Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

After enough subtle hints, I was happy to unwrap a copy of the Steve Jobs biography at Christmas. I don’t read many books, and those I do, I rarely finish, but I couldn’t put this one down. When I intended to read half an hour before bed, I’d usually end up reading for two.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address is a lesson on how to lead a life of fulfilment:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

And death allows for no excuses:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

I aim to do so.

Steve Jobs’ Best Quotes

August has been a crazy month in the technology press, but no story has had the same impact than Steve Job’s resignation as CEO of Apple. Whilst I’ve been enjoying commentary and many stories regarding his 14-year tenure, it’s the man’s own words that have been most insightful. From this collection of Steve Job’s quotes, an answer given during an interview with Wired caught my eye:

I’m 40 years old, and this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t.

I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all.

These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life. I’m not downplaying that.

But it’s a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light – that it’s going to change everything. Things don’t have to change the world to be important.

Only a few weeks ago I was bemoaning the overuse of the phrase ‘change the world’. I heard this said far too often when I worked in the Valley, so it was heartening to read Jobs’ thoughts on the matter.

I do so hope Steve will have plenty more opportunities to part with such wisdom as he enjoys his retirement.