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Steve Jobs' Inspirational Advice: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on December 16, 2008

Every year recently, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I play what I consider the most inspiration speech I have every heard and it is given, rather oddly, by Apple’s Steve Jobs. In a 2005 Stanford Commencement address, not long after being told he was going to die from pancreatic cancer—and then told he would live—Jobs delivered this philosophical message.

In about 15 minutes, he told the student audience: “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.”

The story of his adoption and his dropping out of Reed College (yes, they are connected), has always moved me. The story of his intellectual vagabondage and his connecting the dots of his experience and learning is compelling. Believing that the dots will connect down the road, he says, will give you confidence to follow your own road.

He ends by saying “Stay hungry , stay foolish,” I’ve always wished that for myself. Then Jobs tells the students, “now I wish that for you.”

As we enter this particular holiday season surrounded by economic panic, Jobs’ speech is a bit of good cheer. It always cheers me up this time of year. Even more so today.

Reader Comments

Ralf Beuker

December 16, 2008 8:15 AM

Bruce, this is indeed one of your most authentic (recent) postings as well. Happy Holidays and all the best for 2009!

Christa Avampato

December 28, 2008 2:27 AM

Hi Bruce - thanks so much for posting this link. I need to hear that message too!


peter bordes

December 28, 2008 11:27 AM

Thank you for the post. It is very inspiring content for those wanting to do things a little differently and innovate. We use many of these principle in our culture at MediaTrust.

Happy Holidays!

Nii Ayi

December 30, 2008 11:39 AM

Truly stay hungry,stay foolish. I have a podcast of this speech and it always lifts me up.


February 11, 2009 11:16 PM


Sarah Gershman

September 15, 2009 2:18 PM

I couldn't agree with you more. I am a public speaking coach and just posted about this speech in my public speaking advice blog,

I am particularly inspired by the degree to which he takes seriously the importance of loving what you do.

I would love to hear feedback!

Thank you.


Post a comment



Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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