Steve Jobs Commencement Speech

“Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.” YouTube. YouTube, 07 Mar. 2008. Web. 14 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

Steve Jobs starts off by saying that he had three stories to tell his audience. His first one was about connecting the dots. He went to a small community college, but dropped out. His parents who adopted him were of the working class, and were spending all of the money they earned throughout life on his college experience.  He didn’t think that this was practical, and didn’t find any benefit of going to the college. None of it suited him, and he didn’t continue college. He focused in on what he felt was important, and pursued things of his interest.  This is a effective point that he makes, and influential to the audience of college grad students.

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

His second point is to love what you do, and keep doing what you love no matter what. This quote goes with his second idea as you should never stop doing what makes you happy. Even when there are things in life trying to push you back, if you pursue your dream you will never lose. Sometimes failure and struggle is where you can find the most creativity and ability to push back.

The third story is about death. No one wants to die. It is a scary thing to think about, but it is one of the most important things about life. Your time in life is limited, so don’t live someone else’s life. You don’t know what you can become, and only with the will to search for it and persevere it, will you reach that goal. He ends his speech by telling his audience to stay hungry and stay foolish. If you only look back on the things you have already achieved, there is no way that you will have anything to look forward on.


Stephen King Commencement Address

“Stephen King: University Commencement Address (2005 Speech to College Students).” YouTube. YouTube, 16 May 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

Well into the speech, King gives 10 pieces of advice to the students of Maine. His second one, which I believe is the most important, was that you should not go to bed at night without thanking someone. Every day you are supported by others, and other lives have help make your life what it is today. A lot of what we consider success, is greatly relied on the help from other people, and the advice that we are given. If we can’t at least give back in the most miniscule way by thanking those who have helped us, then our achievements may as well not even be there.

“The place to start giving back is the place where you are right now. This can be home if you want it to be.”

“Acknowledge your good fortune by sharing it.”

A good saying that goes with the first quote is that there’s no place like home.  The place that you grew up in is the place that you will, even if not admittedly,  the place that you will love and always have a certain fondness of. One of King’s biggest points that he makes in this commencement speech is that we need to focus more on caring for others. There are always going to be people who are less well off than yourself. There are others who live tough lives, but have the mental strength that most people could not compete with. Even if you are the wealthiest person in the world, you did not make it to that point without the help from others. This thing we call life is supported through teamwork and the ability to connect with others and withstand its own boundaries.

I think the one criticism in King’s speech is that he personalizes his speech to those in Maine. It is smart on the fact that he has lived his life in Maine and is speaking to the graduates of the University of Maine. The only thing is that I feel that not everyone can relate to King’s view as they will not have the same accounts as those who live in Maine.

President Obama Commencement Address

“Obama at ASU: Commencement Speech with Intro by Michael Crow.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 May 2009. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

One of Obama’s biggest points that he makes is that diversity and opportunity is the hallmark of success. Our success should not be measured by the things that we have, and we should never stop when we find our own small achievements. The pursuit of having things in life and greed to want more will never end. The true pursuit should be to keep an open mind to innovate and succeed the most in life with determination from adaptation. Everyone has to take risk in order to succeed;Obama pushes this point heavily throughout.

In the beginning of Obama’s speech, he talked about the recession that the United States was currently in. He then spoke on the importance of perseverance the will to achieve greatness. It’s not about the position that you are currently in, but it is what you can do, and what you are able to do with the inspiration and perspective to do so. If one puts their own ideas down, they will never make an impact. If you believe in yourself and expand your mind each day, you may pursue anything you want.

Obama spoke greatly on failure, and the ability to push past. He talked about the failures that Thomas Paine had, the adversity Harriet Tubman overcame, and the atrocities that many of the most influential people in history have had to push past from. They never quit, even when they faced some of the most colossal hardships. His lasting impact at the end of the speech was that anyone can do so; with  selfless contribution and effort, success will be achieved.


President Bush Commencement Address

President Bush Texas A&M Commencement Speech 1/3.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Dec. 2008. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

Before President George W. Bush came on and gave his speech, his mother, Barbara Bush spoke, followed by former President, George H. W. Bush. This was a smart thing to do, especially when George W. Bush started his speech talking about the importance of maintaining good relationships with people. His first part of his commencement was thanking all of the people that got him to where he was. A big part of where we are able to get in life is based on how we treat the situation and in this case, other people.

“I suspect that you will find that some of your most important learning took place outside of the classroom, in the friendships you’ve formed, the respect you’ve gained, and the things that you’ve discovered about yourself.”

“To those of you with jobs lined up, congratulations! To those of you who aren’t exactly sure, I know how you feel.”

Both of these quotes tie in together in a powerful way. These two quotes are important especially when speaking to students that have graduated and getting ready to enter the real world. A huge part of where you get in life is based on who you know and the relationships that you have formed. The second quote is one that most likely made the greatest impact on the audience of college grad students. He told them that he was in the same position as many of the people who don’t know what to do with their lives. He worked hard and made it to where he was, and his message was to tell others to pursue what they want in life.

Near the end of his speech he spoke about a man he met whose house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He was a blind man, and although he was in a bad position, with his house destroyed, he helped others recover from the storm. He went to law school and overcame so much adversity because of his own willfulness. After this he talked about a woman who was addicted to drugs, went to jail, and inside jail found her faith. She turned her life around, when many would fail to do so. The point of these two stories is that with faith, perseverance, and good will, you can overcome anything.

J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech

“J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

One of the big ideas that Rowling brings up deals with the benefits that come with failure and the crucial importance of imagination. She spoke on how failure strips down everything in life to the bare essentials. It allowed her to truly conceive what was important to her and what is important in life. She found out that when she was at rock bottom, it was then that she reevaluated herself and pursued the things that mattered to her. Failure can teach others things about themselves that they might not have learned otherwise. Imagination is the power to reinvent and innovate. It is the ability to think outside the box and discover new things.

In Rowling’s speech, she uses many personal examples from her own life to correlate to the people that she is talking to. She starts off by talking about the commencement speech at her own graduation and how she didn’t remember a thing from it. She then spoke profoundly about a gay wizard (presumably speaking about Dumbledore). This random outlandish topic that she brought up was an effective way of getting the audience to pay attention to what she was saying.

At another point in the speech, she speaks about how she went to college for one thing, even though she was purely interested in writing novels. She related this to the importance of imagination, and left the audience with a message to think outwardly and with an open mind. This story that she told was very effective, as she made it to where she is now based on her willfulness and imagination to pursue what she wanted to do.

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” This quote is very important, as it pertains to the idea that we need to take chances in life. If J.K. Rowling didn’t take the chance to write her own story and let her voice be heard, who knows whether or not if she would have written all of the Harry Potter books.

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive.” This is an important quote as it talks about how in order to learn more about ourselves, we must test our abilities, or else we will not know what could have been. This goes along with the first quote as it basically says that people must test adversity, in order to learn about ourselves and life itself.

Does Music Make Work Less Productive?

Paul, Annie Murphy. “Ideas.” Ideas Does Listening to Music While Working Make You Less Productive Comments. Time Ideas, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. Retrieved from

Annie Murphy Paul is a journalist, author, consultant, and speaker. She helps others learn how to learn more, and how to learn it in a better, more efficient way. She frequently contributes writings to many credible sources such as The Huffington Post, Forbes,  CNN, etc.

In workplaces where it is noisy and distracting, listening music can give the worker a sense of power over their aural environment. The question looming is whether or not if  the music we listen to actually distracts the task at hand. It is proven that listening to music before taking on a task can improve your mood and overall attitude when taking on whatever there is to do. It has also been proven that when listening to the music while taking on a cognitive task can make you less productive and likely to remember less.

This makes sense to me. I can see how when trying to remember things, the music will distract you. I know that when I’m listening to music, in the back of my mind I’m singing along with the song. While doing important tasks like studying for an exam, I won’t be listening to music. On the other hand, if I’m just doing a worksheet for physics or something along those lines, you would likely find me jamming out to some tunes.

Background Music and Efficiency

Padnani, Amisha. “The Power of Music, Tapped in a Cubicle.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. Retrieved from

Amisha Padnani is a current writer for The New York Times. She is a web producer and contributor to SchoolBook. She has written mostly about public, private, and Catholic schools. She has personal credibility on listening to music in the workplace, as many people do.

Music, to many, is a getaway from the often times noisy and distracting world. It can help you get focused when in the workplace and when others around you can be very distracting. The harmonies and melodies in music have proven to help for the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain. Music can be used as a motivational tool, and can provide original ideas if focused on the topic at hand.

Whenever I am stressed, I will turn on some tunes and zone out. When I want to get some homework done, I will also turn on some music. The difference between the two, is that when I need to be focused on homework, I will turn on music softly so that I will not be taken out of focus. If treated correctly, music can help me focus andcome up with better ideas. If others do so as well, this could lead to a more productive society.