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5. Simplicity: Why It Matters > Steve Jobs and the Zen Aesthetic

Steve Jobs and the Zen Aesthetic

Steve Jobs was one of the best presenters the world of business has ever seen. When Jobs spoke on stage, he was clear and to the point. While he was CEO of Apple, his presentations generated a lot of positive buzz and released a wave of viral communication about the presentation’s content. This happened in part because the content was easily grasped and remembered by both the media and regular customers. You can’t “spread the word” if you don’t get what the word is. With Jobs’s public presentations, there was both verbal and visual clarity.

Jobs was a student of Zen and was influenced early on by the Japanese aesthetic. “I have always found Buddhism, especially Japanese Zen Buddhism in particular, to be aesthetically sublime,” Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson, author of the book Steve Jobs. “The most sublime thing I’ve ever seen are the gardens around Kyoto. I’m deeply moved by what that culture has produced, and it’s directly from Zen Buddhism.” Jobs’s personal style and approach to presentations certainly embodied an essence of simplicity and clarity that was remarkable and rare among CEOs or leaders of any kind.


  

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