Steve Jobs and The DSM-IV

While in my Family Therapy training one my my professors Steve Treat said, " That all people contain good and bad". This seemed like a pretty simple statement but is one that has stayed with me. Steve was referring to the fact that even the best of people have a dark side and few people are truly all evil.

Steve Jobs is a great example of this. I have been captivated by his biography. He was one of the great geniuses of our era. Yet his persona contains many dark sides.

I view the DSM-IV classification system, not as a book of diseases but rather a typology to classifying certain personality traits and behaviors. 

Using the DSM-IV as a lens to view Steve Jobs behavior you see the he has elements of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  

He exhibited traits of narcissism.  For example since childhood he  thought he was special this was demonstrated by Steve viewing that rules governing the local roads did not apply to him. For example would park his Mercedes in handicapped parking sports  frequently around Palo Alto where he lived.

He exhibited traits of Borderline Personality Disorder through the defense mechanism of splitting viewing people as all good or all bad. For example when someone presented a new product to him he would say its great one day and shit the next.  Often Borderline Personality disorder is thought to be formed in childhood to do a fear of abandonment and that was present in Steve's life because he was given up for adoption at a young age.  

His products represent features of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He made every part of his computer components beautiful all the way down to the power cord. He even strived to make the components inside the computer beautiful that you do not see. He was a control freak he designed his products to be intentionally hard to customize or modify because he decided that they were perfect that way he created them. For some of his products you need to have special tools to open them and this is intentionally designed.

This is a quote from Jack Kerouac that was used for the Apple's Think Different  marketing campaign.

Heres's to the crazy ones.

Heres's to the crazy ones.