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Steve Jobs’ Speech “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” Analysis Essay

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Updated: Jan 13th, 2022

Steve Jobs’ speech “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” was presented to the graduates of Stanford University on June 12, 2005. This speech is very interesting for the analysis taking into account that fact that it differs from the usual Steve Jobs’ style of presentation at the meetings of his company. This appeal for the students is presented in a quite friendly and warm atmosphere.

Let us have a closer look at the parts of the speech namely the introduction, the main body consisting of three stories from Steve Jobs’ life and the conclusion which is rather an appeal to the students. It should be noted that there is quite a strong opening of the speech. The speech begins from the greeting and compliment for the audience: “I am honoured to be with you today for your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world” (Jobs, 2005) Such beginning already settles the audience to the positive concord and the listeners are ready to accept the speech. More than that, Steve Jobs demonstrates modesty by these words as far as he has not graduated college.

The speech is presented in conversational style as if he is a friend to the audience. Such a style of presentation is very accepted by the students. Steve Jobs does not forgive the age of his audience namely the graduates of the university and he uses a colloquial style of speech which they usually use in their everyday life and adds some humour to discharge the intense atmosphere. More than that, Jobs use quite simple structures and sentences which make his speech easy to understand. Although he speaks to well-educated students, he does not use sophisticated and complicated structures which make the students think over the meaning. Steve Jobs’ main aim is to pass the main idea to the students thus he chooses the simplest words to do this.

Steve Jobs uses pauses to separate the key points and to attract the students’ attention to the main ideas. More than that, Steve Jobs’ speech is full of interesting stylistic devices. He resorts to the use of parallelism in many sentences for example: “ that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school.” (1:38) Repetitions are also successfully used in his speech to attract more attention to the key points of his stories.

Steve Jobs uses the rule of three in his speech, namely, he presents three interesting stories from his life that are didactic for the graduating students. More than that he uses the rules of three in many sentences and paragraphs:

[1] all external expectations, [2] all pride, [3] all fear” (9:33)

… [1] don’t waste it living someone else’s life. [2] Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. [3]Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” (12:18)

The rule of three is also observed in the choice of his stories; his three stories are constructed according to the themes: birth, death and rebirth. He pays graduating students’ attention to the way these stories may be used in their lives.

It should be pointed out that Steve Jobs’ speech has some drawbacks. Firstly, the weak point is that he reads almost the full speech from the sheet of paper and does not have the eye contact with the audience. Secondly, he sometimes uses inappropriate words as for example he says “…and since Windows just copied the Mac…” (Jobs, 2005). These words may be offensive for those students who cannot afford Mac and use Microsoft. Such words may be avoided without any damage to the main point of the speech. In whole, Steve Jobs’ speech is well-structured and logically connected and it has positive feedback from the audience. We may conclude, that the speech has achieved its main aims.

Works Cited

Jobs, Steve 2005, 2005. DVD. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2022, January 13). Steve Jobs’ Speech "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" Analysis. https://ivypanda.com/essays/steve-jobs-speech-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-analysis/

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IvyPanda. "Steve Jobs’ Speech "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" Analysis." January 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/steve-jobs-speech-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Steve Jobs’ Speech "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" Analysis." January 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/steve-jobs-speech-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Steve Jobs’ Speech "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" Analysis'. 13 January.

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