Books from Steve Jobs

1984

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick With extraordinary relevance and renewed popularity, George Orwell’s 1984 takes on new life in this edition. “Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily a way of changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power.”—The New Yorker In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be. Lionel Trilling said of Orwell’s masterpiece, “1984 is a profound, terrifying, and wholly fascinating book. It is a fantasy of the political future, and like any such fantasy, serves its author as a magnifying device for an examination of the present.” Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call for the individual willing to speak truth to power.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
Steve Jobs was also heavily influenced by George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 and used it as inspiration in Apple’s famed 1984 Super Bowl ad that first introduced the Macintosh Computer.
Books from Steve Jobs

Meetings with Remarkable Men

The exhilarating, life-affirming call to spiritual arms from world-renowned spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff'Gurdjieff's voice is heard as a call.He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live.He calls to us to open our eyes.He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are . . .'Part adventure narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual guide, Meetings with Remarkable Men is suffused with Gurdjieff's unique perspective on life. With vivacity and charm, he organizes his account around portraits of the remarkable men and women who accompanied him through remote parts of the Near East and Central Asia, and who aided his search for hidden knowledge. Among them are Gurdjieff's own father (a traditional bard), a Russian prince dedicated to the search for Truth, a Christian missionary who entered a World Brotherhood deep in Asia, and a woman who escaped slavery to become a trusted member of Gurdjieff's group of fellow seekers.Meetings with Remarkable Men conveys a haunting sense of what it means to live fully - with conscience, with purpose and with heart.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
On their personal spiritual journeys, Jobs and Kottke derived inspiration from others who had embarked on similar quests for knowledge. The second volume of the All and Everything trilogy, originally published in 1963, features the author's recounting of people he met during his travels across Central Asia.
Books from Steve Jobs

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

In this modern spiritual classic, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa highlights the commonest pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The universal tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement—the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. "The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use," he said, "even spirituality." His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for nearly thirty years, and remains fresh as ever today. This new edition includes a foreword by Chögyam Trungpa's son and lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
This book was among those that Kottke and Jobs read while exploring Buddhist religion and philosophy. It's a transcript of two lectures the author gave, between 1970 and 1971, on common traps in spiritual journeys.
Books from Steve Jobs

Ramakrishna and His Disciples

Excerpt: "This is the story of a phenomenon. I will begin by calling him simply that, rather than `holy man', `mystic', or `saint'; all emotive words with mixed associations which may attract some readers, repel others."
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
Kottke and Jobs' literary exploration also included this biography of the 19th-century Hindu saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, originally published in 1965.
Books from Steve Jobs

The Way Of The White Clouds

'It tells of terrible journeys, of men masked against the sun (riding through ethereal regions with their feet frozen), of welcoming fog-girt monasteries lit by butter lamps at the journey's end' New Statesman The Way of the White Clouds is the remarkable narrative of a pilgrimage which could not be made today. Lama Anagarika Govinda was among the last to journey through Tibet before its invasion by the Chinese. His unique account is not only a spectacular and gloriously poetic story of exploration and discovery, it is also invaluable for its sensitive and clearly presented interpretation of the Tibetan tradition.'Why is it that the fate of Tibet has found such a deep echo in the world? There can only be one answer: Tibet has become the symbol of all that present-day humanity is longing for' Lama Anagarika Govinda
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
Around the time they were beginning to explore Buddhism, Kottke said he and Jobs read this spiritual autobiography by a Buddhist who was one of the last foreigners to travel through Tibet before the Chinese invasion of 1950. Here the author recounts his experiences learning about Tibetan culture and tradition.
Books from Steve Jobs

Cosmic Consciousness

This classic book on mystical experience was originally published in 1901. Bucke's personal experience with divine illumination led to his theory that we are witnessing a continued psychical revolution of the individual. He believed that individuals like Buddha, Jesus, Spinoza, Whitman, and others were the forerunners of the beings who will eventually inhabit the earth.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
One of the most influential works on that list is "Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind," originally published by a Canadian psychiatrist in 1901.
Books from Steve Jobs

The Innovator's Dilemma

The" Innovator's Dilemma" demonstrates why outstanding companies that had their competitive antennae up, listened astutely to customers, and invested aggressively in new technologies still lost their market dominance. Drawing on patterns of innovation in a variety of industries, the author argues that good business practices can, nevertheless, weaken a great firm. He shows how truly important, breakthrough innovations are often initially rejected by customers that cannot currently use them, leading firms to allow their most important innovations to languish. Many companies now face the innovator's dilemma. Keeping close to customers is critical for current success. But long-term growth and profits depend upon a very different managerial formula. This book will help managers see the changes that may be coming their way and will show them how to respond for success. The Management of Innovation and Change Series. Dual Winner, The Best Business Book of 1997 and The Best Business "How-To" Book of 1997--The Financial Times/Booz-Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Awards "This book addresses a tough problem that most successful companies will face eventually. It's lucid, analytical-and scary."-- Dr. Andrew S. Grove, Chairman, Intel Corporation "The "Innovator's Dilemma" is absolutely brilliant." Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company's future success. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in business or entrepreneurship."--Michael R. Bloomberg, CEO and Founder, Bloomberg Financial Markets "Managers reading Professor Christensen's book may come away with a heightened sense of paranoia. They will benone the worse for that. The idea of the disruptive technology is a simple and powerful one. There may be one lurking near you."-- "Financial Times" -- "Christensen marshals so much data and analysis in support of his position that he makes a powerful case."--Context
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
It's important that we make this transformation, because of what Clayton Christensen calls "the innovator's dilemma," where people who invent something are usually the last ones to see past it, and we certainly don't want to be left behind.
Books from Steve Jobs

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few." So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it’s all about. An instant teaching on the first page. And that’s just the beginning. In the forty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern Zen classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page. It’s a book to come back to time and time again as an inspiration to practice, and it is now available to a new generation of seekers in this fortieth anniversary edition, with a new afterword by Shunryu Suzuki’s biographer, David Chadwick.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
"Zen has been a deep influence in my life ever since," Jobs told Isaacson. "At one point I was thinking about going to Japan and trying to get into the Eihei-ji monastery, but my spiritual adviser urged me to stay here (in California)."
Books from Steve Jobs

Autobiography of a Yogi

The autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 - 1952) details his search for a guru, during which he encountered many spiritual leaders and world-renowned scientists. When it was published in 1946 it was the first introduction of many westerners to yoga and meditation. The famous opera singer Amelita Galli-Curci said about the book: "Amazing, true stories of saints and masters of India, blended with priceless superphysical information-much needed to balance the Western material efficiency with Eastern spiritual efficiency-come from the vigorous pen of Paramhansa Yogananda, whose teachings my husband and myself have had the pleasure of studying for twenty years."
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
There was a copy there of "Autobiography of a Yogi" in English that a previous traveler had left, and I read it several times, because there was not a lot to do, and I walked around from village to village and recovered from my dysentery. Unlike the sickness, the book remained a major part of Jobs' life. He reread it every year.
Books from Steve Jobs

Diet for a Small Planet

The book that started a revolution in the way Americans eat The extraordinary book that taught America the social and personal significance of a new way of eating is still a complete guide for eating well in the twenty-first century. Sharing her personal evolution and how this groundbreaking book changed her own life, world-renowned food expert Frances Moore Lappé offers an all-new, even more fascinating philosophy on changing yourself—and the world—by changing the way you eat. The Diet for a Small Planet features:• simple rules for a healthy diet • streamlined, easy-to-use format • food combinations that make delicious, protein-rich meals without meat • indispensable kitchen hints—a comprehensive reference guide for planning and preparing meals and snacks • hundreds of wonderful recipes
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
In that first year at Reed, Jobs also read "Diet for a Small Planet," a book about protein-rich vegetarianism that went on to sell 3 million copies. It was a breakthrough. "That's when I pretty much swore off meat for good," Jobs told Isaacson.
Books from Steve Jobs

Be Here Now

"Now, though I am a beginner on the path, I have returned to the West for a time to work out karma or unfulfilled commitment. Part of this commitment is to share what I have learned with those of you who are on a similar journey. One can share a message through telling 'our-story' as I have just done, or through the teaching methods of yoga, or singing, or making love. Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom. For me, this story is but a vehicle for sharing with you the true message. . . the living faith in what is possible."—from Be Here Now In 1970, Ram Dass' Be Here Now became the counter-culture bible for thousands of young people seeking enlightenment in the midst of the darkness of Vietnam. It was a pioneering bridge, written in colloquial language, from the psychedelic 60s to eastern spirituality, and over the years has sold and continues to sell more than two million copies. Now in an e-book edition, Ram Dass' message is brought to life for a new generation of seekers. This will be a beautiful digital edition of this classic and enlightening book.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
In late 1972, Jobs had just started at Reed College, an elite liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon. He started taking LSD and reading lots of books about spirituality. "Be Here Now," a guide to meditation by Ram Dass, affected Jobs greatly. Born Richard Alpert, Dass offers an account of his encounters with South Asian metaphysics.
Books from Steve Jobs

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The Original Edition

The original and classic The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas is available once again, now with a brilliant new preface by Paul Muldoon. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas contains poems that Thomas personally decided best represented his work. A year before its publication Thomas died from swelling of the brain triggered by excessive drinking. (A piece of New Directions history: it was our founder James Laughlin who identified Thomas’ body at the morgue of St. Vincent’s Hospital.) Since its initial publication in 1953, this book has become the definitive edition of the poet’s work. Thomas wrote “Prologue” addressed to “my readers, the strangers” — an introduction in verse that was the last poem he would ever write. Also included are classics such as “And Death Shall Have No Dominion,” “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night,” and “Fern Hill” that have influenced generations of artists from Bob Dylan (who changed his last name from Zimmerman in honor of the poet), to John Lennon (The Beatles included Thomas’ portrait on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band); this collection even appears in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road when it is retrieved from the rubble of a bookshelf. And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and their clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again, Though lovers be lost love shall not: And death shall have no dominion. (From “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”)
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
But the intellectual flowering that Jobs had in late high school wasn't confined to hard-charging megalomaniacs — he also discovered a love for verse, particularly Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. "How To Think Like Steve Jobs" author Daniel Smith says that Thomas' poems "drew him in with its striking new forms and unerringly popular touch."
Books from Steve Jobs

Moby Dick

A literary classic that wasn't recognized for its merits until decades after its publication, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick tells the tale of a whaling ship and its crew, who are carried progressively further out to sea by the fiery Captain Ahab. Obsessed with killing the massive whale, which had previously bitten off Ahab's leg, the seasoned seafarer steers his ship to confront the creature, while the rest of the shipmates, including the young narrator, Ishmael, and the harpoon expert, Queequeg, must contend with their increasingly dire journey. The book invariably lands on any short list of the greatest American novels.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
Another epic story colored Jobs' outlook in his adolescence: "Moby Dick," the deeply American novel by Herman Melville. Isaacson draws a connection between Captain Ahab, who's one of the most driven and willful characters in literature, and Jobs. Ahab, like Jobs, did lots of his learning from direct experience, rather than relying on institutions.
Books from Steve Jobs

King Lear

King Lear, tragedy in five acts by William Shakespeare, written in 1605–06 and published in a quarto edition in 1608, evidently based on Shakespeare’s unrevised working papers. The text of the First Folio of 1623 often differs markedly from the quarto text and seemingly represents a theatrical revision done by the author with some cuts designed for shortened performance.
Steve Jobs
Entrepreneur
"I started to listen to music a whole lot," he told Isaacson, "and I started to read more outside of just science and technology — Shakespeare, Plato. I loved 'King Lear.'"