How to Live Before You Die by Steve Jobs Summary

How to Live Before You Die by Steve Jobs 


This essay ” How to Live Before You Die” is a motivational speech which has been delivered by the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar, Steve Jobs on 12th June 2005. He delivered this speech at the 114th commencement of Stanford University in the United States. He delivered an inspirational speech about his life-related views publicly. This speech encouraged not only the students of Stanford University but also many people around the world. Here in this speech, Steve Jobs related three different stories based on his life. All these three stories had played very vital roles in shaping his experiences and journey toward a successful career. 

His First Story about Connecting the Dots: 

This first story is about various facts that are linked with his life. Here in the first story, he has narrated his birth, adoption scene and later struggles. According to him, his biological mother was an unwed college graduate student who decided to put him up for adoption before his birth. She wanted her baby to be adopted by graduate parents. To adopt him, a lawyer and his wife became ready at first. But, after his birth, the lawyer’s family changed their mind to adopt him because they wanted to adopt a baby girl. 

Later on, he was adopted by another family. His biological mother refused to sign adoption papers because she found out that the parents were never graduated from high school and college. But, the parents persuaded his biological mother to send him to college someday. Steve joined an expensive college named Reed College at the age of 17. His parents’ all savings were being spent on his college tuition. After six months, he dropped out of Reed college and even those classes of his disinterest. He didn’t have an idea about the further steps of his life. He failed to make meaning of his life. He didn’t get the idea of what he wanted to do in his life. The importance of college itself was in a question mark. He started taking classes of his interest. During those days, he faced a lot of hardships. He joined a calligraphy class to learn about typefaces. 

Calligraphy was quite popular during those days. The speaker learnt serif and sans serif typefaces. For him, the course in calligraphy turned out to be a kind of boon. After 10 years, he used his knowledge of calligraphy and his skills when he was designing the first Macintosh computer. He designed the first Macintosh computer with beautiful typography. While pursuing his curiosity and intuition, he stumbled many times but his hardships turned out to be priceless later on. He realized everything related to dots and their connections in his life. When he looked backwards, he got the idea that how different dots kept on connecting themselves to support him to reach his real destination. His decisions of dropping college and starting the course of his interest, his experiences, hardships, gut and trust in karma (destiny) etc moved along with his steps like different dots. Finally, all these dots got connected and made him successful.

His Advice in this Story:

▪︎You can connect dots looking backwards. 

▪︎You have to trust the connection of dots in your future. 

▪︎You have to trust in your gut, destiny, life, karma. His 

Second Story about Love and Loss: 

Here in this story, he has narrated his story related to his love for his work and the loss of his company. According to him, he found whatever he loved early in his life. He and his friend Woz started Apple company in his parent’s garage at the age of 20. Their small company turned into a 2 billion dollars company with over 4000 employees after 10 years. As the company progressed, they decided to hire a talented person to take over company. 

The company did a great job in the first year. But later on, due to divergence in their visions for the future of their company, the Board of Directors fired him from his own company at the age of 30. It was a quite devastating experience for him. 

He even asked for an apology from David Packard and Bob Noyce for screwing up so badly. He thought as if his entire life was ruined. He felt rejected but he began to realize that he still was in love with the work he did. He decided to start over again. After that, he entered one of the most creative periods of his life. During the next five years, he formed a new company named NeXT, and then Pixar, which turned out to be the most successful animation studio in the world, creating the first computer-animated feature film ‘Toy Story He even fell in love with an amazing woman. Later on, Apple bought NeXT and he returned to Apple again. With mixed technology vision, he was able to dominate the IT market.

His Advice in this Story: 

▪︎Don’t lose faith. 

▪︎Love what you work. 

▪︎Keep looking for your best work that satisfies you…don’t settle

His Third Story about Death: 

Here in this story, Steve has narrated his story about death. At the age of 49, he suffered from pancreatic cancer. His doctors told him that he would be able to live for 3 to 6 months only. But later on, when he had a biopsy, his doctors informed his wife about the treatment of his tumour through surgery. After surgery, he became able to get rid of his pancreatic tumour. During the time of his diagnosis, he experienced his death closely. 

The concept of death taught him a serious lesson in his life. Death is inevitable and nobody lives forever. Nobody wants to die but everyone shares this intellectual concept. Death is really life’s greatest invention. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.     But, he never lost his hope. After his recovery, he kept on working very honestly providing his best for his company is responsible. 

His Advice in this Story: 

▪︎Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. 

▪︎Listen to your inner voice instead of others’ opinions. 

▪︎Follow your heart and intuition. 

▪︎Stay hungry. Stay foolish.