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The quote "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right" is often attributed to Steve Jobs, but a quote posted on LibQuotes suggests that Steve Jobs was himself quoting someone else:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."

I tried Googling, but there are too many sites that simply attribute the quote to Steve Jobs

Is LibQuotes.com misquoting Steve Jobs? If not, who is Steve Jobs quoting?

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3 Answers 3

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Steve Jobs may have misremembered a quote from Andrew Sinclair's 1964 novel The Raker, from which Google Books gives the following snippet:

If you live each day as if it were your last, Death is hardly unexpected when he calls.

The wording is not identical, but the idea is very similar. Steve Jobs turned 17 in 1972, eight years after the novel's publication. By the time of the 2005 commencement address at Stanford, he was 50, which is more than enough time for a memory to get distorted.

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Not quite the quote you are looking for, but perhaps an early basis/inspiration for it:

We learnt elsewhere, R. Eliezer said: Repent one day before your death. His disciples asked him, Does then one know on what day he will die? Then all the more reason that he repent to-day, he replied, lest he die to-morrow, and thus his whole life is spent in repentance.

(Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, folio 153a, Soncino translation)

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Roman Emporer Marcus Aurelius c. 121 - 180 AD: “Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it was your last, without frenzy, without apathy and without pretence.”

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    Thanks for the answer! However, this doesn't seem to match the "you'll be right one day" part of the quote.
    – Mithical
    Mar 8, 2022 at 5:15
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    Did he say "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right"?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 8, 2022 at 5:15
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    To the downvoters and critics of this answer: considering that real quotes from known authors are often distorted into something else, claiming that this is "not an answer" seems unduly harsh.
    – Tsundoku
    Mar 8, 2022 at 9:57
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    My problem with this answer is that if the quote in the question has two ideas - A ("live each day like it's your last") and B ("you'll be right someday") - then the proposed original quote lacks one idea and inserts a different one. It has A and C ("without X etc.") but lacks B, which seems to be a central part of the previous. While quotes can be distorted through word-of-mouth, that's true, this seems an awfully far distance from what's being asked.
    – bobble
    Mar 9, 2022 at 5:07
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    Hi Andrew, with all this debate about your answer I see we haven’t got around to welcoming you as a new user. Welcome to Literature SE! You’ll have noticed that we take answers pretty seriously so taking a few minutes to go on our tour should help you understand expectations. You can also pop by the Literature Chat or look things up/ask questions on Literature Meta if you need more assistance. If this answer doesn’t do well, don’t worry, we have plenty more for you to try.
    – Spagirl
    Mar 9, 2022 at 8:30

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