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Jan 252015

Steve Jobs died a billionaire, so of course he was wealthy, right? Let’s take a closer look, by viewing his life through the perspective of the Five Pillars of Wealth described in the chapter by that name in The Seven Day Path To Wealth.

Pillar number 1 is health – That didn’t turn out too well, because he died. He battled illness for nearly a decade. He took a brief sabbatical from his chosen life’s work to focus on attempted remission and recovery. So the first pillar collapsed for Steven.

Pillar number 2 is relationships – Gauging by the stories and anecdotes by Steven’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, the part of his life was at least complicated, if not an outright struggle in many instances. His family life was a mixture of conflict, personal battles and estrangements from children and others. He was known to treat key employees very poorly and unfairly who made vital contributions to his company and ultimately his own benefit, while rewarding others beyond imagination. So establishing, building and maintaining relationships was a very up and down experience for him. He surrounded himself with very talented people who maintain that he had great charisma and genius, but was it perhaps the ideas he advanced and supported that kept them engaged more than the man himself? This pillar did not collapse to the degree that the health pillar did, but it could be said it was certainly wobbly.

Pillar number 3 is avocation – Jobs definitely had an instinct and skill for doing what he wanted to do. For nearly all of his vocational life, the only jobs of work he every had were of his own design and creation. When he attempted to step out of the primary leadership role and turn it over to a more “seasoned” CEO, this almost lead to the total collapse of the company, resulting in him coming back on the scene to once again take the helm and lead to previously unparalleled new heights of success through innovation and development of products we didn’t even know we needed but have grown to love. I would declare this pillar in his life to be fairly solid, in spite of the upheavals he survived.

Pillar number 4 is personal time – From what I learned reading the Isaacson biography, the evaluation of the strength of this pillar is a bit of a paradox. It could be argued that Jobs had no personal time, but we learned he was very devoted to the practice of meditation and certain eastern philosophies that promote deep contemplation. The paradox may be that while outwardly he rarely took personal time, he may have considered all of his time to be personal because what he was doing mostly what he chose to do virtually all of his time. I am going to regard this pillar as very solid.

Pillar number 5 is money – No need to say much about this one. In regard to quantity, it was about as solid as any money pillar needs to be. He was not known to be ostentatious and extravagant with his riches, and probably simply never took the time to indulge himself with his vast financial resources and rewards. Score pillar number 5 as being rock solid for Steven. So if we tally the status of Steven Job’s pillars, I would suggest that he scored a 2.5. I consequently regard Steven Jobs as definitely a rich man, but not so much a wealthy man when measured against these values. What score would you give yourself?