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The things you decide not to do

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do, but the things you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist. I remember going into Steve’s house, and he had almost no furniture in it. He just had a picture of Einstein, whom he admired greatly, and he had a Tiffany lamp and a chair and a bed. He just didn’t believe in having lots of things around, but he was incredibly careful in what he selected.

Steve’s most famous home is probably his Woodside mansion, which he bought in 1984 and in which he lived throughout the 1990s. The house was famous for its grandiose dimensions (it was the party house of a copper magnate) and, especially, for its total lack of furniture.

This is one aspect of Steve’s personality that hasn’t changed in decades: he is such a perfectionist that he can never decide on what to buy, thus ends up buying nothing.

As a bachelor he only had a mattress, huge Ansel Adams prints, and a super-expensive stereo system as pieces of furniture. He did not sleep on a bed for years — even though he was a multi-millionaire. At Woodside the kitchen was the only room that was fully furnished. He did have a Bosendorfer grand piano and a BMW motorcycle in his living room however, testaments of his love of German engineering.

A glimpse at Steve’s home in Palo Alto.

Steve’s current house in Palo Alto is still decorated with austerity, although Laurene has tempered that quite a bit. Here’s how a Time journalist described it: “The Steve Jobs who is currently running two sophisticated companies lives in a turn-of-the- century English-style country house in Palo Alto with his wife Laurene […]. The house is run with a distinct 1960s flavor. Laurene has planted a garden of wildflowers, herbs and vegetables all around. The rooms are sparsely decorated, the only extravagances being Ansel Adams photographs.” Some things never change…


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