Steve Jobs Biography — On Innovation

“Here is to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you cannot do is ignore them. Because they change things, they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. ” –Apple Think Different Commercial

I didn’t know the commercial before I read the book. After reading the chapters on Steve Jobs’s return at Apple in late 1990s, I spent a Saturday morning watching various versions of the commercials and related videos on the web, and just started crying. Through these videos, I saw the rebellious nature, the defiance to the status quo, and most of all, the courage to act upon the will. I kept thinking what the provost of Stanford said when he introduced Steve Jobs in the 2005 commencement speech: “creativity and innovation starts by thinking differently”. To me, iPad exemplifies this way of thinking. One may say iPod and iPhone have clear predecessors: various mp3 players and blackberry smartphones, respectively. But for iPad, why would anyone need an enlarged iPod touch or a compact laptop? Having bought one myself two weeks ago, I start to appreciate its convenience and respect the vision behind its creation.

On the effect of habitual thinking, Jobs said when he was thirty: “Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them….If you really want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. ” Bob Dylan, Jobs’s music hero, put it more bluntly “if you are not busy being born, you are busy dying.” It’s inspiring and instructive to see the most creative and productive period of Jobs’s life is after he turned thirty.

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Wendong Wang

A chemist who blogs

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