04 February 2012

Final Quote From Isaacson's Bio of Jobs

I've noted in this blog before that biography is a complicated art form. How to even begin telling a life?

With the subject's birth? Or is there some crucial context to set first? or should you, rather, start by talking about what makes this subject worth a biography? how to start doing that?

Isaacson begins with a discussion of "how this book came to be," wherein he discusses Jobs' solicitation of his services a biographer. Jobs began looking for someone to write his life's story only after Jobs became aware that his cancer was terminal. This allows Isaacson both to begin and to end the book with the consciousness of death.

Here is the ending:

He admitted that, as he faced death, he might be overestimating the odds [on a God] out of a desire to believe in an afterlife. "I like to think that something survives after you die," he said. "It's strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and then it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures."

He fell silent for a very long time. "But on the other hand, perhaps it's like an on-off switch," he said. "Click! And you're gone."

Then he paused again and smiled slightly. "Maybe that's why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices."

No comments:

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.