The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 28, 2011

Meditation on Jobs: Mankato grad writes graphic novel on Zen influences of former Apple CEO



“I was able to push the boundaries of storytelling in a way that is kind of controversial,” Melby said. “We’re telling stories that we’re not sure happened the way we portrayed.”

What is fact is that Jobs forged a relationship with Otogawa during the time of his painful departure from Apple in 1985.

It is well-documented that Jobs leveraged his Zen experiences to help transform Apple into the technology powerhouse it is today. What isn’t well-documented is the conversations and interactions between Jobs and Otogawa that later manifested in the simple designs and clean aesthetics that have become hallmarks of the Apple brand.

“At the end of the day, this is a re-imagining,” Melby said. “What actually happened when they were alone, we can’t be sure.”

The book illustrates how Buddhist principles shaped Jobs’ corporate philosophy and vision for Apple products. The book also illustrates how Jobs’ relentless pursuit of perfection eventually fractured his relationship with his mentor, who believed such obsession was antithetical to Buddhist teachings.

In the end, Melby said, the two were quite similar. Both Jobs and Otogawa were renegades in their field and both held strictly to personal philosophies.

“Both were innovators and mavericks,” Melby said, adding later: “I’d like to hope people will gain a more complex understanding of (Jobs). ... It’s not our goal to take anything away from him, but help people understand the man — as opposed to Steve Jobs, the Tech God.”

The graphic novel is being published by John Wiley & Sons and will be available online and at most major bookstores.

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