Soon after the death of Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs, I read Walter Isaacson's newly released biography, Steve Jobs. Once started, I found it difficult to stop reading (on my iPad) about this complicated man, and I regretted reaching the last page.
Whether one liked or disliked Steve Jobs, he is certainly one of the most talked-about leaders of our time. In his 56-year life, he founded and ultimately led a business organization to a commanding position in the world of technology. He assembled and led teams that produced some of the most admired technological products of our time: Mac Books, iPods, iPhones, iPads. Whole industries came into being because of him.
But Steve Jobs also had many critics. "He mistreated people." "He was ruthless in his business dealings." "He was vindictive." "He lacked compassion." And that's just the light stuff.
As I read about Steve Jobs, I dared to imagine a conversation with him in his office at Apple. A fantasy, of course, but a trigger for some sober thought.
We all know that Steve Jobs was not a professing Christian. While he respected Jesus, he walked away from Christianity at an early age—at least in its organized and doctrinal form.
So why write about him in a Christian journal? Answer: because his life yields valuable lessons, positive and negative, on the subject of leadership. It also highlights areas that Christian leaders can enlist to touch the souls of people like him.
The Steve Jobs biography reminded me of how many leaders are shaped by events in their earliest years (even days) of life.
Jobs, for example, was born to an unmarried couple who chose to give him up for adoption. The good news? The newborn child came to the home of a working class couple, Paul ...