The Genius and The Jerk - Steve Jobs Comes of Age

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In making Apple such a brilliant, world-changing success, was Jobs a genius—or simply an unusually good but maniacally arrogant machine marketer? ~ The Genius and The Jerk ~ A new book from publisher Now and Then Reader

In this new release from Now and Then, Walter Vatter, using the compass of Steve Jobs’s youth and early years, guides us through the tempest of Jobs’s personality. Without denying the historically tectonic impact of the Jobsian mania, Vatter reveals a man who operated within a unique and sometimes hysterical “reality distortion field.” Within this RDF—a phrase taken from the pilot episode of Star Trek and applied in 1981 by Apple engineer Bud Tribble—Jobs produced some of the most profound changes to human technology and communication.

In the context of his acclaimed persona as the brainchild at the dawn of the personal home computer, early on—and without particular merit—Steve Jobs operated under a halo of genius, with few challenges from the competition. Jobs did not lead a long life; we will never know if he was a tortured soul. What we do know is that his hurtful persona was present from the start; it did not develop along the thorny road to recognition.

“Perhaps no one in the history of American business since the glory days of Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford became more identified with a consumer product or service than did Steve Jobs and the personal computer," writes Vatter.

Despite an overload of articles, books, and even a feature film exploring the life and work of Steve Jobs, his peculiar character remains a mystery. In making Apple such a brilliant, world-changing success, was he a genius—or simply an unusually good marketer of a machine whose time had come? And what of his personality? The author concludes, "To say he was curmudgeonly would be doing him a great favor."

In 'The Genius and the Jerk', Walter Vatter explores the early years of Steve Jobs that led to his business triumphs. He scrutinizes his family life, his education, his personal relationships, his technological smarts, and his important decisions. He weighs Jobs’s accomplishments against his reputation and in so doing raises serious questions about the nature of success in America. Vatter makes clear that in evaluating Jobs we must accept magical, world-changing innovation from a decidedly arrogant and abusive jerk who was willing to discard his own child to protect his personal ambitions.

'The Genius and The Jerk' is available exclusively through Amazon. More information can be found on the title at Now and Then's website -

Walter Vatter has worked in book publishing for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in New York and later with Ivan R. Dee in Chicago. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

This new digital title headlines a growing list of short nonfiction books published by Now and Then Reader, a publishing house co-founded by industry veteran Ivan R. Dee. Now and Then titles typically range from 5,000 to 25,000 words and focus on historical writings, including original works, excerpts, and reprints.

For a review copy of 'The Genius and The Jerk', or to schedule an interview with Walter Vatter, please contact Lindsay Bekken at Lindsay.Bekken(at) or 801-618-2010.

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Lindsay Bekken
since: 09/2011
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