Summary of How to Live Before You Die
In his speech, 'How to Live Before You Die' Steve Jobs shares three stories from his own life and reflects on the importance of following one's passions, taking risks, and not settling for less than what one wants in life. He discusses his own experiences dropping out of college and being fired from Apple, and how these experiences ultimately led to success.
He also emphasizes the value of trusting in one's instincts and being open to new experiences, even if they seem unrelated to one's goals at the time. Throughout the speech, Steve Jobs encourages the audience to pursue their passions and to take control of their own lives, rather than living someone else's. He concludes by sharing his motto "Stay hungry; stay foolish," which encourages a mindset of curiosity, ambition, and a willingness to take risks.
Understanding the Text
Answer the following questions.
a. What is the story about Steve Jobs’ birth?
Steve Jobs' biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student who decided to put him up for adoption. She wanted him to be adopted by college graduates, but when he was born, the couple who had planned to adopt him decided they wanted a girl instead. Steve's parents, who were on a waiting list, were offered the opportunity to adopt Steve and agreed to do so.
b. What does he mean when he says, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”?
When Steve Jobs says "you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards," he means that it is difficult to understand the significance or importance of events or experiences as they are happening, but that looking back on them, it is possible to see how they fit into a larger narrative or trajectory.
c. What happened when Steve Jobs turned 30?
When Steve Jobs turned 30, he was fired from Apple, the company he co-founded.
d. Jobs contends that you need to love to do what you do in order to be great at it. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
I agree with Steve Jobs that it is important to love what you do in order to be great at it. When we are passionate about something, we are more likely to put in the time and effort needed to excel and to be motivated to continue learning and improving. Additionally, loving what we do can make the experience of doing it more enjoyable and fulfilling.
e. Is death really life’s greatest invention?
It is subjective whether death is really life's greatest invention. Some may argue that death serves an important purpose in the cycle of life and allows for new generations to take the place of the old. Others may see death as a tragic and unfortunate aspect of life.
Reference to the Context
a. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:“We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.”
i. Who was the baby boy?
The baby boy was Steve Jobs.
ii. What does ‘do you want him?’ mean?
"Do you want him?" means "do you want to adopt him?"
iii. Who does ‘they’ refer to?
'They' refers to Steve Jobs' parents, who were on a waiting list to adopt a child.
b. Explain the following lines:
i. “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
"You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever." This means that it is important to believe in something and to follow your instincts or inner guidance. This can help you make decisions and navigate life with confidence and purpose.
ii. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." This means that you should not spend your time trying to live up to other people's expectations or following someone else's path. Instead, you should focus on your own goals and dreams and make the most of the time you have. It is important to be true to yourself and to live your own life rather than trying to fit into someone else's idea of what your life should be.
c. What does he mean by “don’t settle”?
When Steve Jobs says "don't settle," he means that you should not settle for less than what you want or deserve in life. This can refer to many different things, such as a job that does not fulfill you, a relationship that is not fulfilling, or not living up to your own potential. Essentially, he is encouraging people not to compromise on their goals or values and to strive for what they truly want in life.
d. Which style of speech is used by the speaker to persuade the audience?
Steve Jobs used a personal and informal style of expression in his speech, and the speech was structured as a narrative, with three stories from his own life. This style of expression and structure can be effective in persuading an audience by making the speaker more relatable and engaging.
e. It is not easy to motivate others. How do you think Steve Jobs’ speech is so inspiring?
There are several factors that may have contributed to the inspiring nature of Steve Jobs' speech. Some potential reasons could include:
Personal anecdotes: By sharing personal stories from his own life, Steve Jobs was able to connect with the audience on a more personal level and make his message more relatable. This can be particularly effective in inspiring others because it shows that he has faced challenges and setbacks, but has overcome them and achieved success.
Passion and conviction: Steve Jobs clearly believed in what he was saying, and this passion and conviction may have been contagious and inspiring to the audience. When we see someone who is passionate and committed to a cause, it can motivate us to pursue our own goals with greater dedication and enthusiasm.
Inspiring message: The message of the speech itself may have been inspiring to the audience. Steve Jobs emphasized the importance of following your passions, taking risks, and not settling for less than what you want in life. These are messages that can motivate and inspire people to pursue their own dreams and goals.
Effective delivery: Finally, the way in which Steve Jobs delivered the speech may have contributed to its inspiring nature. His delivery may have been engaging, dynamic, and compelling, which can help to hold the audience's attention and make the message more impactful.
f. Why do you think Steve Jobs used the personal narrative storytelling technique in his speech? What influence does it have on the audiences?
There are several reasons why Steve Jobs may have used the personal narrative storytelling technique in his speech. Some potential reasons could include:
To connect with the audience: By sharing personal stories from his own life, Steve Jobs was able to connect with the audience on a more personal level and make his message more relatable. This can be particularly effective in inspiring others because it shows that he has faced challenges and setbacks, but has overcome them and achieved success.
To illustrate his points: The stories that Steve Jobs shared may have been used to illustrate the points he was trying to make. By using concrete examples from his own life, he was able to make his message more concrete and easier for the audience to understand and remember.
To make the speech more engaging: The use of personal stories can make a speech more engaging and interesting for the audience. People often enjoy hearing about other people's experiences and can be more likely to pay attention to a speech if it is structured around a narrative.
Overall, the use of personal narrative storytelling can have a powerful influence on the audience by making the speaker more relatable, helping to illustrate the message, and making the speech more engaging.
Reference Beyond the Text
One of Steve Jobs mottos was: 'Think differently'. Can this make a person succeed in life? What challenges are there in thinking differently?
Thinking differently can certainly be a valuable asset in life and can help a person to achieve success. By approaching problems and situations in innovative and non-conventional ways, a person may be able to come up with solutions or ideas that others have not considered. This can be particularly helpful in situations where the traditional approaches are not working or where a fresh perspective is needed.
However, there can also be challenges to thinking differently. For example, it may be difficult for a person to break free from established patterns of thinking and to challenge the status quo. Additionally, others may not always be receptive to new or unconventional ideas, and a person who thinks differently may face resistance or skepticism from others.
Ultimately, whether thinking differently leads to success will depend on the individual and the specific circumstances. It is important for a person to be open to new ideas and approaches, but also to be aware of the potential challenges and to be prepared to work hard and persevere in the face of obstacles.
What does the slogan “Stay hungry; stay foolish” mean to you?
To me, the slogan "Stay hungry; stay foolish" means that it is important to always be open to learning and growing, and to be willing to take risks and try new things. The word "hungry" suggests a desire for knowledge and progress, and the word "foolish" suggests a willingness to embrace uncertainty and challenge the status quo. By staying "hungry" and "foolish," a person can continue to learn, grow, and pursue new opportunities, even if it means stepping outside of their comfort zone. Overall, this slogan encourages a mindset of curiosity, ambition, and a willingness to take risks, which can be valuable qualities in achieving success and fulfillment in life.
What does it mean to be a visionary? What makes Steve Jobs different from a fortune teller?
A visionary is a person who has a clear and inspiring vision of the future and has the ability to communicate and inspire others to work towards that vision. A visionary is often innovative and forward-thinking and may be able to see possibilities or potential that others do not.
In contrast, a fortune teller is a person who claims to be able to predict the future or reveal hidden knowledge through the use of divination or other supernatural means. Fortune tellers do not necessarily have a clear vision of the future or the ability to inspire others to work towards it, but rather rely on methods such as reading tarot cards or consulting with spirits to make predictions.
Steve Jobs is often referred to as a visionary because of his ability to anticipate and shape the future of technology through his work at Apple. He had a clear vision for the company and was able to inspire others to work towards that vision. However, he was not a fortune teller and did not rely on supernatural means to predict the future or reveal hidden knowledge. Instead, he relied on his own insights, skills, and leadership abilities to guide the direction of Apple and shape the future of technology.