Mona Simpson's eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs

Make some time for yourself, and maybe someone you love, to read all the way to the end. "A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs," delivered on Oct. 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University, and reprinted this weekend in the NYT.


  1. Beautiful. Why did he have to be such a jerk throughout his life? He was into Zen and didn’t worship money and walked around barefoot, and was supremely talented. So sad.

    1. How much do you know about Jobs to define him as such? He was beloved by his entire family and was favored best among all CEOs by his own employees.  A man should not be judged by one or two bad occurrences in his life. Don’t be so bold that you can believe that you can live up to your own altruistic standards. Mankind is human and, therefore, is flawed. 

      I’ve heard these comments many times but Jobs allowed the best and worst of him to be put into a book while others hide under pseudonyms and condemn him without contributing a fraction of what he did.

      1. I read the Isaacson book (in which Steve himself admits his faults), along with various other books like Insanely Great and The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. I don’t doubt that his family loved him! But one or two bad occurrences? Come on. I would never accept Steve’s kind of conduct from a boss, or a friend, nor would I allow such behavior in my children. In this cruel world, what else do we have but some basic expectations of interpersonal decency? I’m also a total Apple fanboy and I’m able to separate personal behavior from professional accomplishments. Why do we have to beatify Steve Jobs when he deliberately enlisted a biography to expose his life, warts and all?  Jeez.

      1. I don’t know, but that and a bunch of other things about him that have been made public since his death have changed the way I looked at him. It takes almost no effort to be a good person, and he seems to have refused to even try.

      2. This is a touching eulogy by a loving and caring sister. I appreciate her perspective on Steve Jobs.

        On why he was the way he was? I often hear apologists for people saying it was just his or her “style” to treat others badly. I think it’s a poor excuse.

        The article linked to your comment is not convincing to me in the least. It says that Jobs was a jerk in his 20’s because powerful men in their early 20’s are almost always jerks. They lack empathy.

        It goes on to say that he softened and started treating his family better later but was still a prick to his employees, business partners, and competitors because he found that it was effective. That it “got things done”. In his defense, the article says that he usually got what he wanted, and he had mastered the art of being a prick to that end. And that people have a choice, they can choose to work elsewhere, not deal with him, etc.

        We all have our failings. But I’ll take treating ALL people with respect and not always getting what I want over the kind of carnage Mr. Jobs left in his wake. He may have been an incredibly emotional and sensitive person, and been very close with his family at the end, but I think he still lacked empathy.

        1. Basically if you think using the f word when talking about executives at a chip fab constitutes emotional carnage then you don’t have any perspective on the world he lived in.

          I don’t think I’m defending the devil here.  I just don’t understand how people get from the business stuff Jobs did to talking all of this shit about his character.

          I think there’s a serious lack of perspective here.  At it’s worst, it’s not really that big of a deal.

          It seems it’s pretty much aligned with the general bias here at least.

          And, yeah, executives of any stripe talking about “destroying” the competition.  For chrissakes, people it’s not exactly love and peace but I’ve heard the same thing from grad students about competing seminar projects.  People who stay up until the wee hours of the morning for years making shit are sometimes kind of competitive.  It’s not for everyone but it doesn’t rise to the level of “evil”.

  2. Off-topic: I read the title “Mona Simpson … Jobs” and thought “Homer’s mother is related to Steve Jobs?”

  3. My mother died of cancer a few years ago, and she was neither rich nor renowned. She was just who she was: a kind person who had spent her life mostly doing making sure other people were taken care of. She was taken care of at the end. Pauper or prince, being surrounded by your family at the end is the most valuable thing in the universe.

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