Steve Jobs’ Last Words?
On July 30 2019, Facebook user Joseph Rudy Rullo shared what were purportedly Apple pioneer Steve Jobs’ last words (archived here), uttered on his deathbed:
The post eventually segued into other musings, but it began with Jobs’ supposed lamentation of his pursuit of wealth and material success over other things:
Steve Jobs died a billionaire, with a fortune of $7 billion, at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer, and here are some of his last words… 👇👇👇
“In other eyes, my life is the essence of success, but aside from work, I have a little joy. And in the end, wealth is just a fact of life to which I am accustomed.”
“At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death. You can hire someone to drive a car for you, make money for you – but you can not rent someone to carry the disease for you. One can find material things, but there is one thing that can not be found when it is lost – “LIFE”. ❤️
Treat yourself well, and cherish others. As we get older we are smarter, and we slowly realize that the watch is worth $30 or $300 – both of which show the same time. Whether we carry a purse worth $30 or $300 – the amount of money in the wallets are the same. Whether we drive a car worth $150,000, or a car worth $30,000 – the road and distance are the same, we reach the same destination. If we drink a bottle worth $300 or wine worth $10 – the “stroller” will be the same. If the house we live in is 300 square meters, or 3000 square meters – the loneliness is the same.”
“Your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. 🌍 Whether you’re flying first class, or economy class – if the plane crashes, you crash with it.”
So, I hope you understand that when you have friends or someone to talk to – this is true happiness! ✅
Iterations of that specific commentary attributed to Jobs circulated on social media for some time, frequently appearing on Facebook.
Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, and the commentary reproduced here began circulating online in 2015.
On October 30 2011, the New York Times published an editorial written by Jobs’ sister Mona Simpson, “A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs.” In it, Simpson wrote of what Jobs’ said last before his death:
This had to be done. Even now, he had a stern, still handsome profile, the profile of an absolutist, a romantic. His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude.
He seemed to be climbing.
But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.
Steve’s final words were:
OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.
Simpson’s piece noted that Jobs had been “successful at a young age,” but the words “money” and “wealth” did not appear in it. In a subsequent portion, she (not he) recalled Jobs’ occasional disinterest in material things:
[Jobs and his family] once embarked on a kitchen remodel; it took years. They cooked on a hotplate in the garage. The Pixar building, under construction during the same period, finished in half the time. And that was it for the Palo Alto house. The bathrooms stayed old. But — and this was a crucial distinction — it had been a great house to start with; Steve saw to that.
This is not to say that he didn’t enjoy his success: he enjoyed his success a lot, just minus a few zeros. He told me how much he loved going to the Palo Alto bike store and gleefully realizing he could afford to buy the best bike there.
Incorrect versions of Steve Jobs’ last words have circulated online since at least 2015, likely attributed to him because of his association with the highly successful Apple brand. However, the only last words attributed to Jobs by his loved ones who were present when he died are “oh wow,” not a lengthy exhortation on the merits of eschewing material success.