Earlier this week the Federal Bureau of Investigation released the file it kept on Apple’s founder Steve Jobs. Although the decades old file still doesn’t have the explanation for the mystery of Jobs’ preference for the black turtleneck, the FBI has some secrets that perhaps many didn’t know.
The decades old FBI file counts 191 pages and is part of a background check ordered by the former U.S. President George H.W. Bush in 1991, when Jobs was considered for an appointment to the President’s Export Council.
The file comprises results of interviews with Jobs and people who knew him, and while his biography already covers most of his youth mistakes, the dialogues revealed there’s a side of Apple’s founder that didn’t oftentimes make it in the media. But, put aside the good or poor reviews, all those interviewed recommended Jobs to be the right person for the job.
Some said he was a “visionary and charismatic individual who was at the same time shallow and callous to the people in his personal relationships”, others talked about Jobs’ experiences with marijuana and LSD. Something that Jobs had already testified to, in his own interview with the Bureau. He said that from 1970 to 1974 he had experimented with marijuana, hashish and LSD.
The FBI report notes that “several sources questioned Mr. Jobs’s honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals”. One person actually “characterized Mr. Jobs as a deceptive individual who is not completely forthright and honest”.
Two of his former employees said that “Jobs possesses integrity as long as he gets his way”, while one said that he “alienated a lot of people at ACI as a result of his ambition”.
As much as such accounts are delicious to read, it’s really no surprise, in part because most of the events in his life are covered by his biography. And then in the dog eat dog business world, not being ambitious or leaving morality aside for a while can’t get you a long way. To be fair, if you start judging a businessman by how people felt about him, then what do you imagine Bill Gates’ or Donald Trump’s family, friends, employees and business partners have to say?