Megan McArdle reacts to Steve Jobs’s “never settle” advice:
The problem is, the people who give these sorts of speeches are the outliers: the folks who have made a name for themselves in some very challenging, competitive, and high-status field. No one ever brings in the regional sales manager for a medical supplies firm to say, “Yeah, I didn’t get to be CEO. But I wake up happy most mornings, my kids are great, and my golf game gets better every year.”
That’s most people. But what does Steve Jobs have to tell them? I doubt he can imagine what that’s like, much less empathize, or come up with solid advice on finding a great hobby. So he tells them how to be Steve Jobs. Which sounds great, and is of very limited practical value, even to Stanford grads.
My question is: should unsuccessful people just be extremely wary about taking advice from successful people? And what does that say about the self-help industry?