How Edison Differed From Steve Jobs

He was a larger-than-life 'wizard,' while Jobs was more human: Randall Stross
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2011 8:55 AM CDT
How Edison Differed From Steve Jobs
An undated photo of Thomas Edison.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The death of Steve Jobs brought no end of Thomas Edison comparisons, but given that Randall Stross has written books on both men, he's probably in a better position than most to weigh in. The two inventors had much in common—less formal schooling than their peers, incredible vision, nasty tempers—but they differed in key ways, Stross writes in the New York Times. One of them: Edison seemed to get caught up in the myth of himself as "wizard" later in life and felt the need to weigh in on all kinds of subjects ("rice-eating nations never progress") he probably should have left alone.

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Jobs, on the other hand, stayed grounded and focused on what he knew, the better to take full advantage of a life he knew would be cut short. The tributes to both men after their deaths "were similar, but only superficially," writes Stross. "With Edison, the public thought of the Wizard, an outsize persona, through which it was impossible to see an actual person. But with Mr. Jobs, the tributes were to a fellow mortal, exactly our own height, just as vulnerable as we all are to the random strike of a life-ending catastrophe." Read the full piece here. (Read more Steve Jobs stories.)

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