Steve Jobs was a relentless entrepreneur.
Both an innovator and a visionary, he was also a legend during his life, which is a rarity. And with a net worth estimated to be more than $10 billion when he died in 2011, he was no stranger to making a business successful.
He was also quite opinionated. Never one to pull punches, his candid thoughts on business, art, entrepreneurship, and how to make the most of life are straightforward but often surprisingly wise.
Here are a few Steve Jobs quotes sure to inspire, motivate, and entertain:
- "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."
- "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."
- "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
- "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."
- "My model for business is the Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts."
- "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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- "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."
- "Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith."
- "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."
- "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."
- "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." (my emphasis)
- "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."
- [to a job applicant] "We are inventing the future. 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."
- "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."
- "We don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one 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."
- "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."
- "If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you've done and whoever you were and throw them away."
- "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."
- "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
- "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."
- "It's better to be a pirate than to join the navy."
- "My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."
- "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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "Things don't have to change the world to be important."
- "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them."
- "I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."
- "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."