Baby You're a Rich Man
Before and after he was rich, and indeed throughout a life that included being both broke and a billionaire, Steve Jobs's attitude toward wealth was complex.
He was an antimaterialistic hippie who capitalized on the inventions of a friend who wanted to give them away for free,
and he was a Zen devotee who made a pilgrimage to India and then decided that his calling was to create a business.
And yet somehow these attitudes seemed to weave together rather than conflict.
He had a great love for some material objects, especially those that were finely designed and crafted,
such as Porsche and Mercedes cars, Henckels knives and Braun appliances, BMW motorcycles and Ansel Adams prints, Bosendorfer pianos and Bang and Olufsen audio equipment.
Yet the houses he lived in, no matter how rich he became, tended not to be ostentatious and were furnished so simply they would have put a Shaker to shame.
Neither then nor later would he travel with an entourage, keep a personal staff, or even have security protection.
He bought a nice car, but always drove himself.
When Markkula asked Jobs to join him in buying a Lear jet, he declined (though he eventually would demand of Apple a Gulfstream to use).
Like his father, he could be flinty when bargaining with suppliers,
but he didn't allow a craving for profits to take precedence over his passion for building great products.
Thirty years after Apple went public, he reflected on what it was like to come into money suddenly:
I never worried about money.
I grew up in a middle-class family, so I never thought I would starve.
And I learned at Atari that I could be an okay engineer, so I always knew I could get by.
I was voluntarily poor when I was in college and India, and I lived a pretty simple life even when I was working.
So I went from fairly poor, which was wonderful, because I didn't have to worry about money, to being incredibly rich, when I also didn't have to worry about money.
I watched people at Apple who made a lot of money and felt they had to live differently.
Some of them bought a Rolls-Royce and various houses, each with a house manager and then someone to manage the house managers.
Their wives got plastic surgery and turned into these bizarre people.
That was not how I wanted to live. It's crazy.
I made a promise to myself that I'm not going to let this money ruin my life.