Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Steve Jobs and other interesting people

I finished listening to "Make Trouble" by Cecile Richards.  She and her husband and their adult children have been political activists since she was in elementary school.  Basically, Cecile spent ten years as president of Planned Parenthood. That organization came under fire in connection with abortion and birth control but has managed to continue to supply health care to many women, mothers and not, despite political attempts to make hay with it as a political football.  It seems that many women are balking at being told by males, especially older white males, what to do without.

My iPod is loaded with audiobooks and I have finally learned a little more about advancing it to the next book.  Finishing "Make Trouble", I moved today to the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson is an accomplished author and has several notable biographies in recent years. He is also a professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans.

I had seen Isaacson's books on Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo Da Vinci but Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the designers of my first home computer.  That machine, along with the Appleworks package of word processing, spreadsheet and database, changed my life, my teaching and my thinking. As I think about Isaacson's books, all the great people and all their great lives come to mind.  I will read or listen to the book on Da Vinci and others but I know I can't really absorb very many of the fascinating lives that have gone before me.

Some estimates are that it is only in the last 10,000 years that humans have had writing and agriculture.  I have the feeling that I can relate to the lives lived since I was born and those of the generations of my parents and grandparents.  Of course, with the help of a good writer, I can be transported by books or movies into ancient lands and into cultures very different from any that I have personally lived in.  I have certainly found that any book and any life can be the subject of a wonderful book. Often, I can't tell until I read 50 pages or so whether a particular book grips me or not.  Between the life lived, including the emotions involved, and the biographer's skill and moods, a book about the life of a 5th century farm wife might or might not be important and enriching.

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