While a student in McCollum’s class, Jobs became friends with a graduate who was the teacher’s
all-time favorite and a school legend for his wizardry in the class. Stephen Wozniak, whose younger
brother had been on a swim team with Jobs, was almost five years older than Jobs and far more
knowledgeable about electronics. But emotionally and socially he was still a high school geek.
Like Jobs, Wozniak learned a lot at his father’s knee. But their lessons were different.
Paul Jobs was a high school dropout who, when fixing up cars, knew how to turn a tidy
profit by striking the right deal on parts. Francis Wozniak, known as Jerry,
was a brilliant
engineering graduate from Cal Tech, where he had quarterbacked the football team, who became
a rocket scientist at Lockheed. He exalted engineering and looked down on those in business,
marketing, and sales. “I remember him telling me that engineering was the highest level of
importance you could reach in the world,” Steve Wozniak later recalled. “It takes society to a new level.”
One of Steve Wozniak’s first memories was going to his father’s workplace on a weekend
and being shown electronic parts, with his dad “putting them on a table with me so I got to play with them.” He watched with fascination as his father tried to get a waveform line on a video screen to stay flat so he could show that one of his circuit designs was working properly. “I could see that whatever my dad was doing, it was important and good.” Woz, as he was known even then, would ask about the resistors and transistors lying around the house, and his father would pull out a blackboard to illustrate what they did. “He would explain what a resistor was by going all the way back to atoms and electrons. He explained how resistors worked when I was in second grade, not by equations but by having me picture it.”
Woz’s father taught him something else that became ingrained in his childlike, socially awkward personality: Never lie. “My dad believed in honesty. Extreme honesty. That’s the biggest thing he taught me. I never lie, even to this day.” (The only partial exception was in the service of a good practical joke.) In addition, he imbued his son with an aversion to extreme ambition, which set Woz apart from Jobs. At an Apple product launch event in 2010, forty years after they met, Woz reflected on their differences. “My father told me, ‘You always want to be in the middle,’” he said. “I didn’t want to be up with the high-level people like Steve. My dad was an engineer,