Why Steve Jobs Turned Down Potentially Life-Saving Surgery — and Why He Waged ‘Thermonuclear War’ Against a Competitor

Oct 21, 2011  •  Post A Comment

Steve Jobs resisted surgery that might have saved his life early in his fight with pancreatic cancer, choosing instead to try alternative therapies, he told his biographer Walter Isaacson. The late Apple CEO later said he regretted the decision, which he made because he thought the surgery would be too invasive.

Isaacson, whose book “Steve Jobs” is due to be released Monday, will be interviewed Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” and CBS News has released some intriguing tidbits in advance of the broadcast.

Isaacson tells “60 MInutes’” Steve Kroft he asked Jobs why he didn’t get the operation earlier, “and he said, ‘I didn’t want my body to be opened. … I didn’t want to be violated in that way.’”

Jobs waited nine months for the surgery, while his wife and others tried to convince him to have it. That delay turned out to be fatal.

Kroft asked Isaacson why an intelligent man would make a seemingly dumb decision. “I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking,” Isaacson says. “We talked about this a lot. He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it. … I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner.”

In an early look at the biography, AP reports: “Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google’s actions amounted to ‘grand theft.’”

Jobs is quoted as saying: “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”


  1. There are many people, in the US and elsewhere, who like Jobs believe that surgical intervention is not the answer. The mind and body have to be given the opportunity to heal naturally. There have been health methods that make this possible, except that political correctness and the need to preserve (at least some aspects of) American business have oppressed these methods. The US government is not against these methods, it is just against the obvious effect on the political status quo that even modestly trying to respect and promote them has.

  2. Dale – You are dumb. There are people like Steve jobs that believe surgery IS the answer. He didn’t’ shun the American Medical system. He used it completely and had major surgery. His issue was that he was scared to go through with surgery, but he admitted in his own word – he was stupid.
    Your obvious WACKOism and feel good cha cha is BS. Just because you are too out there (and dumb) to understand something doesn’t mean it is a conspiracy. If there was a better way, the government/Big business wouldn’t suppress it. Someone would sweep in a make big profits off of it.
    I bet everything is a conspiracy to you. Idiot!

  3. It turned out to be fatal SEVEN YEARS LATER. Don’t most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive less than ONE year? I don’t think they’ve developed some magic surgery that CURES PANCREATIC CANCER, Mr. Reporter. If he had done the surgery earlier, it might’ve prolonged his life, OR he might’ve died earlier.
    Nobody knows anything.

  4. Steve didn’t have the really bad form of pancreatic cancer which is why he lasted so long. He made a mistake and admitted it – and paid the ultimate price for it. A very sad loss. I must agree with the second poster that Dale, you are indeed pretty dumb.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)