The Best Quotes From Steve Jobs’ 1982 Speech to the Academy of Achievement


Neil: This speech was given by then 26-year-old Steve Jobs as an acceptance speech to the Academy of Achievement, which is a broader version of the Academy that gives out Oscars. This Steve Jobs is at the top of his first mountain; everything is seemingly going right. (He is fired from Apple just three years later.)

  • Audio: YouTube
  • Transcript: Genius
  • Book Recommendation: Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli is a superior biography vs. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (which is the authorized biography of Steve Jobs’ life). While the latter felt like the story Steve Jobs wanted you to remember, the former included more of the nuance, both positive and negative, that made Jobs such an interesting character. (FYI: Both of these book links would earn me an affiliate commission if you bought anything, but I’m recommending you the cheaper, better book.)
  • This post is part of my series of Notes collecting quotes from my favorite documentaries, interviews, and speeches.

On Intelligence:

  • It’s the ability to sorta zoom out like you’re in the city and you can look at the whole thing from about the 80th floor down at the city… You can see the whole thing, and you can make connections that just seem obvious because you can see the whole thing.

On Experiences:

  • “But the key thing is that if you’re gonna make connections which are innovative, you’ve — to connect two experiences together, that you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does.

On Public Service:

  • “The people actually making these decisions everyday, that’re sorta running the world, are not really very much different than you… once you realize that, you start to feel you have a responsibility to do something about it, because the world’s in pretty bad shape right now.

On Creating:

  • We’re sorta taking from this giant pool constantly. And the most ecstatic thing in the whole world is to actually put something back into that pool.

On Duty:

  • “When you pass a certain age – I don’t know what is, 25, 30 years old, you sort of as a human being inherit the responsibility of being a guard of the Earth for future generations, of which you are all a member to inherit.”

On Kids:

  • “I anticipate having some kids one day, and helping ‘em grow up to be sane human beings. And you people are gonna be the people that’re running the planet when my kids grow up, so would you please pay attention to this problem”
    • (Lisa was born in 1978, 4 years earlier.)

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is a scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He is the founder & CEO of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup designing low-cost respirators and ventilators for COVID-19 and beyond. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Labdoor, a consumer watchdog that independently tests and ranks supplements and other health products for its 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has worked with community organizations since 2007 and political campaigns since 2016 to fight for better education and economic opportunities in Michigan.