Its owner had been dead, the back of her head smashed into red pulp flecked with bits of bone, but her cloak looked warm and thick. It was snowing, and Varamyr had
lost his own cloaks at the Wall. His sleeping pelts and woolen smallclothes, his sheepskin boots and fur-lined gloves, his store of mead and hoarded food, the hanks
of hair he took from the women he bedded, even the golden arm rings Mance had given him, all lost and left behind. I burned and I died and then I ran, half-mad with
pain and terror. The memory still shamed him, but he had not been alone. Others had run as well, hundreds of them, thousands. The battle was lost. The knights had
come, invincible in their steel, killing everyone who stayed to fight. It was run or die.
45 “That’s a good lock you have on the building,” the sheriff announced. “Kept them from opening the door right away.”
“Mighty good thing your daughter happened to look out of her window before she turned in to bed,” remarked the neighbor.
“Yes, indeed it is.”
“I call the best part that you had a pop-gun to pepper them with. I heard one cry out, and from my window I saw that the fellow hiding nearest the barn grabbed toward his face.”
“From that window of yours you must have had a pretty good look at them, even if it was dark,” said the sheriff.
“Did, for an instant. The lad that got nipped seemed like a big boy; tall, stout chap I should say, but the way he sprinted after the gun went off, he
Death was not so easily outrun, however. So when Varamyr came upon the dead woman in the wood, he knelt to strip the cloak from her, and never saw the boy
until he burst from hiding to drive the long bone knife into his side and rip the cloak out
of his clutching fingers. “His mother,” Thistle told him later, after the boy had run off. “It were his mother’s cloak, and when he saw you robbing her …”
sure is agile.”
“Did you hear them
at the hangar?”
“It was a pool the gods would have delighted to swim in.
Molitor had the best competitive swimming club in Paris. Therewere two pools, an indoor and an outdoor. Both were as bigas small oceans. The indoor
pool always had two lanesreserved for swimmers who wanted to do lengths. The waterwas so clean and clear you could have used it to make yourmorning
coffee. Wooden changing cabins, blue and white,surrounded the pool on two floors. You could look down andsee everyone and everything. The porters who marked yourcabin door with chalk to show that it was occupied
werelimping old men, friendly in an ill-tempered way. No amount ofshouting and tomfoolery ever ruffled them. The showers gushedhot, soothing water.
There was a steam room and an exerciseroom. The outside pool became a skating rink in winter. Therewas a bar, a cafeteria, a large sunning deck, even
two smallbeaches with real sand. Every bit of tile, brass and woodgleamed. It was – it was…”It was the only pool that made Mamaji fall silent, hismemory
skating rink in winter. Therewas a bar, a cafeteria, a large sunning deck, even
two smallbeaches with real sand. Every bit of tile, brass and woodgleamed. It was – it was…”It was the only pool that made Mamaji fall silent, hismemory
making too many lengths to mention.
Mamaji remembered, Father dreamed.
“Er, no, you didn’t. That is, well, you have to be told—”
“Is something wrong, Mr. Trowbridge?” she asked quietly.
“Well, er, yes there is—”
“Anything happened to Mother or—”
“Oh, no, what a blundering ass I am; but, you know, it’s this way, the stock market—well, you’ve heard how it broke a lot of people. We have to—er,
reduce expenses, er, you see—there was a meeting, and some of the pilots have to go—I’m
sorry, hate to
lose you, hate
it like fury, and
so does Wallace.”
He tried to teach my parents to swim, but he never gotthem to go beyond wading up to their knees at the beach andmaking ludicrous round motions with their arms, which, if theywere practising the breast-stroke, made them
look as if theywere walking through a jungle, spreading the tall grass aheadof them, or, if it was the front crawl, as if they were runningdown a hill and flailing their arms so as not to fall. Ravi wasjust as unenthusiastic.
Mamaji had to wait until I came into the picture to find awilling disciple. The day I came of swimming age, which, toMother’s distress, Mamaji claimed was seven, he brought medown to the beach, spread his arms seaward and said,shlf1314
“This ismy gift to you.””And then he nearly drowned you,” claimed Mother.
I remained faithful to my aquatic guru. Under his watchfuleye I lay on the shlf1314
beach and fluttered my legs and scratchedaway at the sand with my hands, turning my head at everystroke to breathe. I must have looked like a child
throwing apeculiar, slow-motion tantrum. In the water, as he held me atthe surface, I tried my best to swim. It was much moredifficult than on land. But Mamaji was patient and encouraging.shlf1314
When he felt that I had progressed sufficiently, we turnedour backs on the laughing and the shouting, the running andthe splashing, the blue-green
waves and the bubbly surf, andheaded for the proper rectan-gularity and the formal flatness(and the paying admission) of the ashram swimming pool.shlf1314
“There is to be a test for the racing machines this evening, Miss Langwell,” the instructor called as he brought the car to a stop close to where the two were
standing. Roberta noticed that the Federal man gave her companion a swift, all-inclusive glance, but since that was the way with Mr. Howe, and he always
looked everybody up and down, she did not think anything about it.shlf1314
“Hope I can watch it,” she replied.shlf1314
“All set, Miss Langwell.” Nike came to a stop a few yards away, so, forgetting everything else, Roberta turned her whole attention to the task at hand.shlf1314
Presently all was ready, and in another moment, Nike was leaping into the air, carrying her pilot and passenger up a steep climb until they were well in the
air, then her nose was leveled and she shot east18 and south,shlf1314
as Mrs. Pollzoff
wished to take.
What other bright ideas do you have for your life?” I askedmyself.
Well, I still had a little money and I was still feelingrestless. I got up and walked out of the post office toexplore the south of India.
I would have liked to say, “I’m a doctor,” to those whoasked me what I did, doctors being the current purveyorsof magic and miracle. But I’m sure we would have had abus accident around the next bend, and ‘with all eyes
fixedon me I would have to explain, amidst the crying andmoaning of victims, that I meant in law; then, to theirappeal to help them sue the government
over the mishap, Iwould have to confess that as a matter of fact it was aBachelor’s in philosophy; next, to the shouts of whatmeaning such a bloody
tragedy could have, I would have toadmit that I had hardly touched Kierkegaard; and so on. Istuck to the humble, bruised truth.
Along the way, here and there, I got the response, “Awriter”? Is that so? I have a story for you.” Most times thestones were little more than anecdotes, short of breath andshort of life.
I arrived in the town of Pondicherry, a tinyself-governing union Territory south of Madras, on thecoast of Tamil Nadu. In population and size it is
aninconsequent part of India – by comparison, Prince EdwardIsland is a giant within Canada – but history has set itapart. For Pondicherry was once the
capital of that mostmodest of colonial empires, French India. The French wouldhave liked to rival the British, very much so, but the onlyRaj they
managed to get was a handful of small ports.
They clung to these for nearly three hundred years. Theyleft Pondicherry in 1954, leaving behind nice white buildings,broad streets at right angles to each
other, street namessuch as rue de la Marine and rue Saint-Louis, and kepis,caps, for the policemen.
Apple resisted licensing out the Macintosh operating system until 1994, when CEO Michael Spindler allowed two small companies, Power Computing and
Radius, to make Macintosh clones. When Gil Amelio took over in 1996, he added Motorola to the list. It turned out to be a dubious business strategy:
Apple got an $80 licensing fee for each computer sold, but instead of expanding the market, the cloners cannibalized the sales of Apple’s own high-
it made up to
$500 in profit.
Jobs could seduce and charm people at will, and he liked to do so. People such as Amelio and Sculley allowed themselves to believe that because Jobs
was charming them, it meant that he liked and respected them. It was an impression that he sometimes fostered by dishing out insincere flattery to those hungry for it. But Jobs could be charming to people he hated just as
easily as he could be insulting to people he liked. Amelio didn’t see this because, like Sculley, he was so eager for Jobs’s affection. Indeed the words
he used to describe his yearning for a good relationship with Jobs are almost the same as those used by Sculley. “When I was wrestling with a problem, I
would walk through the issue with him,” Amelio recalled. “Nine times out of ten we would agree.” Somehow he willed himself to believe that Jobs really respected him: “I was in awe over the way Steve’s mind approached
problems, and had the feeling we were building a mutually trusting relationship.”
Amelio’s disillusionment came a few days after their dinner. During their negotiations, he had insisted that Jobs hold the Apple stock he got for at least six months, and preferably longer. That six months ended in June. When a
block of 1.5 million shares was sold, Amelio called Jobs. “I’m telling people that the shares sold were not yours,” he said. “Remember, you and I had an understanding that you wouldn’t sell any without advising us first.”
“That’s right,” Jobs replied. Amelio took that response to mean that Jobs had not sold his shares, and he issued a statement saying so. But when the next
SEC filing came out, it revealed that Jobs had indeed sold the shares. “Dammit, Steve, I asked you point-blank about these shares and you denied it was you.” Jobs told Amelio that he had sold in a “fit of depression” about
where Apple was going and he didn’t want to admit it because he was “a little embarrassed.” When I asked him
about it years later,
he simply said,
“I didn’t feel
I needed to tell Gil.”
That month Amelio had to face the annual stockholders meeting and explain why the results for the final quarter of 1996 showed a 30% plummet in sales
from the year before. Shareholders lined up at the microphones to vent their anger. Amelio was clueless about how poorly he handled the meeting. “The
presentation was regarded as one of the best I had ever given,” he later wrote. But Ed Woolard, the former CEO of DuPont who was now the chair of the
Apple board (Markkula had been demoted to vice chair), was appalled. “This is a disaster,” his wife whispered to him in the midst of the session. Woolard
agreed. “Gil came dressed real cool, but he looked and sounded silly,” he recalled. “He couldn’t answer the questions, didn’t know what he was talking about, and didn’t inspire any confidence.”
Woolard picked up the phone and called Jobs, whom he’d never met. The pretext was to invite him to Delaware to speak to DuPont executives. Jobs
declined, but as Woolard recalled, “the request was a ruse in order to talk to him about Gil.” He steered the phone call in that direction and asked Jobs
point-blank what his impression of Amelio was. Woolard remembers Jobs being somewhat circumspect, saying that Amelio was not in the right job. Jobs recalled being more blunt:
I thought to myself, I either tell him the truth, that Gil is a bozo, or I lie by omission. He’s on the board of Apple, I have a duty to tell him what I think; on the other hand, if I tell him, he will tell Gil, in which case Gil will never listen
to me again, and he’ll fuck the people I brought into Apple. All of this took place in my head in less than thirty seconds. I finally decided that I owed this
guy the truth. I cared deeply about Apple. So I just let him have it. I said this guy is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen, I think if you needed a license to be a CEO
he wouldn’t get one. When I hung up the
phone, I thought,
I probably just
did a really
He had told Larry Ellison that his return strategy was to sell NeXT to Apple, get appointed to the board, and be there ready when CEO Gil Amelio stumbled. Ellison may have been baffled when Jobs insisted that he was not
motivated by money, but it was partly true. He had neither Ellison’s conspicuous consumption needs nor Gates’s philanthropic impulses nor the competitive urge to see how high on the Forbes list he could get. Instead his
ego needs and personal drives led him to seek fulfillment by creating a legacy that would awe people. A dual legacy, actually: building innovative products and building a lasting company. He wanted to be in the pantheon with, indeed
a notch above, people like Edwin Land, Bill Hewlett, and David Packard. And the best way to achieve all this was to return to Apple and reclaim his kingdom.
And yet when the cup of power neared his lips, he became strangely hesitant, reluctant, perhaps coy.
He returned to Apple officially in January 1997 as a part-time advisor, as he had told Amelio he would. He began to assert himself in some personnel areas, especially in protecting his people who had made the transition from
NeXT. But in most other ways he was unusually passive. The decision not to ask him to join the board offended him, and he felt demeaned by the
suggestion that he run the company’s operating system division. Amelio was thus able to create a situation in which Jobs was both inside the tent and
outside the tent, which was not a prescription for tranquillity. Jobs later recalled:
Gil didn’t want me around. And I thought he was a bozo. I knew that before I sold him the company. I thought I was just going to be trotted out now and
then for events like Macworld, mainly for show. That was fine, because I was working at Pixar. I rented an office in downtown Palo Alto where I could work
a few days a week, and I drove up to Pixar for one or two days.
It was a nice life.
I could slow down,
with my family.
“Well,” he concluded, “I don’t think ‘mercurial’ is so bad after all.” After the applause, he used the quotations book to make a more subtle point, about his reality distortion field. The quote he chose was from Lewis Carroll’s Through
the Looking Glass. After Alice laments that no matter how hard she tries she can’t believe impossible things, the White Queen retorts, “Why, sometimes I’ve
believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Especially from the front rows, there was a roar of knowing laughter.
All of the good cheer served to sugarcoat, or distract attention from, the bad news. When it came time to announce the price of the new machine, Jobs did what he would often do in product demonstrations: reel off the features,
describe them as being “worth thousands and thousands of dollars,” and get the audience to imagine how expensive it really should be. Then he announced what he hoped would seem like a low price: “We’re going to be
charging higher education a single price of $6,500.” From the faithful, there was scattered applause. But his panel of academic advisors had long pushed to keep the price to between $2,000 and $3,000, and they thought that Jobs
had promised to do so. Some of them were appalled. This was especially true once they discovered that the optional printer would cost another $2,000,
and the slowness of the optical disk would make the purchase of a $2,500 external hard disk advisable.
There was another disappointment that he tried to downplay: “Early next year, we will have our 0.9 release, which is for software developers and aggressive end users.” There was a bit of nervous laughter. What he was
saying was that the real release of the machine and its software, known as the 1.0 release, would not actually be happening in early 1989. In fact he didn’t
set a hard date. He merely suggested it would be sometime in the second quarter of that year. At the first NeXT retreat back in late 1985, he had
refused to budge, despite Joanna Hoffman’s pushback, from his commitment to have the machine finished in early 1987.
Now it was
clear it would
be more than
two years later.
The event ended on a more upbeat note, literally. Jobs brought onstage a violinist from the San Francisco Symphony who played Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto in a duet with the NeXT computer onstage. People erupted in
jubilant applause. The price and the delayed release were forgotten in the frenzy. When one reporter asked him immediately afterward why the machine was going to be so late, Jobs replied, “It’s not late. It’s five years ahead of its time.”
As would become his standard practice, Jobs offered to provide “exclusive” interviews to anointed publications in return for their promising to put the
story on the cover. This time he went one “exclusive” too far, though it didn’t really hurt. He agreed to a request from Business Week’s Katie Hafner for
exclusive access to him before the launch, but he also made a similar deal with Newsweek and then with Fortune. What he didn’t consider was that one of Fortune’s top editors, Susan Fraker, was married to Newsweek’s editor
Maynard Parker. At the Fortune story conference, when they were talking excitedly about their exclusive, Fraker mentioned that she happened to know that Newsweek had also been promised an exclusive, and it would be coming
out a few days before Fortune. So Jobs ended up that week on only two magazine covers. Newsweek used the cover line “Mr. Chips” and showed him leaning on a beautiful NeXT, which it proclaimed to be “the most exciting
machine in years.” Business Week showed him looking angelic in a dark suit, fingertips pressed together like a preacher or professor. But Hafner pointedly
reported on the manipulation that surrounded her exclusive. “NeXT carefully parceled out interviews with its staff and suppliers, monitoring them with a
censor’s eye,” she wrote. “That strategy worked, but at a price: Such maneuvering—self-serving and relentless—displayed the side of Steve Jobs that so hurt him at Apple. The
trait that most
stands out is
Jobs’s need to
The Launch, October 1988Jobs had perfected the art of turning product
launches into theatrical productions, and for the world premiere of the NeXT computer—on October
12, 1988, in San Francisco’s Symphony Hall—he wanted to outdo himself. He needed to blow away the doubters. In the weeks leading up to the event, he drove up to San Francisco almost every day to hole up in the Victorian house
of Susan Kare, NeXT’s graphic designer, who had done the original fonts and icons for the Macintosh. She helped prepare each of the slides as Jobs fretted over everything from the wording to the right hue of green to serve as the
background color. “I like that green,” he said proudly as they were doing a trial run in front of some staffers. “Great green, great green,” they all murmured in assent.
No detail was too small. Jobs went over the invitation list and even the lunch menu (mineral water, croissants, cream cheese, bean sprouts). He picked out a video projection company and paid it $60,000 for help. And he hired the
postmodernist theater producer George Coates to stage the show. Coates and Jobs decided, not surprisingly, on an austere and radically simple stage look. The unveiling of the black perfect cube would occur on a starkly minimalist
stage setting with a black background, a table covered by a black cloth, a black veil draped over the computer, and a simple vase of flowers. Because
neither the hardware nor the operating system was actually ready, Jobs was urged to do a simulation. But he refused. Knowing it would be like walking a tightrope without a net, he decided to do the demonstration live.
More than three thousand people showed up at the event, lining up two hours before curtain time. They were not disappointed, at least by the show. Jobs
was onstage for three hours, and he again proved to be, in the words of Andrew Pollack of the New York Times, “the Andrew Lloyd Webber of
product introductions, a master of stage flair and special effects.” Wes Smith of the Chicago Tribune said the launch
was “to product
Vatican II was to