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Posted: January 12, 2012

Inside the mind of Steve Jobs

Book collects wit, wisdom and inspiration from Apple's visionary founder

Mike Cote

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Just about anything Steve Jobs ever uttered was scrutinized as closely as the latest word from the Federal Reserve chief. It was not just about what Apple was going to do next but how the brain of a genius works.

The publication of Walter Isaacson's best-selling biography of Jobs had its release date moved up to November as Jobs' health further deteriorated. The tome's arrival a month after the death of Jobs' death coincided with the release of a much slimmer volume, the pocket-sized I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words (Edited by George Beahm, Agate B2, $10.95).

This handy 160-page paperback groups Jobs' quotes by subject and is the kind of book you want to have handy when you need a moment of inspiration. Here's a baker's dozen:

1. "We're not going to be the first to this party, but we're going to be the best." (Apple event for iPhone OS 4.0, April 8, 2010.

2. "My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people." ("60 Minutes," 2003)

3. "We do no market research. We don't hire consultants. ... We just want to make great products." (CNNMoney/Fortune, February 2008.)

4. "What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds (Memory & Imagination, 1990)

5. "My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better." (CNNMoney.com/Fortune, February 2008.)

6. "People think focus means saying yes to thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully." (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, March 13-16, 1997)

7. "If you want to live in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back much. You have to be willing to take whatever you've done and whoever you were and throw them away." (Playboy, February 1985)

8. "I'm the only person I know that's lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year. ... It's very character building." (Apple Confidential 2.0, 2004)

9. "What happens in most companies is that you don't keep great people under working environments where individual accomplishment is discouraged rather than encouraged. The great people leave you and you end up with mediocrity. I know, because that's how Apple was built." (Playboy, February 1985)

10. "I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next." (msnbc.com, May 25, 2006)

11. "Music companies make more money when they sell a song on iTunes than when they sell a CD. If they want to raise prices, it's because they're greedy. If the price goes up, people turn back to piracy - and everybody loses."

12. Victory in our industry is spelled survival. The way we're going to survive is to innovate our way out of this. (Time, Feb. 5, 2003)

13. "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. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." (Commencement address, Stanford University, June 12, 2005.)

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Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at mcote@cobizmag.com.

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Readers Respond

Beautiful, insightful look at one of the (in my humble opinion) Mozarts of our generation. Makes me even more eager to read the book. By Cathie Beck on 2012 01 13

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