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What Steve Jobs learned building fences with his father that changed the course of history

Apple may have made radical changes to the way the world communicates, but we can also learn something from Steve Jobs’ life before the company.

Walter Isaacson is currently the President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, a Tulane University history professor, former editor of TIME and former chairman and CEO of CNN. He wrote a biography on Jobs — at the mogul’s request before his death — which came out soon after he passed away in 2011, 60 Minutes reports. The book was based on interviews with more than 100 sources, including Jobs himself.

But one story really got to the heart of Jobs’ knack for the details as presented in 60 Minutes:

What Jobs learned about dedication

After Isaacson mentioned how abrasive Jobs could be with others while in pursuit of perfection, 60 Minutes reports that the author reportedly “believes that much of it can be traced to the earliest years of his life. And to the fact that Jobs was born out of wedlock, given up by his birth parents, and adoption by a working-class couple from Mountain View, California.”

Isaacson then went on to tell the program that “Paul Jobs was a ‘salt of the earth’ guy, who was a great mechanic. And he taught his son Steve how to make great things, and he … once, they were building a fence, and he said, ‘You gotta make the back of the fence — that nobody will see —  just as good looking as the front of the fence. Even though nobody will see it, you will know, and that will show that you’re dedicated to making something perfect.’ ”

60 Minutes then reports that Jobs was aware of his adoption, but a featured audio interview with Isaacson for the biography (one of many in the video clip) reveals even more about the mogul’s outlook on life.

Jobs thought that he “was chosen”

In the audio interview, Jobs tells Isaacson that as a kid, he told someone “across the street” from his home about his adoption, and she asked him if this was because his birth parents weren’t interested in raising him. Jobs said he went “running into the house,” questioning his adoptive parents about it.

His parents said, “No, you don’t understand. We specifically picked you out,” according to Jobs.

Isaacson then told 60 Minutes that Jobs said, “From then on, I realized that I was not just abandoned, I was chosen. I was special.”

(Click here to watch the 60 Minutes report)

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