I’m grateful the Steve Jobs biography has been written. But it has me wondering: Do I need to take LSD to be more creative and perhaps more Jobs-like?
While reading the book, I found myself wondering if a life lived by Steve Jobs could be had if this book was used as a prescription for those of us aspiring to be technology leaders. It’s a fantastic glimpse into the mind of a genius and in many ways it serves as a reminder that even the smartest, most charismatic people walk a path very similar to the rest of us mere mortals.
I was also delighted with the openness Jobs had with Walter Isaacson (the author of the biography) and the encouragement he gave to his friends, competitors, employees to be candid when speaking about Apple and their relationship with Steve.
Despite his own acknowledged bad behaviour, Steve’s willingness to pursue excellence and push others to exceed their wildest best efforts is the mark of a truly great leader.
I knew that Steve took LSD, but I was surprised to read about the importance Steve attributed to the mind altering drug in his life and the lack of regret for using it.
Not counting the “acid bath process used when producing the aluminum Macs” reference there are 15 references to LSD in the biography.
For example, Steve recalls turning his girlfriend on to acid and in one instance, they had taken it in a wheat field just outside Sunnyvale. “It was great,” Steve said. “I had been listening to a lot of Bach. All of a sudden the wheat field was playing Bach. It was the most wonderful feeling of my life up to that point. I felt like the conductor of this symphony with Back coming through the wheat.”
That’s one heck of an endorsement for a dangerous drug, isn’t it?
Another reference was while Steve was playing Kriegspiel, a german variant of chess. The biography describes Steve and a friend “Tripping on acid during a lashing rainstorm sitting by the fireside.” Then this: ”While living with a girlfriend and another friend, they turned a small room into a space for meditating and dropping acid.”
Those we’re 60s though… so I figured Steve may be more reserved, perhaps even regretful about his drug use. It doesn’t appear so: In a recent quote Steve made while his biography was being written he had this to say about Bill Gates: “he would be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger…”
I wonder how many readers of Steve’s biography, who look up to and admire him, are considering how dropping acid can help them expand their mind, and be more creative? There’s no warning about the dangers of using the drug, and no references of regret that I could find.
So what’s wrong with a little mind alteration then, if it means it might help us better understand a man some would hope to emulate?
I’ve never tried LSD and I think of myself as a creative, out of the box thinker, not prone to peer pressure. But now Steve has me thinking… could I be even more creative and more open-minded if I dropped acid?
I’m sure I’ll never have the answer to this, but I wonder how many people have given it more than just a passing thought.
Have you read the biography of Steve Jobs? What are your thoughts on the subject of mind altering drugs and their potentially creative effects?