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2 minutes
October 8, 2015

The Story Of Steve Jobs Has Meaning

The backlash to the film might have a basis in psychology and the structure of a good story.

Everyone is up-in-arms over Sorkin’s latest take on a Silicon Valley megalomaniac who changed the world:

This time, Sorkin’s subject [Steve Jobs] isn’t around to argue the point — an observation Apple designer Jony Ive made at the Vanity Fair Summit in San Francisco this week, decrying those who would “hijack” Jobs’s legacy.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Dramatica.1 Real life is meaningless; stories are meaningful. You can’t give an audience the satisfaction and emotional fulfillment they expect from a great story without twisting the truth of what happened.

This is why people love stories and why they keep coming back to them time and time again—because you can get something from them that you can’t in real life: meaning.

The Four Perspectives

You need the four different perspectives—or Throughlines—to see the conflict in all the various contexts. You need to see it personally (Main Character), personal but separate (Influence Character), in a subjective relationship (Relationship Story) and in an objective relationship (Overall Story). You need to see all of these in order to keep yourself from remaining blind to what might be really going on from a different perspective.

This is most likely the source of the film’s backlash—friends and coworkers who had a certain perspective on Jobs; friends and coworkers uncomfortable with a story showing something they were perhaps blind to in real life.

Sorkin professes pure motives. “I hope the impression left is one of an intensely complicated and brilliant man — deeply flawed, but who, nonetheless, dreamed big and galvanized others to great effect,” he said in promotional materials. “Ultimately, I hope viewers will find him to be human — and someone who probably could have been happier if he didn’t think that kindness and genius were binary.”


  1. Or anyone who has attended one of my classes or taken one of my workshops↩︎

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