Cook, the son of a shipyard worker, was raised in Robertsdale, Alabama,
a small town between Mobile and Pensacola a half hour from the Gulf Coast.
He majored in industrial engineering at Auburn, got a business degree at Duke,
and for the next twelve years worked for IBM in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.
When Jobs interviewed him, he had recently taken a job at Compaq.
He had always been a very logical engineer,
and Compaq then seemed a more sensible career option, but he was snared by Jobs's aura.
"Five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple," he later said.
"My intuition told me that joining Apple would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for a creative genius."
And so he did. "Engineers are taught to make a decision analytically,
but there are times when relying on gut or intuition is most indispensable."