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Technology & Innovation

Is Steve Jobs a Misanthrope?

Despite having $8.3 billion, Steve Jobs isn’t a public philanthropist. Must iconic business people give away substantial portions of their wealth to become well-rounded leaders?

What’s the Latest Development?

When Steve Jobs announced he was stepping down as Apple’s C.E.O., adulation poured from every media crevice. But Jobs has not been as publicly charitable as his contemporaries like Gates and Buffett. “For one, no one knows for sure how much of his money Jobs has given away. Even if Jobs shows apparent lack of public giving, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the man so good at keeping Apple’s products secret could very well be a master of making donations anonymously.” He is rumored to be behind a large donation to a cancer cetner at the University of California at San Francisco.

What’s the Big Idea?

Must one publicly give to charity when one has enormous wealth? Some of history’s richest men have been generous with their earnings and their quotations abound. Andrew Carnegie said that “surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community”. So is it right to ask if Jobs’ lack of public giving diminishes him as a leader? “The question, in the end, is not whether a lack of public giving will diminish Jobs’ leadership legacy. The question is how much greater it could be.”


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