Steve Jobs — passion, vision and excellence

It takes all three, but passion is the key ingredient for delivering excellence

Complete with the Dean Ornish endorsement at the top, this is what I found when I opened that carton.

This post was written twenty-seven days before his death on October 5, 2011.

Steve Jobs is known throughout the world for his passion, vision and excellence; and he also created a pretty cool logo along the way. No, we didn’t steal it for our book-cover, although it is an association that we can live with. But we did embrace his ideas about passion, vision and excellence, and that’s what this post is all about. (A complete copy of a very inspiring speech of his appears at the end of this post.)

Yesterday was a big day for me. At 3 pm Eastern, after carefully adjusting the lighting and turning up the classical music, I nervously opened a FedEx package containing the first six printed copies of our book. It was a moment that I will never forget. So after sending out the first two signed copies to Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son Nelson (writers of our Foreword), I found myself in a celebratory mood.

Wanting to share my special moment with someone who not only appreciates my passion for the message in the book, but also knows a thing or two about what it feels like to see your book in print for the first time — I thought of a special neighbor. Not knowing if they would be home, I decided to make a “drop-in” visit on my dear friends around the corner, Alexandra Stoddard and her husband, Peter Megargee Brown.

With her great endorsement appearing on the back cover of our book, I wrote a note to her on the title page of the copy that I was about to give her:

“Alexandra, Working together, not only can we help to improve the health of millions of people, we can change the world in the process.”

Celebrating with champagne in Alexandra's "living a beautiful life" kitchen on September 7, 2011

Then, I put her copy of the book in a gift bag, grabbed a bottle of French champagne out of the refrigerator and walked to their home in the light rain. Fortunately they were home and, although not in the habit of welcoming drop-in guests, Alexandra saw the gift bag and the bottle of champagne and knew immediately what this visit was all about.

The next two hours were what great memories are made of…when a veteran author of 28 books (with millions of copies sold) enhances that special moment for a first-time author when he shares his finished book with someone for the first time. It was magical.

Later, after dining together at the Water Street Cafe and saying goodnight to Alexandra and Peter; and not quite ready to go home, I pointed myself in the direction of the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club. While walking, I began to contemplate how this former Ralph Lauren executive went “From Polo to Plant Food” and was now holding a completed book in his hands with powerful endorsements by eleven prominent people from the world of science, medicine, industry and literature. The short answer is passion.

Not learning a darn thing about nutrition while working for Ralph, I learned a great deal about passion, vision and excellence. Then, after discovering my own passion in 2002, the rest was easy. This was on my mind as I walked slowly to the club last night:

Remembering how I had begun studying everything that I could get my hands on about my new topic, about how I made it my business to get to know all the primary leaders in the field, and about how I eventually developed my own “big picture” perspective and then set about documenting that perspective in our brand new book — a four-hour read that can be easily understood by the average 8th grader. It all started with passion.

With passion still on my mind, I woke up at 3 a.m. today, thinking of a Steve Jobs speech about passion that I have been sharing with people (including lots of new grads) for years. So I got out of bed, located that speech on my old Dell computer and transferred it to my MacBook Pro on which I am now typing.

That powerful speech is provided below in its entirety — as Steve tells the Stanford University graduating class of 2005 that, no matter what path they choose in their lives, they simply must find what they love in order to enjoy the rich success and joy of making a difference. Click the link below for the complete commencement address in video and text, posted the day the “Steve Jobs” book hit the stores, about three weeks after his death.

Steve Jobs — 2005 Stanford Speech — Posted 10-24-11

You may wish to bookmark the above speech as you may wish to read it often. You will also want to share it with all of the young people that you know; helping to steer them toward their passion early in their lives. But, as I have proven, you’re never too old to find your passion — and to run with it.

Earlier this summer, I snapped this photo of Peter and Alexandra "living a beautiful life" as they always do.

One more thing about Alexandra Stoddard and her passion for writing and how it has now blended with my passion. After publishing 27 books; she is now working on #28, which will include a chapter entitled “Eat Well – Live Well.” A recent convert to plant-based nutrition, her 90-year old husband’s arthritis simply disappeared after about six months on a greatly improved diet since watching the movie, Forks Over Knives, with me last year.

She is taking that “healthy eating” chapter very seriously as she must now tell her millions of faithful readers that she, like all of us, were raised to believe that our meat-laden Western diet was the world’s most superior way for humans to eat. She must now tell them that we had all been taught the wrong information, after which she will joyfully tell them about the wonderful truths that she and Peter have recently learned about what we really should be eating — for our own health and for the health of the planet.

And while communicating with her followers, she must carefully craft her message in such a way that it will be heard and embraced by her two grown daughters, both with small children. She describes this mission as one of the most important things she has ever undertaken. Look for that new Harper Collins book in 2012; visit our online BookStore now to take a look at her most famous book, Living A Beautiful Life. (Scroll to near the bottom of that page.)

Order “Steve Jobs” biography by Walter Isaacson on Amazon



Our new book surrounds our 4-Leaf Logo with the great books by Campbell and Esselstyn in the background.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to Steve Jobs — passion, vision and excellence

  1. Marleen Govaert - Nauts says:

    Jim, good luck with your book. I hope it becomes a best seller. I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Bob Davis says:

    Jim, Congrats on receiving your book. I can imagine the thrill you felt opening the Fed Ex package. Absolutely wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.
    Be well & stay healthy,

  3. MA 4leafer says:

    Chills all over…thanks for sharing Bud.

  4. Thanks for sharing your big day! Heartfelt congratulations, too, for giving the world a realistic approach to gaining or regaining vibrant health.

  5. Dan Liese says:

    Great article and posting of one of the all time greatest speeches for all to listen and follow.

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