The 65 Best Quotes from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is a true legend in the world of entrepreneurship! The man has single-handedly changed the lives of millions of people. Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs first revolutionized the computer world by creating the Macintosh, then that of animated cinema when he ran Pixar Studios, music by launching iTunes and the iPod, and finally telephony by inventing the inescapable iPhone. This visionary entrepreneur, far from being perfect, left us an example of an entrepreneurial career and inspiring speeches. After a brief summary of his life, I offer to you in this article 65 quotes from the genius of a man who was Steve Jobs! 

Who was Steve Jobs really?

Steve Jobs and apple

Steve Jobs’s Family History

Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California. His father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, of Syrian origin and a political science student, and his mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, an American of Swiss origin, were not married at the moment of little Steve’s birth. With Joanne’s family threatening to disown their daughter if she married a non-Catholic, the couple decided to put the child up for adoption.

It was then Paul and Clara Jobs who adopted the newborn, with Joanne’s condition being that the boy would attend a university. Steve Jobs has always considered his adoptive parents as his true parents: they are “1,000% my parents” he would go on to say in his biography.

His biological parents, meanwhile, would eventually marry after the death of Joanne’s father (a few months after the adoption). They would then try to get their son back, but it would be too late. Steve Jobs would not meet his biological mother until 20 years later. Abdulfattah and Joanne went on to have a daughter together in 1957, Mona, Steve Jobs’s biological sister. Today, she is the famous author Mona Simpson.

Steve Jobs had four children: a first daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs, born in 1978, whom he did not acknowledge legally until several years after her birth, and three children (Reed, Erin and Eve) with Laurene Powell whom he married in 1991.

A Child Passionate About Electronics

Paul, adoptive father of little Steve, was a machinist in a laser factory. He taught his son the basics of electronics. His mother Clara, an accountant, taught him math and reading before he even went to school. Two years after Steve’s adoption, Paul and Clara would adopt a baby girl named Patty.

Steve’s passion for electronics and computers is ongoing throughout his childhood. Moreover, at the age of 13, Steve, as a child, did not hesitate to call all by himself the president of the Hewlett-Packard company to ask for a summer job there. His request is accepted!

At the same time, the teenager has a decisive encounter, that of Steve Wozniak (alias Woz), a classmate five years his senior who shares the same passion as him. The two boys would carry out numerous electronic experiments together. Among these, they notably build the blue box, a device that makes it possible to hack telephone companies to make long-distance calls. Steve Job said that it was this invention that would inspire him, years later, to design Apple.

Oriental Spirituality, LSD, and Travel to India

After high school in Cupertino, California, Steve Jobs continues his studies at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. At the same age, the young Steve Jobs also begins to take an interest in oriental spirituality. He becomes a vegetarian. Evolving with the hippie trend of the time, he listens to Bob Dylan and the Beatles (of whom he would remain a fan his entire life), and experiments with LSD which, according to him, greatly opened his mind and allowed him to “see things differently”.

At the age of 19 and as a student, Jobs returns to his parents. He finds a job at Atari as a video game designer. However, that same year, in 1974, Steve Jobs momentarily leaves his post to go on a trip to India. The trip lasts seven months and transforms the young computer scientist. In India, he spends a significant period of time in an ashram and becomes a Buddhist. He returns to the United States with a shaved head, dressed in traditional Indian clothes. Later on, Steve Jobs would often say repeatedly that this experience was significant in his life.

Apple’s Beginnings

Back from India, Steve Jobs returns to his job at Atari. He helps design the famous Breakout Pong-like game. In parallel, he works with his friend Woz on an inexpensive computer prototype in the back of his parents’ garage in Los Altos.

On April 1, 1976, at the age of 21, Steve Jobs signs Apple’s deed of foundation with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne (replaced two weeks later by the investor, Mike Markkula). In 1977, three years before the release of the IBM PC, the Apple II is marketed. This can be considered as the first personal computer built on a large scale.

It is a huge success: in December 1980, Apple goes public, making Steve Jobs a multimillionaire at the age of twenty-five.

Steve Jobs, A Visionary Entrepreneur

From the early 80s, Steve Jobs would identify the commercial potential of the graphical interface coupled with the use of a mouse. He is inspired by it to launch the Apple Lisa in 1983. He would later admit to having named the Lisa computer after his daughter, whose paternity he acknowledged several years after her birth. The following year, he releases the Macintosh.

In 1985, Steve Jobs leaves Apple after various conflicts and creates NeXT Inc., but not without taking some of Apple’s best engineers with him. In 1988, the NeXT Computer is marketed. However, being a major technological advancement that is prohibitively expensive, its sales are disappointing.

Steve Jobs then buys out Pixar animation studios. He would run this company for several years, before returning in 1997 to take over the management of Apple. He launches the famous iMac in 1998. Throughout the 2000s, the leader of Apple would continue to innovate with global success:

Steve Jobs and apple

Photo Credit: Matt Buchanan

  • The iPod and iTunes (2001)
  • The iTunes Store (2003) and Apple Stores around the world
  • The iPhone (2007)
  • The App Store (2008)
  • The iPad (2010)

Apple is phenomenally successful. It is one of the richest companies on the planet. Steve Jobs is considered, in 2011, as the 34th wealthiest American (estimated that year to be worth seven billion dollars by Forbes, largely thanks to the sale of Pixar to Disney) and the 110th wealthiest person in the world. Hard to imagine when you see the simplicity of the man still dressed in his iconic black turtleneck, his blue jeans, and his white sneakers…

Steve Jobs, A Charismatic Leader

Steve Jobs revolutionized the information technology industry. Influenced very early in his childhood by his father and the rich personalities who surrounded him, Steve Jobs always knew how to make use of his curiosity, his imagination, and his creativity to invent new things. Nonetheless, he did not see himself as an inventor. Rather, he described himself as an artist knowing how to draw inspiration from what already existed to create new products.

Steve Jobs was not easy-going. He admitted it himself. Although a fervent follower of Zen philosophy, he was described by those around him as someone hot-tempered, impatient, perfectionistic, and extremely demanding. His employees say that he was convinced that by eagerly wanting something he would get it easily. In that respect, he possessed remarkable charisma and persuasiveness.

Steve Jobs brought a different vision of what existed in the entrepreneurial world. In fact, at the end of the 1990s, Steve Jobs developed the Think Different slogan.

His approach, as a leader, was to design his company and its products always at the convergence of art and technology. He was, indeed, completely obsessed with design. In fact, the entrepreneur was a proponent of “vertical integration”, whereby a company exclusively produces everything that makes up its products: the hardware, the operating system which hosts it, the software, applications, peripherals. This is why Apple provides “all-in-one” devices which, when linked together, offer the unique “digital home” experience.

Steve Jobs, More than a Man of Genius: A Symbol that Has Gone Down in History

Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56, from pancreatic cancer which had been eating away at him for 8 years. His death would result in a global tribute to honor the memory of the visionary innovator and genius entrepreneur. Keeping with Steve Jobs’s wishes, Tim Cook has since taken over Apple.

Steve Jobs remains today as a symbol in the computer industry. His speech at Stanford University in 2005 is, among other things, a must to listen to: In the speech, he shares three stories he had experienced, about the importance of making relations, about passion, about death, and about the risks of losing.

65 Inspirational Quotes from Steve Jobs!

Steve Jobs Quotes on Innovation

  • “Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”
  • “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
  • “You have to know how to take what man does best and reshape it in order to integrate it into your own work. Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
  • “Interpersonal computing will revolutionize communication and group work. We are years ahead.”
  • “Innovation is a situation that you choose because you have a burning passion for something.”
  • “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water, or do you want to change the world?”
  • “It’s more fun being a pirate than joining the navy.”
  • “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”
  • “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently; they’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
  • “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Death

  • “Remembering that we are going to die someday is the best way to avoid the trap of believing that we have something to lose.”
  • “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to Heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because 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… Sorry for being so dramatic, but it’s quite true.”
  • “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it were 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.”
  • “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.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Creativity

Steve Jobs and apple

  • Think different.”
  • “Be insaitable. Be crazy.”
  • “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
  • “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”
  • “I’ll trade all my tech for an afternoon with Socrates.”
  • “Great achievements are always preceded by great thoughts.”
  • “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.”
  • “It is not in the status quo that we will prepare a better future. Nor is it reluctance and certainties that will allow us to move forward.”
  • “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. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
  • 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.”
  • “Life can be so much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people who were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Perseverance, Motivation, and Passion

  • “Don’t try to do everything. Do one thing well.”
  • “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
  • “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”
  • “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
  • “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.”
  • “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
  • “If you look carefully, most overnight successes took a long time.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Work and Entrepreneurship

  • “What you decide not to do is as important as what you decide to do.”
  • “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.”
  • “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
  • “My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
  • “The problem with the internet startup craze isn’t that too many people are starting companies; it’s that too many people aren’t sticking with it. That’s somewhat understandable, because there are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations. That’s when you find out who you are and what your values are.”
  • “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”
  • “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Design

  • “Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”
  • “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall, and nobody will see it.”
  • “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste.  And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”
  • “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
  • “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Apple and IT

Steve Jobs and apple

  • “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
  • “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”
  • “In less than a week, we have become the world’s largest music distributor.”
  • “It turned out that 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, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life.”
  • “I am paid 50 cents a year for coming to work, and another 50 cents for doing a good job.”
  • “The iMac is next year’s computer for $1,299, not last year’s computer for $999.”
  • “I think we have the opportunity to take the next big technological step and overtake Microsoft and everyone else.”
  • “There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been’. And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple from the very beginning. We always will.”
  • “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”
  • “The computer is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Money and Wealth

  • “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.”
  • “When I was 25, my net worth was $100 million or so. I decided then that I wasn’t going to let it ruin my life. There’s no way you could ever spend it all, and I don’t view wealth as something that validates my intelligence.”
  • “I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year. It’s very character-building.”

Steve Jobs Quotes on Customers and Consumers

  • “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
  • “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.”
  • “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”
  • “You can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big thing is. There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse’.”

Steve Jobs is an icon of the computer world. Which of these quotes from him resonated the most with you? Do you know of any others? Feel free to share them in the comments!

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