The Crosby Chronicles: Death as the single best invention

With the passing of Steve Jobs a couple of weeks ago, and the publication of his authorized biography this week, many are recognizing the talents that Jobs brought through his technological contributions to society. However, he could also be quite a philosopher.

In reading over what has been written about him recently, the most fascinating item is a commencement speech he made at Stanford University in 2005.  Jobs was a man who was well aware of his mortality since 2004 when he was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  What he told Stanford graduates are words of wisdom all of us should listen to.

“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life . . . It clears out the old to make way for the new,” he told the students. "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. . . . have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

For a man who coveted his privacy, this speech is as close as we’ll ever get to know what drove him in the final years of his life.

Brian Crosby is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.  He can be reached at

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