Customer Reviews: Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works
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on June 12, 2012
This book was a great book. It gives in an inside look at how Apple functions as an iconic company. It opens us up to some of the ways that they manage their infrastructure and heirarchy.
Many people say that this book is a sequel to the recent bio on Steve Jobs. I totally agree with that as this book doesn't analyze Jobs' life, but it does analyze his business systems and practices. It was enjoyable to read about some of the philosophies and methods that make Apple what it is.

My only drawback is that this book didn't really reveal many "secrets". There were no major revelations that people aren't aware of through articles or other recent publicly documented information. Any hard core apple fan is definitely aware of most of the information that was provided in this book.

Nevertheless, this book is definitely an enjoyable read and a must for every Apple and Steve Jobs fan. I would definitely add it to the collection as it is a good overview and recap of both. Plus, it has an easy and quick flow which would allow you to finish it at a nice pace. Therefore, I highly recommend this book to all people that get inspired from business and innovation.
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on February 1, 2012
i had been anticipating this book as much as i have walter isaacson's jobs biography. i loved the latter, because it was written with a lot of effort, had tons of insider information and the goal of deeply understanding its subject.

this book, in contrast, looks like a long tabloid article on apple - which may suffice for those not knowing the company, but can be truly disappointing for those, who are a bit familiar with the subject. no big surprises, no extra insight, not much relevant research.

to be fair: i quit reading after four chapters. it may get better towards the end, but i felt that keeping on reading was just a waste of time.
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on February 26, 2012
Wow! Inside Apple is a MUCH better book for technology people than the Isaacson Steve Jobs Bio!

As a founder of several technology startups, I am finding this to be GREAT in terms of insight into what Jobs did and how he structured Apple for success. This short book says far more of use to me in 200 pages (and likely you if you have any influence at your company) than the mostly useless 600 page Isaacson Bio. I read the other and grew to really dislike it as an incredible lost opportunity... you can read that review over there if you care to.. but don't waste too much time with that! If you're a Technology person, get right down to this one.

I found its primary value to be that it highlights the many ways in which Jobs structured Apple to function. Often Jobs approach and technique is counter to "Standard" B-School practices and conventional thinking on running companies, but they make a lot of sense. It does not take a lot of time to explain them but will likely take a while to implement and find your own way. And clearly the Jobs approach is not hurting Apple any.

So, all I really have to say is if your running a company or starting one, GET THIS, READ THIS, and start trying to work it out your own approach and implementation of the many useful hints found here.
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on July 29, 2012
This is a very interesting book. If you are a fan or hater of Apple, you will want to read this book. It covers the recent history and what is happening now, it is not a history of the entire company's history. It does make interesting reading and gives you a glimps into the innerworkings of the company. My one complaint is that the author actually never conducted interviews with people within the company. It is all gathered from other interviews, or from people who no longer work for Apple, but did at some point. Therfore the title of the review.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2012
Lashinsky does a pretty good job delving into what makes Apple tick. The personalities and dynamics at play. It's a good accompaniment to the Jobs biography. Note, the insights into the secretive aspects of Apple have been overstated. They are few, and oft repeated. You'll read about how ID cards don't work in certain areas probably a dozen times. -1 star for that.

Bottom line, thanks to stringent accountability, and a get-it-done culture backed by a huge war chest, Apple is a tightly wound machine, ready to execute on whatever its leadership divines is necessary. In a post-Jobs world, the question is whether that leadership is in Cook or someone else.
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on September 20, 2013
This is the best book about Steve Jobs I have read.
It really gets down to the essence of his drive and creativity
it does not go very much into his personal life, but explores his Apple life in depth
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on April 8, 2012
Apple really does 'Think Differently'! The very fabric of this iconic company, that now has a capitalization of $590.8 billion (soon to be trillion?) is that it's - contrarion.

This is a company that doesn't do things the old stodgy way. Think IBM.

As large as the company is, the author of 'Inside Apple', Adam Lashinsky, explains that it's been a single P&L company; not divided into divisions or consumed with committees. In Apple "only one executive 'owned' the P&L, and that was the chief financial officer." This afforded Steve Jobs and other executives the time to focus on what really mattered - building "insanely great" products.

Mr Lashinsky, a senior editor at large for Fortune magazine, also writes about a "powerful management tool" adopted by Apple - making some employees a 'directly responsible individual', or DRI, whose responsible for an assignment and can be "called on the carpet if something isn't done right."

In writing 'Inside Apple', the author states that "Apple declined to make any of its executives or other employees available for interviews." However, many former employees and people who have worked with the company offered some insights, both off and on the record for this book.

The big takeaway from reading the book is that Apple is all about it's people. Especially Steve Jobs, who set the stage and developed a start-up like culture that has secrecy, innovation, user-experience, and loyalty embedded in it's genes.

The people that Mr. Jobs hired and worked with were, and still are, A-typers. He is quoted as saying, "A players hire A players, and B players hire C players. We want only A players here."

Mr. Lashinsky, writes in a readable style, that's easy to comprehend, and he does provide us with a good insight into who's who at Apple, writing at length about Tim Cook, now the CEO. And, if you didn't realize how influential Eddy Cue is as "Apple's deal-making executive", after reading this book, you do.

There are other people in the Apple tree, like Scott Forstall, Phil Schiller, Bob Mansfield, Katie Cotton, but none more important than Jonathan Ive, Apple's product designer. The man who has worked closely with Steve Jobs, whose design sensibilities have helped catapult Apple to where it is today.

'Inside Apple' also enlightens us about Steve Jobs' eye for detail. And that seeking product perfectionism permeates through Apple's DNA. One of Jobs' top lieutenants, Scott Forstall, is described in the book as "a stickler for details... He keeps a jeweller's loupe in his office so he can look at every single pixel on every icon to make sure it's right."

Apple is known for it's secrecy. 'Inside Apple' adequately explains what this means and how it affects it's employees who are sworn to secrecy and rarely talk about work outside of the Cupertino campus. If they do, they are unceremoniously fired and lose their badges.

Very few people, apart from maybe Walter Isaacson, have been able to write a detailed, in-depth and honest assessment of Apple and it's co-founder. Mainly because the company works hard to maintain it's privacy and trade secrets. And for good reason. It doesn't want to be a blow-hard and disappoint it's customers. The pre-product release rumor hype actually helps build consumer interest in it's products, without busting it's marketing budget. And, of course, it doesn't want to give competition a leg up on what's in the works.

'Inside Apple' was published a few months after Steve Jobs passed away in October 2011. From that perspective, Mr Lashinsky speculates about Apples' post-Jobs era. Which is purely speculative, when it comes to a company that is full of surprises. Delighting it's customers with 'insanely great products'; always defying those who claim to know what Apple is going to do next.
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on February 11, 2012
You can tell as soon as you look at this book that it was not the work of a design-snob Apple disciple. The book jacket imitates the aluminum sheen and glowing logo of the MacBook. But it's just... ugly. The Apple leaf on the title is inexplicably green. The orange subtitle is more reminiscent of Amazon than Apple. Flip through the pages, and the typeface seems subtly out of sync with the rest of the book design.

This first impression illustrates the best and the worst things about this book. Adam Lashinsky is no fanboy; he is able to be dispassionate, skeptical, and curious about his topic. But his book desperately needs the same curation and focus that he lauds Apple for.

The core thesis of the book is sound. Apple's management principles are diametrically opposed to most of the conventional wisdom and literature of management, and this difference is the key to the company's runaway success. The book is full of many interesting anecdotes and details, and some intriguing predictions. It was fun to read, and I learned something.

Unfortunately the book needs an editor to take an axe to it, and simplify, simplify, simplify. Lashinsky rambles and repeats himself. It's sometimes hard to discern the points he's trying to make. A Steve Jobs keynote it's not.

I got to see the author on his book tour. In person he gave very much the same impression: he stood up there with his HP [edit: not Dell] laptop, flipped through a disjointed series of colorful slides, interrupted himself and went off on tangents. I was pleasantly surprised to win a free copy of the book at the end of his talk, but also a little skeptical given his performance. It turned out my gut feeling was spot-on.

Wait for Inside Apple to come to your local library, or borrow it from a friend. I know I would have been disappointed had I paid the hardcover price.

- sent from my MacBook Air
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on February 20, 2012
I expect many of you have read at least one book on Steve Jobs and Apple since Jobs' death. If you, like me, grabbed and consumed a copy of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I have a recommendation for you. Go buy a copy of Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired-and Secretive-Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky. It's much better, much more interesting, and in many ways, more revealing.

I've long admired Lashinsky's writing in Fortune. Sometimes he makes me want to scream when he missed the mark, but often he gets under the surface of what is going on an covers it in an interesting and compelling way. He doesn't write puff pieces while at the same time avoiding the trap of always writing nastiness, especially unfounded stuff, that many journalists seem to have fallen into the trap of (which - I expect - was prompted by competition from bloggers and the endless fight for headlines and link bait.) Lashinsky has avoided this trap, which makes me enjoy reading him even more.

I wrote a short but extremely positive review of Isaacson's bio on Jobs. I liked it a lot, but as time passed I felt mildly unsatisfied. I couldn't put my finger on it until a dinner conversation with a friend who knows Isaacson and some of the back story of the book. It came up randomly in our conversation and after I told him what I thought he responded that he thought it was a huge disappointment. He said that Isaacson totally blew it and his publisher, and the pressure of "publishing now" undermine the potential for what he was working on.

My friends suggestion was a simple, yet profound one. Isaacson should have publicly stated that he was delaying the book for a year and then gone back and re-interviewed many of the people he'd talked to. He should have probed deeper on the character of Jobs and explored things that people might not have been willing to say - both good and bad - when Jobs was alive. And he should have taken his role as official biographer more seriously - rather than rushing a book out on the heals of Jobs' passing, he should have paused, thought hard about how he was trying to portray Jobs, and worked incredibly hard to nail it.

His words rang true. And, as I read through Inside Apple I kept thinking about what my friend said. We all know that Apple is an intensely secretive company and the external (and internal) messages are tightly controlled. By Jobs. Now that Jobs is no longer around, the dynamics around this might change. It certainly would change in anonymous conversations with an official biographer. Regardless, another level of research, thought, and analysis would be powerful.

This is what makes Lashinsky's book so interesting. He doesn't focus on Jobs, he focuses on Apple. But by focusing on Apple, he does a magnificent jobs of exploring and revealing Jobs. As a bonus, this isn't yet another story of Jobs' progression from adopted son to the Apple II to Next to Pixar to Mac to iPhone to iPad. Instead, it's a contemporary look at the company, what makes it tick, and how it really works.

Lashinsky gets to some provocative stuff. In a section about "the narcissist (Jobs) and his sidekick (Cook)" he discusses how the narcissist / sidekick relationship can be incredibly effective. In this one section, he nails the notion of a productive narcissist, which captures part of the psychology of many successful entrepreneurs I know. It's much more subtle - and useful - than the normal "pathological narcissist" discussion that follows many entrepreneurs around. A tweet about this section in the book from me generated an email exchange with an organizational psychologist friend which gave me an even deeper understanding of this dynamic.

Overall, I give this book an A+. If you are into Apple, curious about it, use their products, or are curious about Steve Jobs and the other leaders at Apple, I highly recommend this book. And yes, I read it on an iPad.
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on February 7, 2012
This isn't the definitive Bio to SJ, Issacon's is. But I have learned several tidbits about Steve and the innerworking of the company. But the biggest + is that you learn about Tim Cook, the new leader of the Apple Empire. A must read for an Apple Fan and how it will be after the death of Mr. Jobs.
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