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His previous house had only a mattress, a table, and chairs.He needed things to be perfect, and it took time to figure out what perfect was.

He arrives at his hotel suite in New York for press interviews and decides, at 10 , that the piano needs to be repositioned, the strawberries are inadequate, and the flowers are all wrong: he wanted calla lilies. He insisted that the machinery on the 165-foot assembly line be configured to move the circuit boards from right to left as they got built, so that the process would look better to visitors who watched from the viewing gallery.”Isaacson begins with Jobs’s humble origins in Silicon Valley, the early triumph at Apple, and the humiliating ouster from the firm he created. Britain had plentiful supplies of coal, for instance. It had relatively high labor costs, which encouraged the search for labor-saving innovations.

(When his public-relations assistant returns, at midnight, with the right flowers, he tells her that her suit is “disgusting.”) “Machines and robots were painted and repainted as he compulsively revised his color scheme,” Isaacson writes, of the factory Jobs built, after founding Ne XT, in the late nineteen-eighties. He then charts the even greater triumphs at Pixar and at a resurgent Apple, when Jobs returns, in the late nineteen-nineties, and our natural expectation is that Jobs will emerge wiser and gentler from his tumultuous journey. In the hospital at the end of his life, he runs through sixty-seven nurses before he finds three he likes. He also hated the oxygen monitor they put on his finger. One of the great puzzles of the industrial revolution is why it began in England. In an article published earlier this year, however, the economists Ralf Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr focus on a different explanation: the role of Britain’s human-capital advantage—in particular, on a group they call “tweakers.” They believe that Britain dominated the industrial revolution because it had a far larger population of skilled engineers and artisans than its competitors: resourceful and creative men who took the signature inventions of the industrial age and from Lancashire, invented the spinning mule, which made possible the mechanization of cotton manufacture.

The first portable digital music players came out in 1996.

Apple introduced the i Pod, in 2001, because Jobs looked at the existing music players on the market and concluded that they “truly sucked.” Smart phones started coming out in the nineteen-nineties. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck this, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”Even within Apple, Jobs was known for taking credit for others’ ideas.

long after Steve Jobs got married, in 1991, he moved with his wife to a nineteen-thirties, Cotswolds-style house in old Palo Alto.

Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived.He looked at the title bars—the headers that run across the top of windows and documents—that his team of software developers had designed for the original Macintosh and decided he didn’t like them.He forced the developers to do another version, and then another, about twenty iterations in all, insisting on one tiny tweak after another, and when the developers protested that they had better things to do he shouted, “Can you imagine looking at that every day? It’s something we have to do right.”The famous Apple “Think Different” campaign came from Jobs’s advertising team at TBWAChiat Day.After looking at the first commercials for the i Pad, he tracked down the copywriter, James Vincent, and told him, “Your commercials suck.”“Well, what do you want? “You’ve not been able to tell me what you want.”“I don’t know,” Jobs said. Nothing you’ve shown me is even close.”Vincent argued back and suddenly Jobs went ballistic.“He just started screaming at me,” Vincent recalled.But the key moment, in the history of the mule, came a few years later, when there was a strike of cotton workers.