A Young Steve Jobs Extols the Virtues of California

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In 1985, Playboy talked to an enthusiastic 29-year-old Steve Jobs. In that lengthy interview, the entirety of which has been recently reposted online, Jobs touches on many topics, including the allure of California in the 1960s. Namely: Dylan and LSD.


Playboy: Was Wozniak obsessed at certain periods?

Jobs: [Laughs] Yes, but not just with computers. I think Woz was in a world that nobody understood. No one shared his interests, and he was a little ahead of his time. It was very lonely for him. He's driven from inner sights rather than external expectations of him, so he survived OK. Woz and I are different in most ways, but there are some ways in which we're the same, and we're very close in those ways. We're sort of like two planets in their own orbits that every so often intersect. It wasn't just computers, either. Woz and I very much liked Bob Dylan's poetry, and we spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of that stuff. This was California. You could get LSD fresh made from Stanford. You could sleep on the beach at night with your girlfriend. California has a sense of experimentation and a sense of openness—openness to new possibilities.

Besides Dylan, I was interested in Eastern mysticism, which hit the shores at about the same time. When I went to college at Reed, in Oregon, there was a constant flow of people stopping by, from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert to Gary Snyder. There was a constant flow of intellectual questioning about the truth of life. That was a time when every college student in this country read Be Here Now and Diet for a Small Planet—there were about ten books. You'd be hard pressed to find those books on too many college campuses today. I'm not saying it's better or worse; it's just different—very different. In Search of Excellence [the book about business practices] has taken the place of Be Here Now.


Steve's appreciation of Dylan and LSD aren't anything new, but seeing him discuss them so candidly is just one of the many joys of the full, 15,000 word interview. [Playboy via The Atlantic]