Jobs' passion was not unique among American entrepreneurs

October 11, 2011

I am in agreement with the view expressed in your tribute to Steve Jobs that many CEOs of the largest corporations are overpaid for what they do ("Steve Jobs, old-fashioned visionary," Oct. 9). They are not innovators and they are not personal risk takers. Steve Jobs was not a typical CEO because he was an entrepreneur and the founder of his company despite the fact that he was "fired" and had a hiatus from the company for 12 years.

You note that "while he became a rich man, he did not appear to be motivated by money. … What drove him was his work." You imply that may be a rare quality. I submit, however, that a great many people in business and in professions are driven by a passion for their work, and money comes along the way.

Obviously, rarely does it produce a person as rich as Steve Jobs. I include in this group auto shop owners, toy store owners, lawyers, architects, teachers, builders and surgeons. These and many other people follow their self-interest and their passion. If they become successful or even wealthy, more power to them. While starting and running a business or pursuing a profession, it leads to the hiring of people and serves the common good.

So in Steve Job's premature death, we should celebrate the opportunities that America affords people like him and encourage more of them through our policies and attitudes toward entrepreneurship, rather than criticizing "the average American business leader," as you do.

David F. Tufaro, Baltimore

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