The Best Steve Jobs Quotes From His Biography

steve jobs

Photo: AP

Walter Isaacson did 40 interviews with Steve Jobs for his biography.The result is a 600 page book loaded with fabulous vignettes of the most creative businessman in history.

We’ve read through it and picked out our favourite quotes from Jobs.

He weighs in on everything from the competition to religion to building the best products in the world.

On why you should take LSD

Here's Jobs talking about a Microsoft employee he was friendly with: 'This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to licence his Microsoft software. But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as you have a stylus, you're dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, 'Fuck this, let's show him what a tablet can really be.''

How Edwin Land influenced Steve Jobs to get into computers

'I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics. Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that's what I wanted to do.'

Even when you're dying, you have to make sure you continue living

On religion ...

'The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it ... I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don't. It's the great mystery.'

Expect good people to do great things, and they will

'I've learned over the years that when you have really good people you don't have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don't like it if you tolerate B work.'

'Some people say, 'Give the customers what they want.' But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, 'If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'' People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.'

He also said, 'I don't want the people I work with at Apple to think I am coming back to get rich.'

That was Jobs relenting. Everyone in Apple was pushing to get iTunes built for Windows. He resisted and resisted until he finally caved, tired of dealing with everyone.

One reason why he worked so hard to make great products

'I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that's been done by others before us. I didn't invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow.'

It's still best to meet people face to face

'There's a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That's crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they're doing, you say, 'Wow,' and soon you're cooking up all sorts of ideas.'

How the birth of a cow influenced his decision to make hardware and software work together

On suddenly becoming wealthy

'I never worried about money. I grew up in a middle-class family, so I never thought I would starve. And I learned at Atari that I could be an OK engineer, so I always knew I could get by. I was voluntarily poor when I was in college and India, and I lived a pretty simple life even when I was working. So I went from fairly poor, which was wonderful, because I didn't have to worry about money, to being incredibly rich, when I also didn't have to worry about money.

I watched people at Apple who made a lot of money and felt they had to live differently. Some of them bought a Rolls-Royce and various houses, each with a house manager and then someone to manage the house managers. Their wives got plastic surgery and turned into these bizarre people. This was not how I wanted to live. It's crazy. I made a promise to myself that I'm not going to let this money ruin my life.'

The final quote of the book, when Steve Jobs is staring death in the face

What did we miss?

It's a big book, and we probably missed some gems. Drop your favourite quotes in the comments below!

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