He was an American writer and university instructor of English and creative writing. His novel Infinite Jest was listed by Time magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005.
I feel so strongly about this speech. I try and watch it in full once every month. However, let me highlight the most profound section of the speech that made the biggest impression on me.
“If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”
This was taken from a commencement speech he did. The video is below.