Fearless Genius


An eye-opening chronicle of the Silicon Valley technology boom, capturing key moments in the careers of Steve Jobs and more than seventy other innovators as they created today’s digital world.

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Key Takeaways

  1. What made his free-range access especially remarkable was the culture of Silicon Valley—despite the superficial pizza-and-foosball looseness, the rival tribes inventing the digital future were manic, competitive, prone to extreme paranoia.
  2. “The heaviness of being successful,” Steve Jobs said of his prodigal-son time after being forced out of Apple, “was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
  3. No place on earth is more baby-boomerish than Silicon Valley, and Jobs was its avatar: a CEO who wore jeans and emitted a “reality distortion field,” a sentimental, countercultural romantic who was also a ruthless mogul, a forever-young tinkerer dedicated to erasing the old distinctions between tools and toys, work and play.
  4. But the Valley seemed to attract a preponderance of those people willing to take risks. Perhaps more than anything else, I was interested in the nature of innovation and wanted to see if I could discover something about how creativity was best nurtured.
  5. I paid particular attention to any outward sign of stress. Showing vulnerability was in contrast to the public image projected by tech companies: a polished veneer of extreme competence, which their powerful PR teams displayed even if facing imminent failure.
  6. They wanted to build cool stuff that would change everything. Many of them wanted to improve the quality of human life. Why is having a mission important? Because money is not enough motivation for most people to walk through fire when things get tough. It’s about what is worth doing with your life and what you are willing to gamble to accomplish your dreams. This is the intangible human spirit, a creative force that can’t be quantified in the business plan but that might just be the one element every successful breakthrough technology has to have.
  7. Beneath the vast enterprise and churn, I discovered the joyous, primal urge to invent tools that has driven human progress for millennia. I saw something uncontrollable, hungry, and wild—something human—that still exists in Silicon Valley today. That strain of fearless genius can and will drive a new technology revolution, perhaps even fulfilling the promises of the last one as it lifts its gaze to a world we have only begun to imagine.
  8. Often, people would shout back, giving as good as they got, which Steve appeared to appreciate and encourage, saying he wanted to work with people with strong character.

What I got out of it

  1. A true inside look at the creators who have changed our digital world. I really enjoyed hearing some of the ‘inside baseball’ on these influential people and companies.

In the Latticework, we've distilled, curated, and interconnected the 750+book summaries from The Rabbit Hole. If you're looking to make the ideas from these books actionable in your day-to-day life and join a global tribe of lifelong learners, you'll love The Latticework. Join us today.