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The Zen of Steve Jobs

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    Overview “The Zen of Steve Jobs” is a graphic novel

    “The Zen of Steve Jobs” is a graphic novel by author Caleb Melby that is a must read of any Steve Jobs, or Apple fan. It’s short at only 60 pages and manages to fit in a lot of details about the life of Steve jobs during the mid-1980s when he was booted out of Apple and started another new technology company called NeXT. The novel focuses on Jobs’ interactions and relationship with a Zen Buddhist priest named Kobun Chino Otogawa. The novel is a re-imagining of the friendship between Jobs and Kobun. Like Jobs was to technology, Kobun was a rebel and nonconformist to Buddhism. This was the main trait that formed their decades-long relationship. Although the book is set in the period after Jobs left Apple and began intensive studying with Kobun, there are frequent flash-forwards in time all the way up to 2011. Melby uses this style of writing to show how Jobs applied what he learned from Kobun in the product design and business strategy of Apple which is responsible for making the company as successful as it is today.

    Critique of content
    “The Zen of Steve Jobs” gave me a completely new new perspective towards religions. In the past, I refused to care about religions because I did not like the idea of praying to a being that did not exist or no longer does. Reading this graphic novel made me realize that Zen Buddhism is actually very unique and its teachings can help you develop in life in a very special way. I particularly like how the author used flash-forwards to different times of Steve Jobs’ life where he applied the teachings that are talked about in the book.

    Learnings about Zen Buddhism
    Zen Buddhism focuses on the essence of understanding the meaning of life directly, without the distractions of logic or language. In the graphic novel “The Zen of Steve Jobs”, Kobun teaches Jobs the importance of meditation and focus. Meditation teaches focus and the ability to understand and appreciate simplicity and life itself. Practicing Zen Buddhism can help you do discover yourself and appreciate yourself, rather than to spend the effort to devote your life to a mythical or historical being like other religions. As someone who was exposed to Zen Buddhism for the first time after reading this novel, I can truly appreciate the uniqueness of this practice and it has dramatically helped me understand where Steve Jobs got his motive to do what he did in his life.

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