Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Steve Jobs' Devotion to Alternative Therapies and Diets

Over the Holiday break, I read Walter Isaacson's masterful and absorbing biography of Steve Jobs.  As his biography reveals, Jobs was a dark, complex and often deeply contradictory figure. "There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy, and that's the truth," Jobs' wife told Isaacson at the start of his project.


Consider Jobs' decision upon receiving the news from his doctors that he had a tumor on his pancreas.  Attracted to Eastern mysticism and alternative diets since his teens, Jobs' reaction was tragically tinged by denial and rejection of scientific advice.

How Isaacson tells the story:

To the horror of his friends and wife, Jobs decided not to have surgery to remove the tumor, which was the only accepted medical approach.  "I really didn't want to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work," he told me years later with a hint of regret.  Specifically, he kept a strict vegan diet, with large quantities of fresh carrot and fruit juices.  To that regimen he added acupuncture, a variety of herbal remedies, and occasionally a few other treatments he found on the Internet or by consulting people around the country including a psychic.  For a while he was under the sway of a doctor who operated a natural healing clinic in southern California that stressed the use of organic herbs, juice fasts, frequent bowel cleansings, hydrotherapy, and the expression of all things negative.

Jobs continued with these approaches for 9 months until a CAT scan showed that his tumor had grown and possibly spread.  As Isaacson writes: "It forced him into reality."

Even after he had surgery to remove the tumor, Jobs devotion to alternative diets likely impaired his ability to recover.  As Isaacson tells it:

One side effect of the operation would become a problem for jobs because of his obsessive diets and weird routines of purging and gast that he had practiced since he was a teenager. Because the pancreas provides the enzymes that allow the stomach to digest food and absorb nutrients, removing part of the organ makes it hard to get enough protein.  Patients are advised to make sure that they eat frequent meals and maintain a nutritious diet, with a wide variety of meat and fish proteins as well as full-fat milk products.  Jobs had never done this, and he never would.

LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

Keep reading Show less

Unfiltered lessons of a female entrepreneur

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think.

Big Think LIVE

Women today are founding more businesses than ever. In 2018, they made up 40% of new entrepreneurs, yet in that same year, they received just 2.2% of all venture capital investment. The playing field is off-balance. So what can women do?

Keep reading Show less

Why ‘Christian nationalists’ are less likely to wear masks and social distance

In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Catholic priest wearing a facemask and face shield blesses a hospital on August 6, 2020 in Manila, Philippines

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
  • The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
Keep reading Show less
Sex & Relationships

Two-thirds of parents say technology makes parenting harder

Parental anxieties stem from the complex relationship between technology, child development, and the internet's trove of unseemly content.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast