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Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success Hardcover – April 26, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (April 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844835
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844839
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Segall worked with Steve Jobs for 12 years, as creative director at Apple and NeXT Computer, and also spent time as agency global creative director at Dell, IBM, Intel, and BMW. As the man who came up with the iconic iMac name, which launched one of the most successful product lines in history, Segall played a pivotal role in reviving Apple from near death. His close working relationship with Jobs allows him to provide insight into how Jobs’ obsession with simplicity became the driving force that informs every decision the company makes to this day, from product design to advertising, even down to the packing boxes. Segall contrasts this Apple mind-set with those of companies like Dell, Intel, and Microsoft, where complexity and a dizzying array of product choices only serve to confuse and distract customers. His recounting of high-level meetings, ad campaigns, and product-naming sessions reveals much about how Jobs’ unyielding, brutally honest approach pushed aside rivals, teams of lawyers, and everyone else who said it couldn’t be done to remake Apple into one of the most admired and valuable companies in the world. --David Siegfried

Review

A blueprint for running a company the Steve Jobs way ... should be required reading for anyone interested in management and marketing The Times Punchy ... Segall gets inside Apple's branding and marketing to explain its directness and power -- Financial Times Required reading Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Well written and an easy read.
andreas harlow
It is very intriguing to read about Steve Jobs and how he built Apple with the idea of Simplicity.
Maria D.
You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
H. Morgan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 108 people found the following review helpful By John R Chang on April 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book needs a dose of its own medicine. The previously unpublished stories about Steve Jobs and Apple are real gems. But in much of the rest of the book, the author mostly invokes a silly narrative of battle between Simplicity and Complexity and falls back to insipid conclusions such as "Simplicity attracts" and "Simplicity has universal appeal". Well, of course. We don't need the author to persuade us of that.

The author compares Apple to companies like Dell and Intel, which have confusing product portfolios and marketing messages. But why do they? The author credits Steve's direct involvement in the creative process and lack of patience for big meetings and formal presentations. He explains that in a good working relationship, both sides are upfront and don't withhold problems from each other, and this creates the best results. Beyond that, there's not much more insight or deep ruminations about the nature of simplicity, which I would have appreciated. I know from experience [I worked at Apple during the second Steve era] that simplicity is rarely just a matter of wielding the Simple Stick, as the author seems to suggest. (Even when it is, it sure helps to be the CEO.)

I can imagine this book started out as a personal collection of Steve stories--for which I would have gladly given 5 stars. At some point, some publisher or marketing person probably decided that this book wouldn't appeal to the masses unless it were written as a management book, so as it stands, this book also tries to dispense business advice. A Steve quote (ironically, included in this book) comes to mind: "Get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff."
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Format: Hardcover
As Hannibal Lector explains to Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs, the Roman emperor and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, endorsed the idea of focusing on the essence of a subject. The French later formulated the concept of the précis. Still later, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, "I would not give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity." All this serves to create a context, a frame of reference, for Ken Segall's brilliant analysis of what drove Steve Jobs to create an insanely great company that continues to produce insanely great products.

As Segall explains, "Simplicity doesn't spring to life with the right combination of molecules, water, and sunlight. It needs a champion - someone who's willing to stand up for its principles and strong enough to resist the overtures of Simplicity's evil twin, Complexity. It needs someone who's willing to guide a process with both head and heart." These are among the passages, themes, and concepts that caught my eye throughout Segall's lively and eloquent narrative:

o Standards Aren't for Bending (Pages 15-16)
o Small Groups = Better [Collaborative] Relationships (35- 38)
o The Perils of Proliferation (52-54)
o Thinking Different vs. Thinking Crazy (74-77)
o Simplicity's Unfair Advantage (93-95)
o Never Underestimate the Power of a Word (123-125)
o Death by Formality (132-135)
o Technology with Feeling (138-140)
o Ignoring the Naysayers: Inventing the Apple Store (180-184)

I have read all of the books written about Steve Jobs and Apple and reviewed most of them.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John P. Dodd on December 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for some great principles on simplicity. What I got was a continual homage to Steve Jobs. Cut the book by two thirds and it might be helpful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Robideau TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the stories to be the best part of this book. There were a few key quotes and principles sprinkled throughout that I ended up highlighting, but the stories are what will stick with me.

The stories were on topic for the most part, but I couldn't help thinking that the book should have concluded a bit sooner.

This book is highly recommended if you are looking for an entertaining book to shed more light on the subject of simplicity and how to achieve it in a business environment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marco Roman on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is interesting for the inside Apple stories that it brings. They are really interesting and valuable. Trying to put them into a few simplicity guidelines is a lousy work. And it is done by the advertisement point of view, therefore it is shallow. To be fair, I knew it from the sample, and decided to buy the book to read the inside stories. If the sample is ok for you, then the book will be too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Wolf on June 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book discusses the basic philosophy of Steve Jobs and his driving the people who work at Apple. It is a personal account by an individual who worked in and with the company for a long time. I found it very interesting. However, the author delivers his basic theme in the first few chapters. It gets rather repetitive, but does give snippets of stories about the management of this fabled company. If you want to hear of these, it's fine. If not, dispose of the final 2/3 of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Hurley on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps the best thing about Segall's book is that, in the burgeoning category of Apple success-analysis texts, he manages to provide a fresh and interesting angle as an agency guy who actively participated in the establishment of the venerable post-Scully Apple brand.

Segall's well-developed central thesis is that Apple's and particularly Jobs' secret to success was that they always kept things simple and that this is not always an easy mission. He examines the benefits of simplicity in terms of how nimble it makes the organization, how powerful it is in terms of sales and, I think most interestingly, how the simple Apple identity message built the brand at the same time it sold the products. That part of the story is really at the heart of Apple's success and there's a great lesson there for business leaders.

The concept of beating things with the "simple stick" will become part of my own business vernacular. An informative and entertaining read.
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