“Not long after Steve Jobs got married, in 1991, he moved with his wife to a nineteen-thirties, Cotswolds-style house in old Palo Alto. Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived. His previous house had only a mattress, a table, and chairs. He needed things to be perfect, and it took time to figure out what perfect was,” Malcolm Gladwell writes for The New Yorker. “This time, he had a wife and family in tow, but it made little difference. ‘We spoke about furniture in theory for eight years,’ his wife, Laurene Powell, tells Walter Isaacson, in ‘Steve Jobs,’ Isaacson’s enthralling new biography of the Apple founder. ‘We spent a lot of time asking ourselves, ‘What is the purpose of a sofa?’'”

“It was the choice of a washing machine, however, that proved most vexing. European washing machines, Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes. But they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle,” Gladwell writes. “What should the family do? As Jobs explained, ‘We spent some time in our family talking about what’s the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table.'”

Gladwell writes, “Steve Jobs, Isaacson’s biography makes clear, was a complicated and exhausting man. ‘There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy, and that’s the truth,’ Powell tells Isaacson. ‘You shouldn’t whitewash it.’ Isaacson, to his credit, does not.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Saint Laurene.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Nicholas C.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Steve Jobs’ quest for perfection could make even buying a sofa into decade-long ordeal – October 25, 2011