Steve Jobs shadow


A year without Steve.

Apple continues to thrive, but the world is still not the same without his inspiration. Certainly he inspired many lessons on the embrace of failure. One of the most recent was from Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer, CEO the Spiritual Capital Foundation which promotes spirituality in the workplace, on BBC2 morning ‘Pause for Thought’ piece shortly after Steve’s passing last year…

  • “There isn’t time for everything: the complexity of a human life. I just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s definitive biography of Steve Jobs. It’s riveting and I found it difficult to put down. Still, I wish I had never started it. Steve Jobs was a hero to many including myself. He built an extraordinary company and he was able to see the future in a way that few of his contemporaries and competitors could. And yet the Jobs that comes across in Isaacson’s authorized biography is anything but heroic. He comes across as vain, petty, vengeful, inconsiderate, and at times; deliberately cruel. He may have created extraordinary products but it’s said he also hurt many people along the way including his own family and closest friends. But then again, why must he be one or the other? Hero or villain? Why can’t he be both at the same time? We tend to see people in black in white when in reality we are all varying shades of grey. The Hebrew poet Yehudah Amichai expressed this idea beautifully in a poem based on the third chapter of Ecclesiastes:”

A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.
A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget…
And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.
He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shrivelled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.

Amichai’s poem not only embraces the many types failure which invariably counterbalance the positives life has for us, but it also provides a reverberating message on the balance of Leadership and Management. Neither one nor the other alone can move an organisation or a life forward.