The new Steve Jobs biography is an absorbing read, not least of all because it paints a fascinating picture of a flawed and complex man – a man who also happened to almost single-handedly reinvigorate Apple into becoming one of the world’s biggest and richest companies.

The best parts of the book, for me, were the continual threads about

1) how focused Jobs could be , and what this meant for the things he wasn’t focusing  on

2) how much he viewed the world as polarised: everything he encountered was either the best or worst he’d seen/heard/tasted.

It got me thinking. Is a person great if they’re great at one or two things, like Jobs was?

By his own admission, based on point 1) above, Jobs didn’t focus on his children as much as he would have liked – so by using his outlook from point 2), he was the worst parent in the world.

But his focus did result in these fantastic products (which I love) which have helped millions of people live better lives. Is that any consolation for his children, who just wanted him to be around more?

Is it better for all of us that Jobs wasn’t a good dad? Does that still make him great? What would I do if I was in the same situation? Are the lives of millions of people I don’t know more important than the lives of a handful of people I do?

I don’t know the answers to these questions; it’s a very good biography that gets me to think about them.


Mr Handy Wood

Great names are two-word poems. They deserve a wider audience than merely those who know them.

It’s why I’ve created a new Twitter feed to share them around.

But I’ll need your help: anytime you find a good name, please use the magic of Twitter to bring it to my attention.

Either use the hashtags #greatnames or #namecurator, or tell me directly via @namecurator. It needs to be verifiable; ie not a ‘my friend’s dad name is Such And-Such’ – it needs to be a link!

I’ve cobbled together the first three that will go out:

Windell Admaker (aka Wendell Amaker), New York construction worker: [ed. note: *sigh*. Damn you, correction]

Handy Wood, Pennsylvanian flasher

Kiki Wolfkill, video game developer (courtesy Isaac Forman)