Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table.” Steve Jobs, Isaacson’s biography makes clear, was a complicated and exhausting man.“There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy, and that’s the truth,” Powell tells Isaacson.“You shouldn’t whitewash it.” Isaacson, to his credit, does not.

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Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived.

His previous house had only a mattress, a table, and chairs.

He needed things to be perfect, and it took time to figure out what perfect was.

This time, he had a wife and family in tow, but it made little difference.

“We spoke about furniture in theory for eight years,” his wife, Laurene Powell, tells Walter Isaacson, in “Steve Jobs,” Isaacson’s enthralling new biography of the Apple founder.

“We spent a lot of time asking ourselves, ‘What is the purpose of a sofa?’ “ It was the choice of a washing machine, however, that proved most vexing.European washing machines, Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes.But they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle. As Jobs explained, “We spent some time in our family talking about what’s the trade-off we want to make.We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family.Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half?