioned my encounter. He telephoned me from California within an hour and warned me against listening to

Friedland. He said that when Friedland was in trouble because of environmental abuses committed by some of his mines,

he had tried to contact Jobs to intervene with Bill Clinton, but Jobs had not responded. “Robert always portrayed himself as a

spiritual person, but he crossed the line from being charismatic to being a con man,” Jobs said. “It was a strange thing to have one of the spiritual people in your young life turn out to be, symbolically and in reality, a gold miner.”

. . . drop Out

Jobs quickly became bored with college. He liked being at Reed, just not taking the required classes. In fact he was surprised when he found out that, for all of its hippie aura, there were strict course requirements. When Wozniak came to visit, Jobs

waved his schedule at him and complained, “They are making me take all these courses.” Woz replied, “Yes, that’s what they do in college.” Jobs refused to go to the classes he was assigned and instead went to the ones he wanted, such as a dance

class where he could enjoy both the creativity and the chance to meet girls. “I would never have refused to take the courses you were supposed to, that’s a difference in our personality,” Wozniak marveled.

Jobs also began to feel guilty, he later said, about spending so much of his parents’ money on an education that did not seem worthwhile. “All of my working-class

parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition,” he recounted in a famous commencement address at Stanford. “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had

saved their entire life.

So I decided to drop out

and trust that it

would all work out okay.”

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He didn’t actually want to leave Reed; he just wanted

He didn’t actually want to leave Reed; he just wanted to quit paying tuition and taking classes that didn’t interest him. Remarkably, Reed tolerated that. “He had a very inquiring mind that was enormously attractive,” said the dean of students, Jack

Dudman. “He refused to accept automatically received truths, and he wanted to examine everything himself.” Dudman allowed Jobs to audit classes and stay with friends in the dorms even after he stopped paying tuition.

“The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting,” he said. Among them was a calligraphy class that appealed to him after he saw posters on campus

that were beautifully drawn. “I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”

It was yet another example of Jobs consciously positioning himself at the intersection of the arts and technology. In all of his products, technology would be married to great design, elegance, human touches, and even romance. He would be in the fore

of pushing friendly graphical user interfaces. The calligraphy course would become iconic in that regard. “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the

Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

In the meantime Jobs eked out a bohemian existence on the fringes of Reed. He went barefoot most of the time, wearing sandals when it snowed. Elizabeth Holmes made meals for him, trying to keep up with his obsessive diets. He returned soda

bottles for spare change, continued his treks to the free Sunday dinners at the Hare Krishna temple, and wore a down jacket in the heatless garage apartment he rented

for $20 a month. When he needed money, he found work at the psychology department lab maintaining the electronic equipment that was used for animal

behavior experiments.

Occasionally

Chrisann Brennan

would come to visit.

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Machines of Loving GraceIn San Francisco and

Machines of Loving GraceIn San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley during the late 1960s, various cultural currents flowed together. There was the technology revolution that began with the growth of military contractors and soon included electronics firms, microchip makers,

video game designers, and computer companies. There was a hacker subculture—filled with wireheads, phreakers, cyberpunks, hobbyists, and just plain geeks—that included engineers who didn’t conform to the HP mold and their kids who weren’t

attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions. There were quasi-academic groups doing studies on the effects of LSD; participants included Doug Engelbart of the Augmentation Research Center in Palo Alto, who later helped develop the computer mouse and graphical user interfaces, and Ken Kesey, who celebrated the drug with

music-and-light shows featuring a house band that became the Grateful Dead. There was the hippie movement, born out of the Bay Area’s beat generation, and the rebellious political activists, born out of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley.

Overlaid on it all were various self-fulfillment movements pursuing paths to personal enlightenment: Zen and Hinduism, meditation and yoga, primal scream and sensory deprivation, Esalen and est.

This fusion of flower power and processor power, enlightenment and technology, was embodied by Steve Jobs as he meditated in the mornings, audited physics classes at Stanford, worked nights at Atari, and dreamed of starting his own business.

“There was just something going on here,” he said, looking back at the time and place. “The best music came from here—the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin—and so did the integrated circuit, and things like the Whole Earth Catalog.”

Initially the technologists and the hippies did not interface well. Many in the counterculture saw computers as ominous and Orwellian, the province of the

Pentagon and the power structure. In The Myth of the Machine, the historian Lewis Mumford warned that computers were sucking away our freedom and destroying “life-enhancing values.” An injunction

on punch cards of the period—

“Do not fold, spindle or mutilate”

—became an ironic

phrase of the antiwar Left.

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years later revised his famous mBy far the most important

years later revised his famous mBy far the most important example of this involved the choice of a disk drive for the Macintosh. Apple had a corporate division that built mass-storage devices, and it had developed a disk-drive system, code-named Twiggy, that could read and write onto those

thin, delicate 5?-inch floppy disks that older readers (who also remember Twiggy the model) will recall. But by the time the Lisa was ready to ship in the spring of 1983, it was clear that the Twiggy was buggy. Because the Lisa also came with a hard-disk drive, this

was not a complete disaster. But the Mac had no hard disk, so it faced a crisis. “The Mac team was beginning to panic,” said Hertzfeld. “We were using a single Twiggy drive, and we didn’t have

a hard disk to fall back on.”antra to proclaim, “Turn on, boot up, jack in.” The musician Bono, who later became a friend of Jobs, often discussed with him why those immersed in the rock-drugs-rebel

counterculture of the Bay Area ended up helping to create the personal computer industry. “The people who invented the

twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently,” he said. “The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mind-set that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence.”

One person who encouraged the denizens of the counterculture to make common cause with the hackers was Stewart Brand. A puckish visionary who generated fun and ideas over many decades, Brand was a participant in one of the early sixties LSD studies in Palo Alto. He joined with his fellow subject Ken Kesey to produce the

acid-celebrating Trips Festival, appeared in the opening scene of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and worked with Doug Engelbart to create a seminal sound-and-light presentation of new technologies called the Mother of All Demos. “Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized

control,” Brand later noted. “But a tiny contingent—later called hackers—embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation. That turned out to be the true royal road to the future.”

Brand ran the Whole Earth Truck Store, which began as a roving truck that sold useful tools and educational materials, and in 1968 he decided to extend its reach with the Whole Earth Catalog. On its first cover was the famous picture of Earth

taken from space; its subtitle was “Access to Tools.” The underlying philosophy was that technology could be our friend. Brand wrote on the first page of the first edition, “A realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to

conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by the Whole Earth Catalog.” Buckminster Fuller followed with

a poem that began: “I see

God in the instruments

and mechanisms

that work reliably.”

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working prototype, just a crude model. Jobs thought it was great

working prototype, just a crude model. Jobs thought it was great, but Belleville was appalled. There was no way, he thought, that Alps could have it ready for the Mac within a year.

The final stop was the Sony factory, located in a drab suburb of Tokyo. To Jobs, it looked messy and inelegant. A lot of the work was done by hand. He hated it. Back at the hotel, Belleville argued for going with the Sony disk drive. It was ready to use. Jobs disagreed. He decided that they would work with Alps to produce their own drive, and he ordered Belleville to cease all work with Sony.

 

typewriter?” it asked. “If so, you might like to come to a gathering of people with like-minded interests.”

Allen Baum spotted the flyer on the HP bulletin board and called Wozniak, who agreed to go with him. “That night turned out to be one of the most important nights of my life,” Wozniak recalled. About thirty other people showed up, spilling out of

French’s open garage door, and they took turns describing their interests. Wozniak, who later admitted to being extremely nervous, said he liked “video games, pay movies for hotels, scientific calculator design, and TV terminal design,” according to

the minutes prepared by Moore. There was a demonstration of the new Altair, but more important to Wozniak was seeing the specification sheet for a microprocessor.

As he thought about the microprocessor—a chip that had an entire central processing unit on it—he had an insight. He had been designing a terminal, with a keyboard and monitor, that would connect to a distant minicomputer. Using a

microprocessor, he could put some of the capacity of the minicomputer inside the terminal itself, so it could become a small stand-alone computer on a desktop. It was an enduring idea:

keyboard, screen, and computer all in one integrated personal package. “This whole vision of a personal computer just popped into my head,” he said. “That night, I started to

sketch out on paper

what would later

become known

as the Apple I.”

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Veterans of the Mac team had learned that they could stand

Veterans of the Mac team had learned that they could stand up to Jobs. If they knew what they were talking about, he would tolerate the pushback, even admire it. By 1983 those most familiar with his reality distortion field had discovered

something further: They could, if necessary, just quietly disregard what he decreed. If they turned out to be right, he would appreciate their renegade attitude and willingness to ignore authority. After all, that’s what he did.

cultural mix that the catalog sought to celebrate. “Steve is right at the nexus of the counterculture and technology,” he said. “He got the notion of tools for human use.”

Brand’s catalog was published with the help of the Portola Institute, a foundation dedicated to the fledgling field of computer education. The foundation also helped launch the People’s Computer Company, which was not a company at all but a

newsletter and organization with the motto “Computer power to the people.” There were occasional Wednesday-night potluck dinners, and two of the regulars, Gordon French and Fred Moore, decided to create a more formal club where news about personal electronics could be shared.

They were energized by the arrival of the January 1975 issue of Popular Mechanics, which had on its cover the first personal computer kit, the Altair. The Altair wasn’t much—just a $495 pile of parts that had to be soldered to a board that would then do

little—but for hobbyists and hackers it heralded the dawn of a new era. Bill Gates and Paul Allen read the magazine and started working on a version of BASIC, an easy-to-use programming language, for the Altair. It also caught the attention of Jobs

and Wozniak. And when an Altair kit arrived at the People’s Computer Company, it became the centerpiece for the first meeting of the club that

French and Moore had

decided to launch.

The Homebrew

Computer Club

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