Steve Jobs’s Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005

Steve Jobs’s Commencement address at Stanford University on June 12, 2005 is one of my favorite speeches of all time, up there with David Foster Wallace’s. Jobs, of course, is a larger-than-life figure who transcended the tech industry and is probably one of the most influential human beings who have ever lived. I’m typing this on the computer (iMac) that he pioneered and use the devices (iPhone and iPad) that he and Apple created every day. He has literally changed how we live.

The speech he gave to Stanford’s 2005 graduating class had numerous great lines. Here are some of the best ones:

  • “Again, 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.”
  • “‘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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”
  • “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
  • “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Read all of Jobs’s speech here and watch the video, too.