Before You Read

Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, and grew up in California’s Silicon Valley.  As a boy, Jobs would work with his father on electronics in the family garage.

Jobs didn’t know what he really wanted to do with his life.  He spent two years at Reed College.  He became interested in Zen Buddhism.  He even traveled to India in search of spiritual enlightenment.

Jobs started Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak in 1976.  Its products became the standards of modern technology.

In June 2005, Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford University.  He talked about three stories: connecting the dots, love and loss, and life and death.

In October 2011, Steve Jobs died at the age of 56.




Section 1

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world.  I never graduated from college.  Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.  Today I want to tell you three stories from my life.  That’s it.  No big deal.  Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months, but then stayed around for another 18 months or so before I really left.

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.  The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy classes in the country.  Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully written by hand.  Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this.  None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life.  But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me.  And we designed it all into the Mac.  It was the first computer with beautiful typography.  If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.  Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college.  But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.




Section 2

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky—I found what I loved to do early in life.  Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20.  We worked hard, and in 10 years it had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees.  We had just released our finest creation—the Macintosh—a year earlier, and I had just turned 30.  And then I got fired.  So at 30 I was out.  And very publicly out.  What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months.  I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the Valley.  But something slowly began to dawn on me—I still loved what I did.  The turn of events had not changed that one bit.  I had been rejected, but I was still in love.  And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired 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, less sure about everything.  It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired.  It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.  Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.  Don’t lose faith.  I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.  You’ve got to find what you love.  And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.  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.  And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.  So keep looking until you find it.  Don’t settle.




Section 3

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”  It made an impression on me, and since then, 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 long, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything—all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  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.

About a year ago my doctor told me I had cancer of the pancreas.  I didn’t even know what a pancreas was.  The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months.  My doctor advised me to go home and put things in order, meaning I should prepare to die.  It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months.  It means to make sure everything is settled so that it will be as easy as possible for your family.  It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that knowledge that I was going to die all day.  Later that evening I had another test.  It turned out to be a very rare form of cancer that is curable with surgery.  I had the surgery and I’m fine now.




Section 4

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades.  Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more confidence than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

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.  It is Life’s change agent.  It clears out the old to make way for the new.  Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.  Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by old ideas—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.

When I was young, there was an amazing magazine called the Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation.  It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch.  This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and small cameras.  It was sort of like Google in magazine form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of the Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue.  It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age.  On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous.  Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.”  It was their farewell message as they signed off.  Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.  And I have always wished that for myself.  And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.



























私が17のとき、私はこのように言っている名言を読んだ。「もしあなたが各日をあたかも人生最後(の日)のように生きたら、いつの日かあなたは絶対正しくなる」 それは私に感銘を与えた、そしてそれ以来、過去33年間、私は毎朝、鏡をじっと見て自問している。「もしきょうが私の人生最後の日だとしたら、きょうまさに私がやろうとしていることを私はやりたいだろうか」 そして答えがとても長い間「ノー」であるときはいつも、私はなにかを変える必要があると私は知る。










スチュアートと彼のチームは『ホールアースカタログ』の数号を世に出し、そしてそれがその役目を果たすと、彼らは最終号を出した。それは1970年代中ごろだった、そして私はあなたたちの年齢だった。最終号の裏表紙には、早朝の田舎道で、あなたがもし冒険好きならヒッチハイクをしている自分に気づくかもしれないような類の道の写真が載っていた。写真の下にはことばがあった。「ハングリーなままであれ。愚かなままであれ」 それは彼らが(雑誌を)終えるときの別れのメッセージだった。ハングリーなままであれ。愚かなままであれ。そして、私は自分自身に対してもそれを常に望んできた。そしていま、あなたたちが卒業し新たに始めるにあたり、あなたたちにもそれを願う。