The Wisdom Of Steve Jobs

Stanford, 2005

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Stanford, 2005

L.A. Cicero/Courtesy Stanford News Service

Steve Jobs died yesterday. He reflected on mortality in a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford:

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.

...Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. ...

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Here's the full text of the speech. Here's a video. Here's more on Jobs from NPR's Laura Sydell, the WSJ's Walt Mossberg, and Slate's Farhad Manjoo.

Full disclosure: I played Oregon Trail on an Apple IIe in elementary school; fell in love with fonts on an early Macintosh in high school; danced to an iPod playlist at my wedding; and read about Steve Jobs on my iPhone on the subway this morning.

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