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How to Live Before You Die (Essay 11) Exercises

 How to Live Before You Die

by Steve Jobs



a. What is the story about Steve Jobs’ birth?

Answer: Steve Jobs was given birth by an unwed college student. She decided to put him for adoption during her pregnancy. She wanted her baby to be adopted by an educated family so all was set for him to be adopted by a lawyer’s family. To adopt Steve Jobs, a lawyer's family became ready at first. But, after the birth of him, the lawyer's family changed their mind to adopt him because they wanted to adopt a girl. Later on, he was adopted by an uneducated couple named Paul Jobs and Clara Jobs.

b. What does he mean when he says, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”?

Answer: Here in his line, he means our future is uncertain and unpredictable. If we do hard labour at present, it will certainly lead us to success in future. In the same way, our successes and failures of present time depend on our past's different dots but not in our future's dots. The determiner of our present and future is our past as well as different dots of our life. We can’t predict the future but life makes sense when we look at history.

c. What happened when Steve Jobs turned 30? 

Answer: When Steve Jobs turned 30, he got fired from his own company Apple by the board of directors.

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?

Answer: Yes, I agree with his opinions because our love and devotion for our work can lead us towards success. If we love the work with interest, we will certainly become successful. To be great in our work, it's very much important for all of us to love our work which we do.

e. Is death really life’s greatest invention?

Answer: Yes, death is really life's greatest invention. Death is inevitable and nobody lives for forever. Because of death, all want to be mortal. To be mortal, they try to invent something great in their life therefore death is life's change agent also.



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?

Answer: The baby boy was Steve Jobs.

ii. What does ‘do you want him?’ mean?

Answer: 'Do you want him?' means a question related to Steve Jobs' adoption. This question is asked by Steve Jobs’ biological mother to his parents Paul and Clara Jobs who are in the waiting list to adopt the baby.

iii. Who does ‘they’ refer to?

Answer: 'They' refer to Steve Jobs’ parents who are waiting to adopt him.

b. Explain the following lines:

i. “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

Answer: This line has been delivered by the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Jobs in his speech at Stanford University. Here in this line, Steve Jobs advises all the people keep faith and trust in these vital aspects of their life like gut, destiny, life, karma etc. According to Steve Jobs, these aspects move along with success. The trust in these aspects can lead anyone to extreme success. They certainly make differences in our lives.

ii. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Answer: This line has been delivered by the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Jobs in his speech at Stanford University. Here in this line, he is advising people about the importance of time that keeps on running so fast. According to him, we have to utilize our time which is so limited. We shouldn't waste our time living someone else's life. Within this short period, we have to make the right use of our time to bright our future. Time waits for none. Time is primary whereas other things are secondary. We should move ahead without wasting our time.

c. What does he mean by “don’t settle”?

Answer: By "don't settle", he means to suggest people about not settling down the search for the best and satisfactory tasks which they prefer to do. He means to say that we must keep looking for our best works which satisfy us. We should try our best to find suitable tasks. We shouldn't settle down in the matter of our desirable tasks until we find our right tasks that satisfy us. According to him, ‘If we don’t settle, we can certainly lead our life to the journey of success.’

d. Which style of speech is used by the speaker to persuade the audiences?

Answer: To persuade the audiences, personal, informal style of speech is used by the speaker. His speech seems a narrative type where he tries his best to motivate his audiences through his real life-related stories. He uses autobiographical anecdotes in his speech which has tripartite structure. The speech is simple and short based on a lot of encouragement.

e. It is not easy to motivate others. How do you think Steve Jobs’ speech is so inspiring?

Answer: It is not easy to motivate others but I think Steve Jobs' speech is so inspiring. His act of delivering life-related stories in his speech to motive his audiences is outstanding. In his speech, he has shared his personal stories of his life that has inspired most of the people. His speech has various facts related to the life of common people. His speech provides a kind of encouragement and inspiration to the people to move ahead on the way of success and progress. 

f. Why do you think Steve Jobs used the personal narrative storytelling technique in his speech? What influence does it have on the audiences?

Answer: I think Steve Jobs used the personal narrative storytelling technique in his speech to motivate his audiences. His speech has various facts related to hardships and struggles appeared in his life. It has a very positive influence on audiences. Through his speech, the audiences have got a chance to know about hardships and struggles behind a successful life in real sense.


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