Who Is Your Steve Jobs?

The outpouring of emotion and great writing over the passing of Steve Jobs has been remarkable. As Randy Murray so eloquently put it, “He changed the trajectory of modern life and reshaped the entire future.” The feeling has been fairly universal, with an outpouring of emotion from geeks and the normal folk you wouldn’t expect to care or even realize what he created.

That said, it seems foolish to wait for the passing of those who have made an impact on our lives to say thank you, to acknowledge these strangers who shape our lives. And while Steve is clearly a universal loss, chances are that each and every one of us have someone who is likely lesser known, but who has directly changed the trajectory of our own life.

Anyone who has read this site for more than a week (yep, even this week) can probably figure that mine is Merlin Mann. That things like Inbox Zero, Time & Attention, Obsession x Voice, both of his Mac Power User episodes and his weekly Back to Work podcast have done more than help me find a framework for getting my shit straight. His work has encouraged me to really figure out what matters, to “make the time to be scared of more interesting things,” to attempt and to do more.

Merlin, chances are you’ll never read this, but thank you. You give an ADHD mess such as myself both hope and a path forward (strange as it may be).

As for the rest of you, a simple question: who is your own personal Steve Jobs? Who is the person you’ve never met (and probably never will) who somehow managed to change your life?

4 Responses to Who Is Your Steve Jobs?

  1. Michael,

    I’m still thinking about you picking at a scab and the ugly scenario Bill painted. Egads.

    I don’t have my own personal Steve Jobs, but I do have a nice little mixed bag of people that inspire, or or have inspired me. A few come to mind right away, Carl Sagan, George Carlin, Julia Child and Tim Russert. I miss these people. I loved what they did and thought they were amazing people each in their own way. I never get sick of a good Carlin bit.

    Now for people who are still living, I’m a huge fan of comedian Louis C.K., but also like to read Eckhart Tolle. Yes, I’ll admit I got wind of this guy through Oprah, although I don’t ever watch Opera, I swear. Really.

    I think Kurt Vonnegut was brilliant (oh, he’s not with us any longer either) and an amazing writer. I get inspired rereading some of his books. His one of my favorites. The books aren’t exactly enlightening, but there is a bit of creative inspiration there. Well, more than a bit.

    I do have to check out Merlin. I know of him, but have never dug into his site. If there is an organizational wizard though, you would know. Thanks, Michael.

    • Yeah, it’s always nice, yet worrisome when Bill gets going :)

      Love Louis CK! Havent watched enough of his show. The guy has a great world view. Haven read any of Tolle, and no worries on Oprah here. I’d jump in a heartbeat if she ever wanted to feature Honora’s stuff!

      Great list of those who are gone, especially Vonnegut. Still wish my high school yearbook read “And so on…”. That was a missed opportunity. Just re-read Mother Night recently, so good.

      Merlin is interesting. He is one of those guys who will appeal to you instantly or repel you utterly. Inbox Zero tends to be the great easing in point for his work (and is the most popular). Let me know what you think and I’m off to check out Tolle!

      • Never miss Louie … even converted the wife. Now she loves it. Tolle would be a complete 180 from Mr. CK, but I love his book, “The Power of Now.”

        Yes, all Vonnegut’s stuff is great. Always want to know more about the Tralfamadorians :)

        I’ll check Merlin out. Thanks!

  2. […] Merlin’s a hero of mine. He’s a fellow card-carrying member of the ADHD club and over years has created a body of work that inspires other ADHD messes (and probably a few of you regular folk) to find better ways to do better work. […]

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