Steve Jobs and The “Zen stare™”

There’s been lots of talk about the Steve Jobs/Buddhism connection. Thanks to eagle-eyed friend and reader Sam DeWitt for sending on this latest example. Sam writes:

“Walter Isaacson, author of the new biography Steve Jobs, was interviewed on The Daily Show. He talks about Steve Job’s ‘Zen stare,’ where he wouldn’t blink when staring down an opponent — or something like that. Buddhism is also mentioned a few times in the interview, and it is just all-around fun. (It is The Daily Show after all).”

To see what Sam is talking about, watch here. (Our friends in Canada will want to go here, and watch the third segment of October 25th’s show.) Thanks, Sam!


  1. demagnetized
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Actually the biographer says he learned to do it at 17 years old… a couple years before he became "buddhist". He found a way to stare without blinking and used it to make people feel uncomfortable.


    Walter Isaacson: I remember sitting in his backyard in his garden one day and he started talking about God. He said, “Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of– maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.” Then he paused for a second and he said, “Yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone.” He said and paused again, and he said, “And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

  2. anh
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    He learned to do that at the age of 17, before converting to Buddhism, but that doesn't mean that he was not influenced by the tradition by then. He could be absorbed a lot of Zen traditions before actually calling himself a Buddhist. That Zen technique was employed by Japanese Samurais, yet the bloodthirsty Samurais didn't really give a hoo about the Buddhist philosophy of compassion.

    I'm not a Buddhist nor was I a Buddhist, but when I was 11 and a Catholic, I was a lot convinced by Buddhist philosophy.

    However, I don't like this hurried association between Steve Jobs and Buddhism, despite his fame. He was a manipulator.
    I don't like it as much as I don't like the association between Tiger Woods and Buddhism. Ironically, Gates' actions are much more in line with Buddhist philosophy.

  3. Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    I am always sorry to see someone use Buddhism or Zen to their own ends. Is it like putting a gun in the hands of a baby? Maybe this is the spiritual materialism Trungpa Rinpoche often spoke of. Well, there is apparently evidence in the new biography and elsewhere of Jobs’ near-mental illness and narcissism—see Maureen Dowd today in the NY Times.

  4. odw
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Staring without blinking to intimidate ? Sounds like Scientology TR's to me.

  5. eve of samhain
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    it also sounds satanic

    and demonic

  6. fayetteville Ed
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Really? Satanic and demonic? Do people still believe that hocus-pocus bs?

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *