There’s a lot to say about Steve Jobs: controversial, visionary, perfectionist, inventor, genius, and the list goes on. Most of us fell in love with Steve Jobs through the Apple Inc. brand and its innovative products. His never-give-up attitude is what made me a fan of his.
Jobs went head to head against computer giant IBM when Apple was just a newcomer in the industry. In 1985, he was ousted out of his own company that he co-founded. A decade later, Jobs returned to turn a struggling business into the world’s most innovative – and wealthiest – company.
Steve Jobs is an inspiration to many of us because he didn’t hesitate to take big risks. He bounced back from defeat time and again to become more successful than before. Although many of his methods were unconventional, he knew how to lead others to achieve the “impossible”.
Below are 50+ quotes from Steve Jobs that will inspire you to take risks, think big, and have passion for what you do. These quotes come from the works of Walter Isaacson, interviews, his famous Stanford University speech, and the Think Different commercial.
Steve Jobs Quotes on Time
1.) “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
2.) “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.” – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
3.) “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” – Playboy, February, 1985
4.) “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. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.” – Newsweek, October 14, 2006
5.) “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
6.) “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” – I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words, 2001
7.) “We don’t get a chance to do that many things and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.” – Fortune, March, 2008
8.) “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
9.) “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don’t blame them. It’s really tough and it consumes your life.
If you’ve got a family and you’re in the early days of a company, I can’t imagine how one could do it. I’m sure it’s been done but it’s rough. It’s pretty much an 18-hour day job, seven days a week for a while. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive.” – Smithsonian Institution Oral History Interview, April 20, 1995
10.) “Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” – Bloomberg BusinessWeek, February 5, 2006
11.) “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.” – Steve Jobs
12.) “The greatest thing is when you do put your heart and soul into something over an extended period of time, and it is worth it.” – Steve Jobs
13.) “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.” – Steve Jobs
14.) “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.” – Steve Jobs
15.) “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and…to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that 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.” – Interview with Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, 1994
Quotes from Steve Jobs about Innovation
16.) “We are inventing the future,” [Jobs told a job applicant]. “Think about surfing on the front edge of a wave. It’s really exhilarating. Now think about dog-paddling at the tail end of that wave. It wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun. Come down here and make a dent in the universe.” – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
17.) “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs
18.) “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
19.) “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.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
20.) “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
21.) “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay…
The minute I dropped out I [began] dropping in on the [classes] that looked interesting… I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.” – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
22.) “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s 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.” – CBS: 60 Minutes, 2008
23.) “My self-identity does not revolve around being a businessman, though I recognize that is what I do. I think of myself more as a person who builds neat things. I like building neat things. I like making tools that are useful to people. I like working with very bright people.
I like interacting in the world of ideas, though somehow those ideas have to be tied to some physical reality. One of the things I like the most is dropping a new idea on a bunch of incredibly smart and talented people and then letting them work it out themselves. I like all of that very, very much.” – Esquire, December, 1986
24.) “Don’t let the noise of other’s’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
25.) “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. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.” – Playboy, February, 1985
26.) “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.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
27.) “Even if we lose our money, we’ll have a company,” Jobs told Steve Wozniak early on, in the mid-1970s. “For once in our lives, we’ll have a company.” – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
28.) “I don’t really care about being right, I just care about success. You’ll find a lot of people that will tell you I had a very strong opinion, and they presented evidence to the contrary and five minutes later I changed my mind. I don’t mind being wrong, and I’ll admit that I’m wrong a lot. It doesn’t really matter to me too much. What matters to me is that we do the right thing.” – Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, 2012
29.) “You think, well, focusing is saying yes. No, focusing is about saying no. Focusing is about saying no. And you’ve got to say no, no, no. When you say no, you piss off people.” – Steve Jobs
30.) “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.” – Steve Jobs
Quotes from Steve Jobs about Marketing
31.) “Picasso had a saying – ‘good artists copy, great artists steal‘ – and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” – Steve Job by Walter Isaacson
32.) “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.” – Wired, February, 1996
33.) “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.” – Steve Jobs
34.) “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.” – World Wide Developers Conference, May 1997
35.) “Bottom line is, I didn’t return to Apple to make a fortune. I’ve been very lucky in my life and already have one. 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.” – Words of Wisdom: Steve Jobs
36.) “I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.” – Steve Jobs
37.) “Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” – Steve Jobs
38.) “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out…And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
39.) “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” – Rolling Stone, June 16, 1994
40.) “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.” – Steve Jobs
41.) “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – New York Times Magazine, Nov. 30, 2003
42.) “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.” – Inc. Magazine, April 1, 1989
43.) “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” – Fortune, November, 1998
44.) “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
45.) “You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.” – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
46.) “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.” – Steve Jobs
47.) “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.” – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
48.) “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” – World Wide Developers Conference, May 1997
49.) “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. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Stanford University Commencement Speech, 2005
50.) “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. 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 ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different – Apple Advertisement, 1997
Were you inspired by these quotes from Steve Jobs?
It is not hard to understand why Steve Jobs is admired by millions. His passion for perfection helped him to become one of the greatest innovative minds of all time. His will to do the impossible fueled all who followed him and made his doubters become believers.
Anytime you feel discouraged by this roller coaster ride that we call life; I ask you to think about these quotes from Steve Jobs – his passion, and his will to take big risk despite others calling him crazy.
Here’s to the crazy ones; think different, my friends…