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The Tragedy of Steve Jobs

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On October 24, 2011 @ 8:34 pm In Technology,UnScience | Comments Disabled

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 [1]), 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.

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Further reading:

• Steve Jobs Succumbs to Alternative Medicine (Skeptic Blog [2])
• Steve Jobs’ cancer and pushing the limits of science-based medicine (Science Based Medicine [3])


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/10/the-tragedy-of-steve-jobs/

URLs in this post:

[1] video here: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/10/60-minutes-steve-jobs-revelations-from-a-tech-giant/

[2] Skeptic Blog: http://www.skepticblog.org/2011/10/06/steve-jobs-succumbs-to-alternative-medicine/

[3] Science Based Medicine: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-death-of-steve-jobs/

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