Steven Paul Jobs is best known for his technological advances and his impact on the modern world. Jobs’ experiences and beliefs were influential in gaining the legacy he holds to this day. Steve was an entrapanuer, hippie, and chairman of Pixar. Researching Steve Jobs unveiled the many endeavors he was involved in. What led Jobs to who we know him as today was in part, up-bringing, environment, and the gifts genetics gave him. Jobs’ journey is intriguing due to the obvious uncertainty he experienced throughout all stages of his life. In no way was there a clear path to success, but this struggle led him to being known as the pioneer of the personal computer. These circumstances show that Steve Jobs was a master of persuasion, career-obsessed, and emotionally insecure.
Steve Jobs’ biological mother gave birth to him on February 24, 1955 and he was later given up for adoption to a couple named Paul and Clara Jobs (Walters, 2011). Steve Jobs’s biological parents, Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, his father, was from Homs, Syria and was a doctoral candidate were a young, unmarried couple. The two of them both felt too young to get married and have a child. Schieble’s father was dying at the time she became pregnant and she did not want to cause him any additional sort of stress. Steve Jobs’ biological mother found a couple who were educated and financially well off, but right before the adoption papers were finalized that couple ended up adopting a different child.
Although Paul and Clara Jobs were not Steve’s biological mother’s original choice in parents, they promised Schieble they would make sure Steve would be sent to college. Paul and Clara Jobs were lower-middle class workers who did not attend college, which was a big concern for his biological mother, but their promise to Schieble would have to suffice. Paul and Clara also adopted Jobs’ sister, Patricia in 1957. Although Jobs’ parents were a lower-middle-class couple, they greatly supported their children, and later moved to the city of Santa Clara county, of the Bay area now known as Silicon Valley (Young, 1987).
Growing up around masters of electronics, mechanics, and engineers who worked on new inventions in their garages, led Jobs to have similar interests. Although Jobs was not the most popular kid in school, he had a few quality friends who play an even bigger part in his story later in his life. Teenage Steve was introduced to Steve Wozniak as a teenager who was an electronic wiz kid at the time. Wozniak later played a monumental part in Job’s career ventures. Steve Wozniak grew up in the same area as Jobs. Jobs was a hard individual to describe in high school, it was said he was both intellectual and a hippy, but not enough of each to be a part of the “nerd” clique or the “hippie” clique. Steve was described as an outsider, who never quite fit the socially constructed box. Steve’s senior year he was taking a freshman English class at Stanford and working on a film project at the same time. His two interests never made sense to most of his peers, but his interests in liberal arts and technology is what played a significant role in his future successes. Steve learned to love learning during this time as he was exposed to more than just technology.
Jobs also had a hard time getting along with his superiors. During his elementary years, Jobs was often in trouble with his teachers, and was even suspended multiple times. He resisted authority in any way he could find to. This shows Jobs’ insecurities in defying with those who in superior positions compared to him. His teachers tested his competency, and Jobs had a difficult time meeting the tasks in a traditional school setting. As Jobs reached high school he was given a wider variety of ways he could prove his intelligence to others as more freedom was given to him along with more flexibility in the way he was taught. With the restrictions of the traditional learning environment remedied, he began to flourish. Jobs was challenged with both technology and literature during his high school years. He discovered Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, read Moby Dick and took creative writing classes. (Young, 1987). Jobs experienced culture and began an interest in music and an appreciation for subjects other than science and technology (Walter, 2011). Jobs closest confidants at the time were Wozniak and his first girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan. This was a turning point for Jobs perspective on who he was and where he was going.
Steve was later interested in attending Reed college in Oregon (Walter, 2011). This was not an easy financial endeavor for Jobs parents, Paul and Clara, but they promised his biological mother they would send him to college. Jobs went to Reed college for one semester and then dropped out. Jobs was exposed to other interests such as eastern philosophy and Lysergic acid diethylamide or better known as LSD. He later moved to a hippie commune in Oregon where he spent most of his time cultivating apples. Jobs once told a reporter e about his experiences taking LSD and how it was, “one of the two or three most important things” he had done in his life. After a few months of trying to discover his true interests, he returned to California to look for a job. Jobs wanted to work so he could save up for a trip to India. He landed a job to work for the upcoming game maker, Atari. Jobs spent his time at Atari designing different video games as a part-time employee. After Jobs saved up enough money, he and a college friend went to India seeking “enlightenment”, and studied Zen Buddhism while they were there. Jobs found a true love for Zen Buddhism and much of his work was inspired from his time studying this eastern religion. He arrived back in California after his trip and began catching up with Wozniak’s new involvements in the electronics arena.
Jobs’ spirituality was something he carried throughout his entire life (Schlender, 2015). During his first trip to India Jobs experienced many new events, ideas, and philosophies. Jobs desired to search for something in his life that could help him focus and inspire him. Jobs attended religious festivals, had his head shaved by a guru, and read Yogandanda’s Autobiography of Yogi. Throughout his life, Jobs was committed to incorporating his spiritual life in congruence with his business career. Buddhism shaped Jobs’ intellectual interests as well as life philosophies. Many of the beliefs he adopted from the Buddhist community integrated into his business at Apple. In the Buddhism community, it is believed people are constantly becoming their best selves, this was something that Jobs was continuously doing. Although he tended to be extremely stubborn at times, he was always trying to adapt and try new ways of doing things. After his initial trip to India, he went back multiple times to seek clarity and enlightenment. Jobs also meditated religiously until him and his wife, Laurene had children. His time was limited to his business and family but he never forgot the important influence Buddhism beliefs and ideas had on him and his career. Jobs would schedule for a Buddhist monk named, Kobun Chino Otogawa to sit down with him once a week at Apple to guide him and support him in balancing spirituality and career. Every few months, Jobs and Otogawa would take meditation retreats together as well. Meditation helped Jobs in understanding how his mind worked, processed, and functioned. Jobs once said, “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is,” Jobs told Isaacson. “If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.” (Baer, 2015). Many of Steve’s designed were inspired by the simplicity and moving forward-thinking that Buddhism had taught Jobs.
Wozniak’s interests in electronics had grown stronger as time passed and he was involved in a computer hobbyists group called the Homebrew Computer Club (Markoff, 2011). Jobs saw Wozniak’s new involvement of high importance and believed this invention could lead to a successful business. Jobs persuaded Wozniak to start a company and Apple Computer was started on April 1, 1976 in Jobs garage. The name “Apple” came from the hippie commune he lived in after he dropped out of Reed college, called All One Farm commune, where he spent majority of his time on apple farms. As progress was being made, Wozniak and Jobs realized how monumental this invention could be and later got a $250,000 investment from Mike Markkula who believed their company could be one of the Fortune 500 in only a couple years. The two went on to invent Apple II that surged across the country with great success and made these two founders millionaires. Apple II was one of the first successful mass-produced computers during the time because of its convenient features, user-friendliness, and sleek design.
This journey led Jobs to naming his next computer Apple had built the Lisa computer in 1983. The name Lisa came from the baby his on again/off again high school ex-girlfriend, Chrisan Brennan, gave birth to. Although Steve Jobs denied being the father to Lisa but later named a computer after her. Sadly, even after a DNA test proved that Jobs was the father to Lisa, he refuses to take financial or emotional responsibility for his daughter. Jobs seemed to be confused and conflicted in what he wanted to share with the world, what he wanted to believe and what he thought was best for his business. This supports the claim he was emotionally insecure as he would not own up to his own child perhaps due to the fact he may have lost respect in the business world. Jobs also denied to give Brennan any money to help with the baby. Jobs had high hopes for the Lisa computer in the beginning. This revolutionary computer Lisa led Jobs to being in Forbes magazine at the young age of 23. Jobs was later forced to pay over $300 in child support every month to Chrisan even though he was worth millions. Steve Jobs struggled throughout his entire life with people he was close to and his relationships with them. Jobs was never close to his adoptive sister, Patricia, and came into confrontation with many of his co-workers. Jobs was an impressive business man, but an emotionally fleeting individual when it came to those close to him. These unbalanced relationships correlated with the relationship Jobs was never able to pursue: the non-existent relationship with his birth parents. Being adopted leaves many wondering why they were given up for adoption and set Jobs out to prove to his biological parents he had purpose. Jobs power-house personality in contrast with his unwillingness to show compassion at times illustrates this imbalance in his life.
Lisa and Jobs’ relationship was never quite clear (Brennan-Jobs, 2018). Lisa discusses how she would stay with Jobs some Wednesdays during her early teens while her mother, Chrisan Brennan was taking college courses. Lisa knew how much money her dad was making at the time, but he never discussed it. Jobs would pick Lisa up from her mother’s house in his black Porsche. The relationship Lisa and Jobs had, shows his self-righteous and dismissive personality. It appears he struggles with being vulnerable and transparent with his daughter, Lisa. Lisa wrote in her book, Small Fry, she once summoned the courage to ask her father if the computer Lisa, was named after her. He replied saying, “Nope.” His tone with her in this book was quite sharp and surface-based. This relationship proves Jobs’ many insecurities when it comes to allowing others to rely on him. Jobs’ lack of relationship with his biological father may have significantly affected his paternal abilities in being able to share his life with fully with Lisa.
Two years later, Steve Jobs was worth over $250 million (Dodds, 2017). This revenue was due to his involvement in Pixar Animation Studios. Jobs had purchased the company in 1986 from George Lucas (Staff, 2018). Jobs’ big hit was his involvement in the very first computer-animated film, “Toy Story”. This journey took Jobs over four years to reach success in 1996. Jobs had made a joined deal with Disney to get this project started. After this huge success, Jobs decided to take Pixar public the same year “Toy Story” was put on the big screens. This project made the company worth $1 billion which Jobs owned 80 percent of. This was the beginning of Jobs’ truly significant successes.
Jobs was eventually thrown out of the Lisa project due to his hard to deal with temperament and lack of knowledge in technology and management. Jobs decided to take over a smaller project called Macintosh, that was intended to be a cheap and personal computer. In 1981, Steve decided to make it a smaller and more affordable version of the Lisa computer. It took three years to develop Macintosh and was some of the most productive work he had accomplished during his career with Apple. It was soon realized the Lisa computer would not accomplish the success Apple needed, and the company began to put their effort and hopes into the Macintosh. The CEO at the time, John Sculley, was behind Steve’s ideas and was helping run the company.
During the Super Bowl of 1984, Apple released a monumental and memorable TV commercial. Steve also introduced Macintosh at the company’s annual shareholder meeting and the board was pleased with the excitement this product was causing. However, barely a year later, sales were plunging. Steve had put so much effort into this project, he refused to recognize the loss the Macintosh project was causing. Due to Steve’s refusal to acknowledge the loss this project was generating caused great strain on the company. This tension caused induced conflict between Steve and the CEO, John Sculley, who then did not communicate at all after being close friends in the beginning. Steve saw the relationship he had with Sculley, or lack thereof, was a problem and began attempting to persuade other executives Sculley was not an asset any longer. These executives Steve had confided in, took the issues to the board of directors whom decided that there would be a reorganization of the company. The board of directors found it would benefit Apple better to keep John Sculley on as CEO and for Steve to remain as chairman of the board, with no actual operation duties. This news did not sit well with Steve after all the energy he felt he had put into that project. Jobs decided to travel for four months and began thinking of novel ideas. This reinforces the fact Jobs resists any sort of authority that superiors may hold over him. With Steve being forced out of the day to day operation, he felt there was no way to compromise and decided to leave. Steve formulated a plan that required him to start a new computer company that focused on higher education with several other ex-Apple employees. Learning about Jobs’ plan, Apple threatened to sue him if he followed through with his plan. This shows Jobs believed the way he thought was the only way to think, he had to make his plan work and only his plan was the right plan. Even when things went wrong, Jobs refused to notice his failures which led to an uneasy relationship with his cohorts. By refusing to acknowledge his mistakes, the company decided they could not make the relationship with Jobs work. Jobs could not accept the position of chairman because of the power he would lose. Jobs decided to resign from Apple in September 1985, and continued with his plan and Apple dropped its lawsuit only a few months later. Jobs’ new design involved NeXT operating system.
In 1986, Steve’s adoptive mother, Clara, died of lung cancer. Jobs always felt a need and curiosity to learn about who his biological parents were but felt it would make Clara feel badly. This is what caused Jobs to have inconsistent relationships with his on and off again girlfriend Chrisan Brenna, and deny fatherhood to his daughter, Lisa. Never understanding where he came from and why he was given up for adoption led Jobs to feelings of uncomfortable uncertainty throughout his entire life. Jobs always stressed he did not like Clara and Paul being referred to as “adoptive” parents, they were always his true parents in his eyes. It is clear Jobs had a true love for his adoptive parents, but it also left him feeling this need to set extremely high expectations for himself. After his mother passed away, Steve talked to his dad, Paul, and received permission to search for his biological mother. After an extensive search, Steve discovered his biological mother, Schieble and met with her. His biological mother was extremely apologetic and seemed upset about what she had to do so many years ago. After meeting with Schieble, he also discovered Mona Simpson, his biological sister. Mona had the same biological parents as Jobs but, Schieble later re-married and Mona then took her step-father’s name, becoming Mona Simpson. Jobs also learned while meeting with Schieble that Mona was unaware she had a brother that was given up for adoption. After discussing how awful and regretful Schieble felt giving up Jobs for adoption she arranged a meeting for him and Mona to meet in New York where she worked. After a while of getting to know each other, Jobs and Mona began to grow as very close friends.
Jobs later discusses that, “Mona was not completely thrilled at first to have me in her life and have her mother so emotionally affectionate toward me…as we got to know each other, we became really good friends and she is my family. I don’t know what I’d do without her. I can’t imagine a better sister. My adopted sister, Patty, and I were never close.” (Walter, 2011).
Jobs’ never went to meet his biological father, although his biological sister, Mona did. Steve and Mona agreed that she would not unveil any information about Jobs and his current enterprises. Jobs never showed any interest in meeting his biological father. This is where Steve Jobs’ competitiveness, and stubbornness was rooted. An unfamiliar relationship that may lead to nothing more than disappointment from a man Jobs had never even met. If Steve met with his father he also risked disappointing his father, and it was something Jobs was unable to bring himself to (Walter, 2011).
Steve’s aim for his new endeavor was to achieve the highest possible standards that required the best hardware exclusively used by the military and universities at the time. This hardware system would be based off the system called UNIX which formed the computer’s operating system called, NeXTSTEP (Spector, 1985). The goal for this system made writing software much more quick and dependable. This computer project was called the NeXT Cube that launched in October of 1988. The NeXT cube was a fantastic machine that did everything it was supposed to, but it was overpriced. Jobs encountered two years of scarily low sales. During this part of Jobs’ journey, he met his wife Laurene and they got married in 1991 and had a son together, who they named Reed and later had two more daughters named Erin and Eve.
Apple announced in 1996 they would purchase NeXT for $427 million which brought Jobs back to the original company he had co-founded. Jobs began to focus on the profitability of the projects being run at Apple. Jobs decided to terminate multiple projects, leaving many Apple employees fearful of their careers. The largest focus was put on Macintosh and NeXTSTEP which emerged into Mac OS X. Steve directed the company during the design of the iMac which led to great success and even greater sales. Since then, Apple got a sense of what designs worked and how to continue branding themselves. Since then, Apple products have been a huge success. In 2000, Steve officially became the CEO of Apple (Norr, 2000).
After the announcement of his new title and role at Apple, the iPod was released as a portable music player along with the iTunes software and the iTunes store. This resulted in Apple leading the world in consumer electronics and music distribution that still holds authority today. Many of products invented by Apple have changed people’s world. Simply looking at a more simple and convenient way to communicate. Whether it is catching up with a relative in another country or a non-verbal individual being able to communicate his or her needs, these inventions changed everyone’s life. During the month of June in 2007, Apple entered the cellular phone arena and invented the iPhone. Jobs was noticed a lot during this time for his ability to persuade and sell. His skill at persuading those to join or help his ideas, was unquestionably good. This is when many of his cohorts began to feel intimidated by Jobs. Jobs was also known for being very close-minded and only thinking the way Jobs thought. Jobs was exposed to a variety of life, science, and culture. It was clear he was intelligent in multiple ways. However, Jobs lacked emotional intelligence and lacked the ability to own his failures and take the time to learn from others. This seemed especially true after his fame began to rise, as his beliefs that his thinking was the best way to think was reinforced.
Health issues begin to arise in Jobs’ life and in October of 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with cancer and less than a year later, announced he had a cancerous tumor in his pancreas to his employees (Evangelista, 2012). With pancreatic cancer, it is typically a very poor prognosis but he learned he had a less aggressive type of pancreatic cancer referred to as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor (Evangelista, 2004). Due to Jobs’ intense faith in alternative medicine, he refused western medicine treatment for his cancer which many doctors believe is what led him to an unnecessarily early death. This including a Harvard researcher Ramzi Amri and Barrie R. Cassileth the chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center‘s integrative medicine department, said, “Jobs’s faith in alternative medicine likely cost him his life…. He had the only kind of pancreatic cancer that is treatable and curable…. He essentially committed suicide” (Szabo, 2013). In addition to refusing westernized medicine including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, he also refused surgery. He later regretted refusing surgery as his health continued to decline regardless of the diet, juice cleanses, and any other alternative form of medicine he researched. In the absence of the company’s CEO, Tim Cook took over. Tim Cook had been the head of worldwide sales and operations at Apple.
Jobs was adamant on keeping his health as private as possible. During Jobs’ keynote speech at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the media began to speculate his health in a frenzy. Apple officials to stated Jobs was sick from a “common bug” and was on antibiotics. Some individuals began wondering if his thin and sickly appearance was due to his Whipple procedure, but it was clear Jobs wanted to keep his health very private even though many shareholders believed it was unfair to keep them in the dark. A Whipple procedure is a challenging procedure with the goal to remove the head of the pancreas (“Whipple procedure,” 2018). This procedure is also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy. This procedure is typically used to treat abnormal pancreases, pancreatic cancer, and to aid in tumor treatment. This surgery can be extremely complex and often time save lives. It was later stated by Jobs on an off-the-record conversation, it was indeed more serious than a “common bug” but it was not a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer or any type of cancer (Nocera, 2008). In August of 2008, a mistakenly published obituary of Jobs was released and had left blank spaces for his age and the cause of death. This caused a craze of rumors concerning Jobs’ health. Jobs continued to emphasize reports on his health were being fabricated and he refused to speak about his health in depth. The reason for Jobs’ secrecy during his health issues, is he did not want to appear weak in any way. Jobs was at a constant competition with himself and everyone around him to prove he was a success and no health scare could take him away from his future with Apple.
Later, Jobs came out to report he had been the victim of a “hormone imbalance” for several months and there is not much more to it ( “Apple’s Jobs admits poor health” , 2009). A year and a half later, in 2009, Steve wrote a memo to Apple saying he had recently, “learned that his health issues were more complex than I originally thought” (Szabo, 2013). After he released that memo, he announced a leave for a six-month period so he could have more time to focus on his health. Even in Jobs’ statements he would make, he would word them in a way that covered up the severity of his health. Referring to his health as more “complex” than severe or detrimental, was something he could not do. During this time, Tim Cook took over for Jobs, with Jobs being involved in “major strategic decisions” at the company. Jobs found out he needed a liver transplant for which acting CEO, Tim Cook offered a portion of his liver, but Jobs refused his offer. Again, Jobs is unable to accept any help, especially from those who hold power. Later that year in April, Jobs withstood a liver transplant and was left with a very good prognosis.
A year and a half after Jobs began working again after the liver transplant, Apple decided to announce Jobs was being given a medical leave of absence. Jobs sent out a letter to all employees just as he had done a year and a half ago. Tim Cook continued to run the day to day life of the company, as Jobs would be included in major decisions. Despite his leave of absence and concerning health, Jobs continued to appear at Apple’s big events such as the iPad 2 launch event and the introduction of iCloud. Shortly after, Jobs made the announcement that he would be resigning as Apple’s CEO and leaving the position to Tim Cook. Jobs mentioned to the board of the company that, “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.” (Letter from Steve Jobs To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community (resignation letter August 24, 2011). This shows Jobs dedication to his reputation at the company. Jobs never accepted how bad his health had worsened of the years. If Jobs allowed himself to come to terms with his bad health, he would no longer be able to focus on his role at Apple. Jobs became Chairman, as he continued to work for Apple until a day before he died, six weeks later. Jobs’ identity was made up his children, wife, sister, parents, and most significantly, his success’. I believe Jobs’ only identity that truly mattered to him, was his career. Jobs’ relationship with his career was obsessive and unhealthy. Many interpersonal relationships were torn due to his belief that he was his career, rather than his career being only a part of him. Jobs’ dissonance with career and family may have caused stress in his life subconsciously and negatively affected his health. Jobs never seemed to fully accept his health problems, in the perception of the public eye in this case. This was due to Jobs’ fears of being perceived as inferior or weak. Jobs’ health was avoided in any way he could find, and he typically refused westernized medicine. Jobs put too much weight on his own autonomy and felt he had to show superiority even when it came to his own health. By putting his health in the hands of an actual medical doctor, Jobs would have lost that autonomy.
Steve Jobs passed away at his home in California on October 5, 2011 which was reported to be due to a relapse of his pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (Evangelista, 2012). Jobs was surrounded by his wife, children, and sisters. He wanted to ensure that Apple would continue to succeed even after his death. Jobs hired the dean of the Yale School of Management to create ‘Apple University’, which aimed to recruit future Apple executives that would be able to be taught ways of doing business using Apple’s history. Jobs also wanted to ensure his legacy would be shared with the world after his passing by authorizing Walter Isaacson to write his biography that gave Isaacson inside perspective of his life and career. This proves Jobs unhealthy obsession with his career and what he had built. He had to ensure that even after he was gone and lost all his power in the company, that the choices he made would still be part of what happened at Apple long after his death. This was the one aspect of Jobs’ life that was filled with order and fully controlled by him for the majority of his story. Having a career where his thinking, his ideas, processes, and ways of persuasion were superior was what he had been reaching for all his life.
Jobs’ reached for significantly high goals his whole. Constantly becoming the best version of himself he could be. Jobs searched for his social needs for affiliation, throughout his career and finally became successful with the invention of the Macintosh. Jobs also met the social need of power by becoming the pioneer of the personal computer. The only aspect he was missing was intimacy. Jobs may have met this need later in life with his wife, Laureane and kids. Jobs’ difficulty with intimacy was something that challenged him his entire life due to his adoption and never meeting his biological father. This may have been the reason for his distant relationship with his first daughter, Lisa. However, Jobs’ legacy will continue to be a significant step in our world that is constantly changing and adapting to the new and improved technology. Jobs’ first success with the Macintosh personal computer sparked a new era.
In conclusion, Steve Jobs was much more than a technology pioneer. Steve was a father, a quick-tempered co-worker, hippie, nerd, and so many other things. Jobs spirituality aided in the sleek design and aim for many of his Apple inventions. Yet, his inability to put family first, affected many of his relationships. Jobs’ dissonance with career and family caused many of his health issues. Throughout his successes and failures, he was molded into the tough business man, husband, growing father, and CEO we remember him to be, today. Steve is an important figure that influenced today and will influence tomorrow.
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