An unconventional biography about an Indian Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. This feature documentary explores the life and teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, who authored the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. It was the only book that Steve Jobs had on his iPad, and he arranged to give away 800 copies of it to the dignitaries who attended his memorial service. It was also a point of entry into Eastern mysticism for George Harrison, Russell Simmons and countless yogis. By personalizing his own quest for enlightenment and sharing his struggles along the path, Yogananda made ancient teachings accessible to a modern audience, attracting many followers and ultimately helping millions of seekers today to turn their attention inwards, bucking the temptations of the material world in pursuit of self-realization.
In 1995, during the making of his TV series Triumph of the Nerds about the birth of the PC, Bob Cringely did a memorable hour-long interview with Steve Jobs. It was 10 years since Jobs had left Apple following a bruising struggle with John Sculley, the CEO he had brought into the company. At the time of the interview Jobs was running NeXT, the niche computer company he had founded after leaving Apple. During the interview, Jobs was at his charismatic best - witty, outspoken, visionary. In the end, only a part of the interview was used in the series and the rest was thought lost. But recently a VHS copy was found in the series director's garage. Now, cleaned up with modern technology, and put into context by Cringely.
Directed by Alex Gibney, it follows the life and work of ex-Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Gibney starts the doc by showing how much people around the world worship Steve Jobs as if he were an idol. He then provides you with a wealth of background information about Jobs' childhood, teenage and college years including how he formed Apple Inc. Fortunately, not all of the doc is hagiography because Gibney does briefly delve into the darker side of Jobs, particularly how selfish he was and mistreated those around him including his ex-wife. Jobs comes across as a charming, intelligent narcissist who knows how to captivate an audience whenever he speaks. In other words, like all great narcissists, he's a very good actor. Gibney certainly knows how to choose the right subject because Jobs' complexity makes him all the more captivating and worthy of a feature-length film. As is usually the case with Gibney's docs, this one is slickly-edited and has just the right amount of comic relief, mostly in the brief video of an young boy joyfully lists all of Apple's technological devices that Steve Jobs created. You'll catch a glimpse of what makes Jobs fallible, and find a little mildly provocative food for thought about the advancement of modern technology, i.e. how technology helps to connect us to one another yet alienates us at the same time.
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