So was Mr. Jobs smart? Not conventionally. Instead, he was a genius. That may seem like a silly word game, but in fact his success dramatizes an interesting distinction between intelligence and genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. They were sparked by intuition, not analytic rigor
Mr. Jobs's intuition was based not on conventional learning but on experiential wisdom. He also had a lot of imagination and knew how to apply it. As Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Bill Gates is super-smart, but Steve Jobs was super-ingenious. The primary distinction, I think, is the ability to apply creativity and aesthetic sensibilities to a challenge.
In the world of invention and innovation, that means combining an appreciation of the humanities with an understanding of science - connecting artistry to technology, poetry to processors. This was Mr. Jobs's specialty.
China and India are likely to produce many rigorous analytical thinkers and knowledgeable technologists. But smart and educated people don't always spawn innovation. America's advantage, if it continues to have one, will be that it can produce people who are also more creative and imaginative, those who know how to stand at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences. That is the formula for true innovation, as Steve Jobs's career showed.