Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)
Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs, published in 2011, documents Jobs's use of marijuana and LSD in his youth.
"I got stoned for the first time that summer. I was fifteen, and then began using pot regularly," Jobs told Isaacson about the summer between his sophmore and junior years at school. By his senior year, he said, "I was starting to get stoned a bit more. We would also drop acid occasionally, usually in fields or cars."
Of one experience in a wheat field, Jobs said, "It was great. I had been listeneing to a lot of Bach. All of a sudden the wheat field was playing Bach. It was the most wonderful feeling of my life up to that point. I felt like the conductor of this symphony with Bach coming through the wheat."
During this time, "I started to listed to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology--Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear," Jobs said. His other favorites included Moby Dick and the poems of Dylan Thomas.
In college, Jobs became a serious student and practitioner of Zen Buddhism and meditation. "I came of age at a magical time," he reflected later. "Our consciousness was raised by Zen, and also by LSD."
Telling people they couldn't understand him if they weren't "experienced," Jobs emphasized, "Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there's another side to the coin, and you can't remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important--creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could."
Isaacson, who also wrote biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, called Jobs "a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing....In addition, he opened a new market for digital content based on apps rather than just websites...In August 2011, right before he stepped down as CEO, the enterprise he started in his parents' garage became the world's most valuable company."
Isaacson adds, "At a time when the United States is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build creative digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination, and sustained innovation. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. He and his colleagues at Apple were able to think differently."
Apple dropped the "-ly" from "different" for its iconic "Think Different" ad campaign, which featured VIPs Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, Ted Turner, Richard Feynman and John Lennon. The ad copy ran: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. ...They push the human race forward....Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
At a time when politicians and pundits are scaremongering about a potentially "stoned" workforce unable to compete with other countries in a legalized future, it's important to note that the US's most productive industry was started by stoners Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Silicon Valley remains high on pot, and innovation. When our other pot-friendly and productive industry, based in Hollywood, took on Jobs, the actor chosen to play him was Aston Kutcher, the stoner/jock from "That 70s Show" who outed the Bush twins as pot smokers in a 2005 Rolling Stone interview.