According to a new Bloomberg interview with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the young Steve Jobs may have been inspired by Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, among other books, in his ambitions with Apple.
(at around 5:30)
INTERVIEWER: Steve, give us some insight into Steve Jobs’s personality and what it is about him that made him so ambitious and so driven to turn Apple around.
STEVE WOZNIAK: I can only speak to the early days. In the early days, he wanted to have a, you know, a success, and he wanted to be an important person in the world. And he wanted to do it by having a company that was successful and made money. And it sort of like evolved in those directions over time. He didn’t lose that part of his personality.
STEVE WOZNIAK: …And he did want to have a successful company, and he had a lot of ideas. He must’ve read some books that really were his guide in life, you know, and I think… Well, Atlas Shrugged might’ve been one of them that he mentioned back then. But they were his guides in life as to how you make a difference in the world. And it starts with a company. You build products and you gotta make your profit, and that allows you to invest the profit and then make better products that make more profit. I would say, how good a company is, it’s fair to measure it by its profitability.
If true, of course, Steve Jobs certainly wouldn’t be alone. Many entrepreneurs have been influenced by Ayn Rand’s novels to push for more entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s problems.
It sounds to me like Wozniak might be a bit of an Atlas Shrugged fan himself.
UPDATE – From Bob Maloney in a Facebook thread:
Mr. Jobs was at the same screening as I on opening night at Shoreline Theatres in Mtn. View a few months ago. I doubt he would have bothered to make it out to a busy opening night showing (especially as frail as he was) unless he was a fan of Atlas Shrugged.