Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Summary

This is the fascinating tale of Steve Jobs, the mythicized founder of Apple. Isaacson gives you an in-depth look at Steve Jobs – his childhood, the businesses he built, his personality quirks, and more.

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Key Takeaways

Who are your heroes?

“One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.”

Don’t look back too much

“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. The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say, ‘Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.’ And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.”

Finding stillness in a restless mind

“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.”

Why are you spending so much time on those slides?

“People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

Real artists steal

“Picasso had a saying – ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ – and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Multiple doors to the same house

“I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.”

Figure out what customers want

“Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Out job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Finding strength in your mortality

“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.”

This line is from Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005.

Keep the curiosity of a child

“Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature’s phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace. He retained the ability to hold two thoughts in his mind simultaneously, to be puzzled when they conflicted, and to marvel when he could smell an underlying unity. ‘People like you and me never grow old,’ he wrote a friend later in life. “We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”

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