“While reading the first volume of the late William Manchester’s The Last Lion, his brilliant but unfinished biography of Winston Churchill, this reader’s initial reaction was that the stuff on the page couldn’t be real,” John Tamny writes for Forbes. “So amazing and unputdownable were Manchester’s stories about Churchill that they took on a fictional, Steven Spielberg-like quality.”
“Manchester’s book came to mind while reading Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography of the late Apple Inc. co-founder and reviver,” Tamny writes. “To read about Jobs is to at times think one’s reading fiction so impressive was his life. For those who haven’t read The Last Lion or Steve Jobs, run, don’t walk.”
Tamny writes, “After that, the Jobs biography is an amazingly useful economics lesson… Isaacson’s story of this modern-day Thomas Edison explains better than any textbook the wonders of free trade, the folly of antitrust rules, job creation, executive compensation, failure, and profits. If teachers are struggling to reach kids on these subjects, here’s their book.”
“Notably, Jobs wasn’t an immediate success upon departure from Apple either. Indeed, as Isaacson described Jobs’ time at his next creation, NeXT, ‘The result was a series of spectacular products that were dazzling market flops.’ But as Isaacson put it about his errors, ‘This was the true learning experience,'” Tamny writes. “With the above in mind, too bad U.S. banks and carmakers aren’t allowed ‘dazzling market flops’ as Jobs was. At risk of seeming flippant, the unseen here is what banks and carmakers have never become thanks to politicians always cushioning their flops. Consumers can of course thank goodness that the frequently offensive Jobs didn’t have much in the way of Washington pull. He was better are as were his customers for his errors not being subsidized.”
“Considering job creation, during the GOP primaries, and then during his campaign for President, Mitt Romney was regularly demonized by Democrats and Republicans alike for how he allegedly made his money. To hear his mental midget detractors, Romney had earned his wealth through the laying off of defenseless employees, the looting of companies, etc.,” Tamny writes. “Something tells this writer that Jobs wouldn’t have agreed with Romney’s ankle biters.”
“Jobs’ vision of how a successful company can be that way proved important upon his return to Apple in 1997. Much as Romney’s Bain Capital made its fortune through the purchase of sick companies that were nursed back to health, Jobs arrived to an Apple that was ‘less than ninety days from being insolvent,’ and as Isaacson writes, ‘In his first year back, Jobs laid off more than three thousand people, which salvaged the company’s balance sheet,'” Tamny writes. “Like Romney, Jobs understood that the quickest path to success and job creation is often job destruction. Jobs got rid of the B-team players, but in doing so he created a world class business. Whatever one thinks of Romney the candidate, what his political opponents said about his business career brought new meaning to dirty politics.”
Much more in the full article here.
John Tamny is the editor of both Forbes Opinions and RealClearMarkets.com, plus a senior economic advisor to H.C. Wainwright Economics and Toreador Research & Trading.
MacDailyNews Take: Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon. – Winston Churchill
I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete. – Steve Jobs
[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]