Steve Jobs and His Reality Distortion Field

I am currently reading the wonderful biography on Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. It is one of the most fascinating true stories I’ve read in a while. (Be sure to take my poll at the end of this post about who you think should direct the movie). There’s one chapter in the book about Steve a phenomena around Steve called his “reality distortion field.” This was essentially his ability to literally change reality by the sheer force of his charisma and will. Things programmers swore could not be done, Steve would get them to do.

Watch this video. It’s only 46 seconds. But watch it before reading on.

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Besides the fact that it’s the first time I can ever recall seeing steve on video clothed in something other than his usual black turtleneck, I was fascinated by something. Watching this video was a lot like being caught in Steve’s reality distortion field, post-mortem. When you watch it, you believe him. “The people around me are no smarter than me. I can change the world!” But here’s the thing: as one commenter on Gizmodo pointed out, when you are Steve Jobs, you can say that and it’ll most likely be true. But the real truth of the matter is, there ARE people in this world smarter than you. Smarter than me! If you take a minute to stop and think about it, this is an unequivocal fact of life. But for the 46 seconds you listen to Steve in this video, reality is distorted. You truly do believe that you’re just as smart as anyone else.


As another commenter on that Gizmodo post pointed out, the point isn’t whether or not you’re truly as smart as everyone around you. The point is, do you have the drive and ambition to take on the world as if you are. Amazing things have been done by “average” folk. People who saw something in the world that needed to be changed, and saw something in themselves that believed they would be able to change it. That’s really all that matters.


What will you do about it. What aspect of the world do you need to change today? It doesn’t have to be the whole world. It can just be the world of your spouse. Or your child. Your significant other. Your employees. An orphan in Uganda. You decide.

Who Should Direct the Biopic of Steve Jobs

Sony Pictures acquired the rights to Walter Isaacson biography on Steve Jobs. Aaron Sorkin is the likely candidate to write it. Who do you think should direct. Here are my suggestions and why:

  • David Fincher: what he did with The Social Network shows that he could make this amazing story one that will have you riveted. Also, as a filmmaker, he’s also to filmmaking what Steve was to technology. A perfectionist. I could see Steve wanting a director who does 100+ takes per shot being the one to direct his biography.
  • Oliver Stone. Stone has a knack for biopics, especially ones about larger than life people.
  • Martin Scorcese. Martin’s love of film as an art form is the kind of passion that Steve had for art and technology.
  • Tom Hooper. What he did with The King’s Speech was terrific. Steve’s story is one of complex relationships (particularly with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak). I could see Hooper doing with Jobs and Wozniak what he did with King George VI and Lionel Logue.
  • Christopher Nolan. I don’t think you can consider making a movie about one of the biggest and most influential personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries without considering someone like Nolan.
  • The Coen Brothers. Now I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would you hire the Coen Bros. Here’s why: because this is territory they are expert at. So many of the Coen Bros films are about the the struggle and search for power and money and the consequences they have on their characters. Raising Arizona, Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Hudsucker Proxy, No Country for Old Men, etc.  I also think they’re slightly quirky style would fit well with the crazy computer geek culture.

Now take the poll. Leave a comment also about the video or the poll.

2 thoughts on “Steve Jobs and His Reality Distortion Field

  1. Steve Jobs sure changed my world. Due to the fact that I opened one of the first Apple Computer Stores and the Apple consultants in the field who were directing our store had not much knowledge of such and caused a huge failure in our store and a personal loss to my family that is still evident. The business consultant was immoral and directed us straight into the “belly up” position. Since we were new to retail, we were sure open to his suggestions which greatly favored his pocketbook and was not in the best interest of our new business. So, yes, my world was changed not for “better but for worse.”

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