Steve Jobs

I just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs and, although I enjoyed the read, I couldn’t help feeling sad for Steve throughout the book. I learned some things from Steve and may post those later, but I’d like to focus on one particular observation from the life of Steve Jobs.


It is impossible to read the book through and miss Steve’s passion to change the world. He wanted Apple to be a company that lasted – his mark on the world. He tried to achieve this through…

  • his ruthless intolerance for anyone in the company who was not what he deemed, “Grade A”.
  • his rockstar-like performance that he scheduled for Apple product launches.
  • his obsession with perfection in the final product.
  • his recruitment of other talented individuals to work for Apple (to former PepsiCo president John Sculley he said something like, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?”)


I think Steve achieved his goal. He changed the world. But this goal (one that is so often found on the lips of ambitious, young students and entrepreneurs) is empty. In the words of Woody Allen, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work — I want to achieve it through not dying.” What good is it if people remember you as someone who changed the world? Steve Jobs, now lying in his grave, doesn’t benefit from his legacy. No, the only way to outlive yourself is to lose your life.


“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

(Mark 8:35-38 ESV)