Steve Jobs, arguably one of the most influential businessmen of the past 100 years, was equally famous For Zenlike meditations and the generation-defining products he helped create.
A new book, Make Something Great: Steve Jobs in His Own Words, brings together the late Apple Inc.
The Steve Jobs Archive was launched by Lauren Powell Jobs, Jobs’ widow. Apple CEO Tim Cook; and legendary Apple designer Jony Ive in September 2024.
One of the recurring themes in the book is Jobs’ goal to encourage people to do things that move the world forward. The book quotes his saying, “There are so many ways to be, as a person.” Some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways I think people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is by making something cool and putting it out there.”
Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56 in October 2011, often referred to himself as a toolmaker. “I don’t think my taste in aesthetics is much different from a lot of other people. The difference is that I get really stubborn about making things as good as we all know they can be. That’s the only difference,” the notorious perfectionist once said.
The book divides Jobs’ life into eras, complete with quotes on a variety of topics.
On his spiritual journey at the beginning of his life:
“The idealistic wind of the ’60s was still at our back, and most people I know my age are forever rooted in them.”
On his transformative journey to India:
“I’m kind of surprised at the summing up [my trip to India]. Anyone would find it difficult to summarize a meaningful experience from their life in a page. I mean, if I were William Faulkner, I might be able to do it for you, but I’m not.”
When creating Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad:
“A lot of people put a lot of love into these products.”
“And each of these revolutionary user interfaces has enabled a revolutionary product—the Mac, the iPod, and now the iPhone.”
Upon failure, he was ousted from Apple to the disappointment of Next Software Inc. , in his follow-up to Apple:
“You can never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times.”
After selling Next to Apple for $400 million in 1996, Jobs became concerned about the toxic and defeatist culture that existed within Apple under the divisive leadership of then-CEO Gil Amelio:
“The network is the really bad Apple culture we’ve heard about still lurking there.”
On a major influence in his career:
“Walt Disney used to say to his team, ‘We’re only as good as our next picture.’ Well, we’re only as good as our next amazing new product.”
On the death rate:
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. However, death is a destination we all share. No one ever escaped it. And that’s how it should be, because death is probably better.” An invention in life. It is a life changing agent. It removes the old to make room for the new.”
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t get caught up in dogma—living with the results of other people’s thinking.”
On his life philosophy:
“Life can be so much broader once you discover one simple truth – and that is: everything around you that you call life has been made by people no smarter than you.”
“And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own stuff so other people can use it.”