Steve Jobs' Life By Design: Lessons to be Learned from His Last Lecture
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On June 12, 2005, Steve Jobs gave his first―and only―commencement address, to the 114th graduating class at Stanford University, an audience of approximately 23,000. They witnessed history: Jobs' 22-minute prepared speech subsequently reached 26 million online viewers worldwide. It is by far the most popular commencement address in history, framed with "three stories" that succinctly summed up the most important lessons Jobs learned in life. Life-changing lessons, he explained, can only be connected when looking back, which he had done in preparation for his talk.
Steve Jobs' Life by Design starts with Jobs' own words in the text of his talk and expands outward from there. In the address, Jobs gave us the dots, but he didn't have the luxury of time to connect them. So much about his life, his viewpoint, and his personal and business philosophies were mentioned but not explained. We know what he said, but what actually did he mean? What can we learn from him?
This book connects those dots. We see Jobs' life and career through his own eyes, in context, and in proper perspective. His process of looking back illuminated his life―and by doing so, he serves as an inspiration to illuminate our lives as well.
appearance and presentation, consuming six months of his time. The store’s layout initially grouped computers by model. It was an easy way to find the desktops in one location, the laptops in another, and so on. Finally, the prototype store in Cupertino was ready for presentation to the Apple board. But Ron Johnson, the senior vice president of retail operations, had a different, and significantly better, vision: Instead of grouping products together by computers, group them by functional
must have a plate affixed no later than six months. So he drove without plates simply by switching cars. Yacht Venus. Designed by Phillipe Starck, this 256-footer was commissioned by Jobs in 2007 for $138 million. The oceangoing vessel launched from the Feadship shipyards in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands, on October 28, 2012—a year after Jobs died. The yacht’s name is a reference to the Roman goddess famous for “love, beauty, sex, fertility, and prosperity.” It also recalls the famous Botticelli
Web page, October 6, 2011, http://www.computerworld .com/s/article/9220609/Steve_Jobs_interview_One_on_one_in_19 95?taxonomyId=214&pageNumber=10. 3. Joe Nocera, “Apple’s Culture of Secrecy,” New York Times, July 26, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/26/business/26nocera.ht ml?sq=&st=nyt&scp=170&pagewanted=all&_r=0. 4. Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster, 2011), 51. Chapter 20 1. Sharon Betley, “Jobs’s Unorthodox Treatment,” thedailybeast.com, October 5, 2011,
No one would have expected Jobs, at that point in his life, to concern himself with business matters. But he did so because it was important to him. He seized the day. He lived every day as if it were his last. Jobs’ life philosophy was, in the words of James Dean, “Dream as if you will live forever; live as if you will die today.” By living that philosophy to the max, Jobs simply accomplished more. He revolutionized not only one business but several, as musician Bono pointed out. “He changed
pieces for his collection when he returned to California. Jobs’ fascination with Shakunaga’s manufacturing process recalls a comment former Apple CEO John Sculley made about Jobs: “He was a person of huge vision. But he was also a person that believed in the precise detail of every step. He was methodical and careful about everything—a perfectionist to the end.”2 Sound Business Practices Jobs’ inquisitiveness also led him to innovate his business. He studied Akio Morita’s career to see how he