As a longstanding Apple fanboy (circa 1989), I have been following the outpouring of love and affection for Steve Jobs with great interest.

I watched the 60 Minutes interview with Steve Jobs’ biographer last night (video here), and I was aghast at something I learned: After Jobs learned of his pancreatic cancer, he delayed surgery by 9 months.

That decision was met with a massive push back from his friends and family. It was horrifyingly bad judgment. And, it likely cost him his life. He came to realize this towards the end of his life, according to his biographer.

Consider the immense fortuity of what had come before that. An unusual MRI for a stomach issue reveals   a shadow on his pancreas. That’s simply dumb luck. And the biopsy determines its islet, not ductile pancreatic cancer. (the rarer, curable kind of pancreatic cancer). That’s even more dumb luck. Then the patient delayed surgery for nearly a year. That’s just dumb.

I don’t know what the thought process was. Hubris? Arrogance? Magical thinking, as Jobs’ biographer called it. Whatever the reason, it very likely was a fatal decision. Had Jobs had the surgery immediately, he most likely would still be alive today — and in good health.

And that’s a great tragedy.

>

Further reading:

• Steve Jobs Succumbs to Alternative Medicine (Skeptic Blog)
• Steve Jobs’ cancer and pushing the limits of science-based medicine (Science Based Medicine)

Category: Technology, UnScience

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

53 Responses to “The Tragedy of Steve Jobs”

  1. petessake says:

    I suspect his decision was a result of the dearth of knowledge of biological and chemical science that inflicts too many of his generation and the younger crowd. Humans fundamental nature is being biological, physiological, and even chemical beings – not being cyber beings or anything else. Unfortunately now too many neglect this simple, truthful premise when just a century ago good health was never taken for granted.

  2. MikeW says:

    Indeed, Barry. I had no idea of this myself until seeing the 60 Minutes interview last night. Remarkable that someone so smart would hold off surgery like that. Jobs said something at the time about ‘not being ready’ to have his body opened. Who ever really is? One just does what is necessary in a case like that.

  3. minimumnz says:

    @petessake There was plenty of evidence to support the surgery recommendation, there was NO evidence support the decision he made.

  4. Rouleur says:

    …ok, so he was diagnosed…hindsight is 20/20…in any case, i think he believed in magic, worked before…until it didn’t…”Outliers”

    ~~~

    BR: Very fortuitous early diagnosis, which was unfortunately ignored.

  5. squire says:

    Not that surprising for some one who lived and became very successful on the assumption that he knew better then everyone around him.
    He was right for along time too.
    Eventually however…

  6. joe in flyover says:

    I suspect his decision was based on the fact that the overwhelming cases of cancer patients who undergo the grueling process of “treatment” are often in a state of pain and misery. This is usually followed by the inevitable period of latent recovery that lasts a few months – maybe even a few years – before the cancer returns with a vengeance to finish the job.

    It was in the pancreas – game over.

    ~~~

    BR: You misunderstood the luck involved — Jobs got the “good” (if you can use that word) pancreatic cancer, and it was detected early enough to be treatable.

  7. ook_boo says:

    Not so simple, unfortunately. Someone close to me recently died of cancer. Although there are many factors, a treatment is considered “successful” is if you’re still alive 5 years later. Jobs was alive several years after his original diagnosis, when he was originally told he had months to live. By medical standards then, Jobs’ approach was wildly successful.
    Chemo usually does nothing except make your last months on earth a living hell, with a possible extension of a few months. People tend to think far too highly of the abilities of doctors to fix things.

  8. new-to-the-scene says:

    Squandered a perfectly good donated liver, too.

    Arrogant, selfish, elitist.

    And dumb.

  9. Greg0658 says:

    thanks missed it – football time bump .. I saw some of the clips on CBS-SundayMorn’g .. which the restaurant father aspect came out .. launched search found this article (30th August 2011) a wow picture of “Frail: Steve Jobs was seen on Friday being helped by a friend in Palo Alto” (not seen by me maybe you folks did)
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031575/Steve-Jobs-biological-father-speaks-yearning-meet-son.html

  10. mitchw says:

    What’s so strange? Jehovah’s witnesses, christian scientists, don’t just do what the doctor tells them either. So Jobs treated himself with fruit. But it does make the Apple logo take on a different meaning.

  11. hue says:

    the same arrogance and magical thinking that created Apple and istuff also lead him to think he could treat cancer with alternative medicine.

    another surprise is that Jobs made more money as an investor, his stake in Disney/Pixar is twice his slice in Apple http://yhoo.it/sxn8h6

  12. InterestedObserver says:

    I’ve been making my way through Isaacson’s book, saw the 60 Minutes piece, but also recall a lot of the distant background covered in Fire in the Valley by Freiberger and Swaine.

    Jobs is no different than most of us: his greatest strengths were the seeds of his most profound weaknesses, and he pushed the envelop on both sides of that equation. He did great things, and monsterous things as well. Jobs was a collection of incongruities – simply look at how he generally conducted himself versus his seeming embrace of Eastern spiritualism and Buddhism. The Middle Path was not one that he seemed to followed.

    Sometimes we’re a little too forgiving of the dark side when there are many examples of positive out there, and there was certainly plenty of positive left by Jobs’ path.

    ~~~

    BR: Interesting and sage observations . . .

  13. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Never second guess or criticize a person when it comes to making decisions about their own mortality. If you’re not lucky enough to have a quick and relatively painless death, you’ll get your own chance, up close and personal, for sure.

  14. Mike in Nola says:

    Surprised that this is a surprise now. It was publicized when he had his liver transplant. The same personality traits that made him a success killed him.

  15. mark says:

    “it likely cost him his life”

    1. You can’t know that.
    2. It is simply not knowable.
    3. “Pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis: for all stages combined, the 1- and 5-year relative survival rates are 25% and 6%, respectively.”

    Sometimes, cancer treatment can negatively affect what little quality of life one has left while promising little gain in terms of length of life. Many people are willing to undergo any treatment no matter how difficult or painful in the hope of being on the far end of the probability distribution. Some are not. Some make a choice and then change their minds. I don’t think we have either the information or the right to question Jobs’ choices.

  16. Mark

    Read the two posts by Science Based Medicine — (Steve Jobs Succumbs to Alternative Medicine) and (Steve Jobs’ cancer and pushing the limits of science-based medicine)

    To respond to your 3 bullet points (my answers in italics):

    1. You can’t know that. While we cannot know anything with 100% certainty, we can draw reasonable inferences of high probability outcomes. The Science suggests a much improved prognosis with immediate surgery following such an early detection.

    2. It is simply not knowable: Again, that epistemological statement about our scope of knowledge is incorrect. We have a scope of understanding, and early detection of islet cell carcinoma (not the more deadly type of) pancreatic cancer is within that.

    3. “Pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis: for all stages combined, the 1- and 5-year relative survival rates are 25% and 6%, respectively.” You are conflating both the deadlier and the survivable type into one statistic. As noted in the SBM discussion, there are two types of pancreatic cancer — jobs had islet cell carcinoma, which is the more survivable type.

  17. digistar says:

    I read somewhere that even this “survivable” form of pancreatic cancer is only so in the sense suggested by ook_boo, above. Surviving, on average, means dying five years after the diagnosis/surgery. So, Steve made it longer than average. He was “lucky”.

    A college friend of mine came by to see me after maybe a ten year absence. We had a great reunion talk, I saw him in a store a few weeks later, looking good, and a month or two later his obituary was in the paper. Snuffed out by the more common form of that cancer.

  18. bear_in_mind says:

    It’s true, it’s a shame we lost him so young. The fact is, we don’t know what he was told by the doctors when he was first diagnosed. It’s been reported he was being examined for suspected kidney stones when they discovered the mass on his pancreas. It’s also been reported was told that islet-type cancer was “slow growing.” Maybe he bargained that gave him some extra time to explore alternatives.

    While I likely would not have made the same choice, there was/is no guarantee that if he’d immediately had the surgery, he’d still be alive. The odds of extending his life might have been higher, but there’s no certainty with cancer.

    Look, it’s not like he curled-up and quit living. He underwent the radical “Whipple procedure” in 2004, then fought cancer another 7 years, including a liver transplant. And helped redefine the direction of technology and several industries in those last 7 years.

  19. Jojo says:

    Maybe it was karmic retribution for his being such an arrogant, confrontational, bullying asshole? Like with his belief that “he” could do whatever he wanted, such as not have a license plate on his car or park in handicapped spaces whenever he felt like it (as told on the 60 minutes interview)?

    I was never a fan of Jobs but after watching that 60 minute piece, I am even less of a fan (if that be possible).

    Can we just forget him? He’s dead.

  20. Most pancreatic cancers are aggressive and always terminal, but Steve was lucky (if you can call it that) and had a rare form called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which is actually quite treatable with excellent survival rates — if caught soon enough. The median survival is about a decade, but it depends on how soon it’s removed surgically. Steve caught his very early, and should have expected to survive much longer than a decade. Unfortunately Steve relied on a diet instead of early surgery. There is no evidence that diet has any effect on islet cell carcinoma. As he dieted for nine months, the tumor progressed, and took him from the high end to the low end of the survival rate.

    Oct 06 2011

  21. Lyle says:

    If you combine the ideas in Job’s commencement speech at Stanford, about death being the way the human race refreshes himself, with his feeling that he would die young it sort of makes sense that he tried the alternative route. Other things suggest that his belief in an early death lead him to push harder to utilize the time that he had to the max.

  22. drocto says:

    People with strongly held views who repeatedly take risks and ‘win’ often come to belief in the near infallability of all of their views, whether those views were integral to their success or not. They also become increasingly rigid and dismiss others’ opinions. Steve Jobs was set up for this. His drive and his determination and his creativity resulted in huge success and the adoration of millions. This left him vulnerable when faced with a situation that cannot be addressed using the tools he’d ‘won’ with during his life.

  23. wunsacon says:

    I didn’t know those things, Jojo. Combining those tidbits with Jobs’ participation in back-dating options isn’t very flattering.

    And what was with Jobs’ over-the-top complaint about Google “stealing” intellectual property? Heh. Jobs would know. And now Apple goes around preventing competition (e.g., Samsung) as best they can. (How is someone supposed to build another tablet that doesn’t look like someone else’s? Consumers essentially want the entire front face to be an LCD screen. Leaves little design choice for the remaining front-face real estate.)

  24. Liquidity Trader says:

    Same kind of bad thinking leads to parents blaming their kids autism on vaccines.

    Thanks for the links to Science Based Medicine — very emlightening.

  25. dougc says:

    It looks like there is a cult worshipping Jobs, personally I prefer the church of Einstein. I prefer substance over glitz. Greatness is lasting, in 100 years no one will remember JOBS.
    The important people in computers are the men that invented the transistor and engineered a method to put them on chips.
    Steve Jobs simply turned a Blackberry into an entertainment device and made a lot of money from it. My first computer was a Mac, enjoyed the ease of use but the technology was taken from XEROX and their research center in Palo Alto.

  26. Raleighwood says:

    His decision didn’t surprise me – I just felt sorry for his kids.

    Maybe he wasn’t ready “to have his body opened” – but were his kids ready to see him die?

    Selfish.

  27. TLH says:

    The thought prcess is called denial. It is pervasive in the handling of life.

  28. mathman says:

    i see and hear more and more of this “life snuffed out before it’s time” evidence. Yesterday a 30 y.o. active (capt. of the co. softball team, e.g.) guy my wife works with told her he went to the doctor to find out why his recent chest cold/cough was so hard to get rid of; doc sent him to get x-rayed/mri’ed only to find he’s in stage 3 of lymphoma and it’s in his lungs. He’ll be gone before spring and two weeks ago had no symptoms of anything whatsoever and felt perfectly fine.

    gyad!

  29. mathman says:

    sorry for the add-on, but i forgot to include this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-barry-kaufman/psychedelics-open-the-min_b_1004316.html

    it mentions Jobs in the opening saying “doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.” He even remarked that Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once”!

  30. A friend emailed me privately about this discussion, and he was surprised I posted it. He asked why.

    I frequently describe investing as making challenging decisions on the basis of incomplete and imperfect information. Its about high probability plays.

    In some ways, medical decisions are about making similar judgements with incomplete or imperfect information. Similarly, they can also be probability plays.

    Perhaps my recent birthday has me thinking of these things, and Jobs loss of my on mortality

  31. ToNYC says:

    Steve was a hero; the tragedy is believing in the current paradigm of a fail human health delivery system.
    Our immune system is daily dealing with environmental, species-specific, synthetic poisons, like styrofoam for instance. A snapshot of a longer-term cellular issue that remains little-understood may capture some drama and a call to the only-so smart humans. It could be on some occasions this may be inappropriate, no one has done that study. There is no $$ADD$$ in it as it turns out. Call what you like a tragedy. I was taught and believe a classic tragedy that the a guy with his A-game doing the great deed, then crashing because of mostly Pride or at least one of the seven classic deadlies.
    As for Steve having no fear of what else was going on in his head and finding modern solutions, what tragedy? He lived the life of a brave adventurer in technology and a true exponent of what H.M. McLuhan was calling out by 1951.
    His tragedy and that lots of his buds share is suffering old school fools.

  32. anniecat says:

    His “reality distortion field” ultimately lead to his death.

    Dan Lyons at The Daily Beast summed it up my thoughts on Jobs best…
    “Isaacson says Jobs told him one reason he wanted to have a biography written was so that his children would know him. He said he hadn’t been around much for his kids, and he wanted them to understand why that was. This must be one of the saddest things I have ever read. The picture here is of a brilliant, successful yet amazingly narrow, limited, and ungenerous man, who, even as he was dying, could not let go of his desire to outdo his enemies and could not imagine anything more fulfilling to do with his limited time on earth than building more new gadgets and gizmos, a man who put work ahead of his family and was often appallingly hurtful to the people closest to him. He was, in other words, a man of his time, a symbol of all that is great and all that is wrong with our culture.”

  33. Petey Wheatstraw Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Never second guess or criticize a person when it comes to making decisions about their own mortality. If you’re not lucky enough to have a quick and relatively painless death, you’ll get your own chance, up close and personal, for sure.
    ~~

    “…His tragedy and that lots of his buds share is suffering old school fools…”–ToNYC, above

    ~~

    We may care to be careful..that our ‘understanding’–the explanation of– Jobs’ decisions, isn’t turned into Grade A pro-”Cancer Inc.”-agitprop..

    this is, afterall, the ‘perfect’ Month for it..

    http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/

    “…Pinkwashing has reached a new low this year with Promise Me, a perfume commissioned by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Promise Me contains chemicals not listed in the ingredients that: a) are regulated as toxic and hazardous, b) have not been adequately evaluated for human safety, and c) have demonstrated negative health effects…”

    http://search.yippy.com/search?query=Cancer+Inc.&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty

    interesting ‘Results Clouds’, here http://search.yippy.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus-ns-aaf&v%3Aproject=clusty&query=Cancer+Industrial+Complex

    LSS: Prevention begins with Food & Drink — Nutrition, to aid your Immune System, for starters..

    “Food is the first Drug”

    “Start your Immune System, Stop Cancers”

    but, hey, it’s your Choice, make sure that you start with the, utmost, conviction that the MSM will give you “All the News, That’s Fit to Print”..

  34. econimonium says:

    I am more circumspect in my opinion of Jobs than most, being in tech since the late 1988 and actually knowing people who worked with the man. I don’t think anyone I’ve ever known who has, has come away (privately) saying anything very nice about him. It seems those people who didn’t know him have more kind things to say than people who did. And he write a book so his kids would know him? Really? All this outpouring of “affection” for a complete jerk who’s values run counter to what most normal people consider to be your greatest legacy, your children?

    And stop with the “genius” crap too. The man wasn’t a “genius” unless you think that using what other people think up in a great marketing wrapper is “genius”. It’s canny, savvy, etc but I’ll save “genius” for the people who actually developed the Apple ideas in the first place. And none of it came from Jobs, he just wrapped it.

    Again, don’t get me wrong he was a great CEO for his company so far. But if time isn’t kind to Apple from this point forward then he will be a failure for micro-managing so much that he left a company with no leaders to take his place. Because, in the end, that’s what a CEO should be doing. Not just obsessing over every detail.

  35. mark says:

    “You are conflating both the deadlier and the survivable type into one statistic. As noted in the SBM discussion, there are two types of pancreatic cancer — jobs had islet cell carcinoma, which is the more survivable type. “

    Absolutely true and I was incorrect on that point. But my other points remain valid (from the SBD article):

    “So, is it possible, even likely, that Jobs compromised his chances of survival? Yes. Is it definite that he did? No, it’s not, at least it’s not anywhere as definite as Dunning makes it sound. In fact, based on statistics alone, it’s unlikely that a mere nine months took Jobs “from the high end to the low end of the survival rate,” as Dunning puts it.”

    Would I have had the surgery right away? Probably. But with an N= 1, one can never know if it would have made a difference either way.

  36. budhak0n says:

    Nice doesn’t pay the bills.

    Too close to home folks. Lost my mother under similar circumstances.
    As her son, I can tell you, that for a while I held it against her for not fighting more. but that is so unbelievably selfish at heart.

    What can I say? I was her child.

    I guess we “could” try to apply this mode of thinking to larger issues but that would just seem like a ham handed attempt to just “spin” it some more.

    At some point, whether we agree or disagree ideologically, we’re all going to have to accept that we’re the products of those who have come before us. And that really applies when thinking about how to address things moving forward. Simply stating your discontent without a plan in place leads nowhere. I know. As does Spitzer and a myriad of others, we’ve tried it.

    The Past is the past.

    Love it for what it was. Beautiful , unapologetic, and Free. Even in the face of overwhelming odds.

    As for a legacy, I’ll leave that up to the pundits. The 100 years guy made me smile though.

    That’s like saying nobody remembers Oscar Wilde or Henny Youngman or Robin Williams.
    Sometimes in life, it’s not so much what you say but how you say it. Anybody can make a toaster.
    A rare few can make a work of art.

    Oh and if you haven’t seen Scorsese’s latest installment, Jesus Marty’s everywhere these days but that’s good, on George Harrison, I’d highly recommend it. It must be so different to watch as someone who actually lived through the Beatles as compared to somebody who was born at the height of the Beatles.

    Have a great week.

  37. dead hobo says:

    BR wondered:

    I don’t know what the thought process was. Hubris? Arrogance? Magical thinking,

    reply:
    ——–
    He probably needed to be in control. He likely was afraid to turn his body over to doctors and probably thought that if he ignored it properly, it would go away.

    He’s not that unusual. Lots of people don’t go to the doctor because they think they can tough out anything they encounter unless it’s makes them so helpless they need immediate care. I did it with a case of shingles and that was a major mistake. I thought a few zits were nothing to worry about. Shingles is a vile disease. After I got headaches that felt like an ax was splitting my skull, I went to the doctor and got antivirals. Then things got really bad AFTER the virus was gone. My back muscles hurt so bad for about a month I couldn’t sleep. My skin was so sensitive for a few months that it hurt to wear a shirt. Joint aches and normal just wearing back aches were present for nearly a year. I walked like the old farts you see hobbling in the supermarket parking lot. Then they spontaneously went away, which is said to be normal for shingles post herpetic neuralgia and I’m finally normal again. Shingles is a nerve disease and I suspect the nerves grew back to the point they worked again. Had I went for the antivirals as soon as the first symptoms appeared, I wold have suffered significantly less.

    The moral … it’s stupid to ignore doctors.

  38. budhak0n says:

    What a wonderful paradox….
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/45027309/

    Sorry feeling especially Squooshy today…. Let’s get to work.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UXAqdx2taE

    Click it if it interests you, if it doesn’t tell your dog or coworker or driver about it

  39. JET55118 says:

    Steve’s reaction is understandable. It is not unusual for humans to think that ignoring a problem will make it go away (e.g. Eurozone crisis, our own crises in the US). It also sounds like cancer forced him to confront many mysteries that he might not have been totally ready for, like God and what happens after death. It is possible that he simply didn’t want to face these questions.

    On the other hand, his acute awareness of his mortality was the catalyst for many of Apple’s innovative products during the last few years. Steve new he had a limited period of time to make his mark on Silicon Valley, and so he knew he had to make the most of his time here. Death can be a strong motivator.

  40. godot10 says:

    Jobs’ life is like a Shakespearean tragedy. They don’t have Hollywood endings. Ones’ flaws ultimately catch up to you.

  41. Low Budget Dave says:

    Everyone dies. (No exceptions.)

    Everyone makes bad decisions. (No exceptions.)

    A few learn from the mistakes of others. (Quite a few exceptions.)

  42. Low Budget Dave, your High Budget in my book . . .

  43. econimonium says:

    godot10, that’s the best assessment I’ve seen on the subject, and a good reminder of life in general.

    On the “nice”, I think that when people can find balance to your personality, you’ve achieved some sort of success. My point about Jobs is I’ve never heard that on a personal level from people who knew him better than I. And to me, that detracts from everything else.

    A great legacy is “Yes he was an insufferable bastard at times and always up my ass. But I never learned as much as I did from him, and I got why he was so tough on people”. Not “he micromanaged himself into the grave there, didn’t he? Just like everything else he touched” as I did.

  44. DeDude says:

    Delaying the surgery and allowing the tumor to grow and metastasize for another 9 months inside his body was clearly not the best evidence based decision he could have made. A scientific person chose what would give the highest probability of the best outcome. But I don’t think he ever showed himself as particularly scientific, he was more of an “artist” in his approach to things. Not surprising that he was not so good at collecting facts and conduct a scientific analysis to arrive at the best possible approximation of the truth. But at least after 9 months he realized the mistake and took the correct action. There are people who follow some crack-pot unproven alternative method all the way until they die.

  45. ssc says:

    Not being a Jobs fan, and I have expressed that view here, and also skeptical of media in general (remember Dan Rather and the George W national guard story in 60 Minutes? My personal opinion is W is definitely in the running for worst presidency ever, but that 60 Minutes story was such a sloppy cheap shot..), I do not really know how accurate all these Jobs stories are, he is no longer here to “set the record straight”

    I started in the business in Palo Alto in 1972, just by mere coincidence, I was working with Gordon French when he started the Homebrew Computer Club in his garage in Menlo Park. I met most if not all of the early geeks in those days, a lot of us were around the same age, no more than a few years apart. After a lot of hoopla, I just feel a great deal of sadness that Jobs was gone at such a young age. Some 15 years ago (I think), I read a very short Q&A with Bill Gates, the last Q was “how is the PC business different now than when he started”, the answer was, “There are a lot more lawyers now, and nobody is 20 years old anymore..”

    To dougc, who is of the “Church of Einstein”, Dennis Ritchie just passed some 10 days ago..

  46. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    more survivable?

    sure…

    survivable with >50% degree accuracy? Hard to say… Definitely the delay (substantially) reduced his odds, but by how much we dont know.

    The best comparison i can think of is the novelist roberto bolano, who needed i think some sort of dialysis or kidney replacement, and the surgery was 50-50 as to his success, with death being relatively instant.

    The alternarnative was to do nothing, and surely die 6 months later. He chose the latter, but in the interim finished 2666, which is potentially a book that will stand the test of time, and was his best work by far.

    Anyway, maybe Jobs felt that way about the ipad, or who knows.

    I agree i think you have to maximize your life expectancy, but maybe Jobs felt those next 9 months were super-critical.

    All and all an interesting discussion. One other thought. Lets say instead of needing 6 hours of sleep you needed 0… or instead of 8, you needed 2 only… So you get 6 hours extra each day right now. Would you trade those 6 hours today for 8 hours 30 years down the road? (meaning your eventual life would be shorter).

    I dont know. Something to think about though.

  47. larryd says:

    I’m a 10 year plus survivor of a cancer that required the same operation Steve would have had. The operation is called a whipple ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancreaticoduodenectomy). It’s major surgery and your digestive system is completely rewired. Some people don’t make it out of the hospital afterwards, although those of us who are younger when we have do a lot better than the normal 70 year old who gets it. Recovery takes time. Don’t know what went into Steve’s thinking about it, but make no mistake this is a daunting operation and recovery. I was traveling on business 5 months after the operation and ran into some NIH experts in this at the airport and they were shocked that I was doing this so ‘soon’ after the operation. That may give you an idea of the issues you face with this thing – 5 or 6 months is soon. So it’s easy to see in 20 20 hindsight that not doing it was fatal. Facing this is not trivial. The truth for me is that I just blocked the details out and went ahead. If I actually thought about it and studied it I probably would have been scared out of my mind.

  48. SnowHill Pond says:

    “It looks like there is a cult worshipping Jobs, personally I prefer the church of Einstein. I prefer substance over glitz. Greatness is lasting, in 100 years no one will remember JOBS.
    The important people in computers are the men that invented the transistor and engineered a method to put them on chips.

    Steve Jobs simply turned a Blackberry into an entertainment device and made a lot of money from it. My first computer was a Mac, enjoyed the ease of use but the technology was taken from XEROX and their research center in Palo Alto.”

    I think you’re underestimating the power of showmanship. I remember PT Barnum. I have no idea who invented the transistor or who engineered the method to put them on chips.

  49. raholco says:

    As a Buddhist, perhaps his karmic state will have him reincarnated, working the assembly line at Foxconn…

  50. ssc says:

    >>I think you’re underestimating the power of showmanship. I remember PT Barnum<<

    If I am not mistaken, PT Barnum died in the late 1800s, may be it would be more appropriate to say you know of him ?? Remember/know of somebody does not equate contribution/importance. Some people here may remember the "verb" Lewinsky but that says nothing about contribution/importance. If nothing else (and I am NOT saying that), Jobs totally got the showman/marketing part of the business. He hired Ridley Scott to do the 1984 commercial that was to be aired only once, of all people, he hired John Scully, the Pepsi marketing wiz to be Apple's president (I still remember all the publicity then on what a "coup" it was, how Jobs and Scully took long walks together and these two are true soul mates…". In the end, all the marketing cleverness and sizzle did not save Apple from the on slaughter of the stupid PC. Apple did not "return" until there were substance to their product.

    Just read that John McCarthy died, another giant that few people these days know..

  51. baldheadeddork says:

    Okay, I’m an asshole. Jobs decision to not follow the advice of his doctors and medically treat his cancer in its early stages was his decision. But when that failed and he somehow got to the top of a liver transplant list despite having metastasized pancreatic cancer – that was the most selfish, cowardly and unforgivable act I can imagine.

  52. SnowHill Pond says:

    ssc says: “If I am not mistaken, PT Barnum died in the late 1800s, may be it would be more appropriate to say you know of him ?? ”

    Nope, I’m 300 years old. PT and I used to talk about language and grammar together. We used to get into arguments all of the time about the utility of the closing parenthesis. I would say it’s definitely required, but he, being the showman he was (RIP), argued against it. He was a rascal.

    I’m tired, I’m going to take a nap now.

  53. ToNYC says:

    “But when that failed and he somehow got to the top of a liver transplant list despite having metastasized pancreatic cancer – that was the most selfish, cowardly and unforgivable act I can imagine.”

    Think of the livers as collateral damage that Bush 43 delivered to the sands of Iraq to find Dick Cheney’s weapons of mass destruction.