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The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success Hardcover – October 11, 2010
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Presents a guide to business success based on the career and innovations of Steve Jobs.
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I read the book cover to cover. Here are my comments:
1. The book is to a very very large extent based on Steve Jobs' presentations and interviews in the press. No original research And my god, the guy believes he could mine the SECRETS of Jobs' innovation philosophy from these published stuff. What a naive approach and what a lousy result.
2. His so-called innovation secrets are mereley romantic mumbo-jumbo like "Sell dreams, not products (woooow), Do what you love (if you love your job then you can innovate!!!!), Put a dent in the universe (yeah, but how?), Kick start your brain.
3. I particularly liked this Kick start thing (Doug Hall's Jump Start?). Apparently Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class at college and visited India before Apple. These two things gave him EVERYTHING that he needed on his succesful route to innovation. One of the foolish things I have ever heard. If one is interested in that subject, Frans Johansson's book The Medici Effect is a lot more valuable. But stil event that kind of thinking, that is connecting&creativity is not enough for corporate innovation.
4. I must warn you on one other thing too. Please don not get fooled by the title and assume that this is a book on Apple. Not at all. It is about first introducing a childish and romantic principle on innovation, followed by some quotations from one of Jobs's presentation and/or press interviews, and then going on to cite examples from all sorts of companies like Target, Geek Squad, Zappos, Apt Electronics etc., i.e. the usual innovation example stuff you already see everywhere. You will be surprised to find more stuff on companies other than Apple. For example, you won't be able to find any detailed Apple case as the Zappo case. All case studies are detailed but all Apple stuff is based on what Steve told in his presentations. If you don't believe me just buy the book and see it yourselves.
5. The guy does not have the faintest idea about innovation. I believe he runs a PR Company and thinks that the subject of innovation is as easy as PR. I am sorry but innovation is a very serious subject the theorization of which is certainly out of the realm of PR people.
6. In the book, you will also love the so-called Jobs' 7th principle: Master the Message. This is apparently a summary of his Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs book. In that chapter you learn that if you can prepare effective PowerPoint presentations and you are good in communicating your messages to people, then you have the capability to innovate. Such a B.....
This is a ridiculous book about innovation and it hardly has any Apple-and-Steve Jobs' related hard evidence. It is good read though, if you do not mind the shallowness of the approach and childishness of the principles. I just laughed when I finished the thing. Just laughed.
Gallo begins by teasing out the difference between invention and innovation. "Not everyone can be an inventor, but anyone can be an innovator." He makes clear that innovation ala Jobs is not a rigid, step-by-step method, but rather, an adventure based on seven principles. These principles can be used to enhance creativity and develop fresh ideas for our personal life or career, and can inspire all to change the world.
The Seven Principles that drive Steve Jobs are:
1. Do what you love (career)
2. Put a dent in the universe (vision)
3. Kick-start your brain (thoughts)
4. Sell dreams, not product (customers)
5. Say no to 1000 things (Design simplicity)
6. Create insanely great experiences (experience)
7. Master the message (Story)
Gallo goes into great detail and provides numerous examples - using Jobs/Apple and many other individuals and companies - in the seven sections devoted to each of these principles. He also includes the five skills that separate the true innovator from the rest of us.
"The number one skill that separates innovators from noncreative professionals is `associating': the ability to successfully connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas from different fields. `The more diverse our experience and knowledge, the more connections the brain can make. Fresh inputs trigger new associations; for some, these lead to novel ideas.'" The other four skills include questioning, experimenting, networking, and observing.
As a student and practitioner of innovation, there is much in "Innovation Secrets" that resonated with my experience such as:
* With vision, you can see the things you need when they appear.
* People want to feel, want to be moved, want to believe in something bigger than they are.
* Embrace vision not mission (also echoed by my good friend and author Pat Lencioni)
* There is only one Steve Jobs and... there is only one person with your unique skills and experience. Double down on them. If you are unclear about your unique gifts, see Clifton's "Strengthsfinder: 2.0".
* Most customers do not know what they want in a new product. Transformational breakthroughs rarely result from focus group.
"Innovation Secrets" also provided some new insights which will be useful for me going forward. Gallo's section on "Master the Message" was adapted from his best selling "Presentation Secrets" which I highly recommend as a companion book.
I am not sure what Gallo has up his sleeve for his third book but I can promise that his first two books provide "meat and potatoes" (I am mostly Irish) that will satisfy novices and experts alike.