With a life as storied as he had, it’s no wonder that Steve Jobs is remembered not only for running an incredibly successful company, but for being tremendously outspoken.
He seemingly had an opinion on everything, and his thoughts often echoed his obsessive commitment to quality at Apple, whether on his approach to mistakes (“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations”), or his attention to detail (“Design is not what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works”).
But he had plenty to say on deeper matters as well.
Here’s a roundup of some of his more thought-provoking words, collected from various interviews and speeches.
Note: A previous version of this article was published by Karyne Levy and Dylan Love.
'Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.'
'It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.'
'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.'
'Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.'
'You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.'
'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.'
'Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful … that's what matters to me.'
'I'm as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.'
'I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next.'
'Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.'
'When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'no' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.'
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