The Leading Edge—Steve Jobs

Vol. 27 No. 1

Ms. Ristino is a senior counsel with the Office of the General Counsel, USDA in Washington, D.C., and a member of the editorial board of Natural Resources & Environment. The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and not the USDA’s.

Last fall, I found myself in the Georgetown Barnes & Noble checkout line clutching a copy of Walter Isaacson’s new biography Steve Jobs. I’ve never been an Apple-head; I didn’t wait with bated breath for Apple’s annual product unveiling. So, why did I detour on the way home to pick up the tome? I think it is because, in my own professional what’s-next-soul-searching, I had come to appreciate the fact that in midlife Steve Jobs had produced his best work. His products are a resounding rebuttal to the age-old question of whether volcanic creativity is the province of youth. His middle life spoke to me as I was at a crossroads both professional and personal, when the kids are deep into grade school and a person is deep into their forties. And, it just so happens, environmental law and I are about the same age.

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