Most wanted more success at work than they'd achieved, but couldn't figure out how to do it, often because they were unable to make emotional connections with other people, unable to muster enough creativity or invention even within their own specialties to allow them to stand out from the crowd.
He compared it to buying a muscle car someone had modified by installing the transmission from a Pinto. The result looked like it should go fast, and make plenty of noise, but never managed to get that power from the engine to the wheels in a way that would get the kind of performance you'd expect.
People who are both smart and effective are the ones who can get the power they have down to the road rather than wasting it with empty noise and smoke.
Geniuses add some other critical element – one more common and even more frequently misused than the obvious factors you can read about in biographies of Thomas Edison or others who managed to consistently deliver results that were innovative, practical, and delivered on a regular basis throughout the person's life.
That element is a stubborn self confidence that allows true geniuses to recognize the value of their work and continue pushing to make it better, more practical and more widely recognized for its unique benefits the creator can see.
Stick to your guns, but be sure which direction they're pointed
That charismatic stubbornness is what made Jobs successful – though often disliked – for driving both partners and employees farther than they thought they could or should go to build things that were really special, not just smart.
Unfortunately, brilliance and brilliant self confidence don't guarantee every decision will be correct.
Sometimes fear, ignorance, contrariness or any of the judgment-twisting emotions characterized in the Five Stages of grief, can make even an obviously correct decision feel wrong.
That warping of thought and judgment is the special trap of those who realized their own genius early and succeeded by trusting their own judgment rather than the warnings and objections of others – which is exactly how Steve Jobs go to be what he was in the years before he passed away.
Unfortunately, faced with yet another frightening but probably non-fatal diagnosis, he decided to take the risk that he could be more right than his doctors, and stuck to that decision long after the point that returning to conventional treatments could overcome the deterioration of his condition and progress of a disease that also depends on persistence. It was a decision that turned into a tragedy for Jobs, his family and the cult of Apple that grew up around his charisma, reality distortion field, and insistence that his ideas would prevail, whether his opponent was prostate cancer or Microsoft.