Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works Hardcover – January 25, 2012
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Frankly, a business book hasn't grabbed me like that in a long-time.
(Bob Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule.)
I'm not a heavy reader. It's extremely rare that I'll read a book in one sitting. This one kept me hooked start to finish - I could not put it down. (John Tokash, co-founder at Kartoffl.ly)
Apple, Inc. could teach the Chinese a few tricks about secrecy. In this crisply written, engrossing book, Adam Lashinsky lifts the veil on how Apple really works and why it has been such as astonishing success. That is yesterday. What this book also does is explore tomorrow, including the challenges confronting a gifted group of executives trained by Steve Jobs but bereft of his leadership. I devoured this book in one sitting. (Ken Auletta, columnist for The New Yorker and the author of Googled: The End of the World As We Know It)
Much more than Isaacson's, this is the one I've been waiting to read. (John Lilly, Partner at Greylock, former CEO at Mozilla.)
Lashinsky's book, then, is an important rebuttal of today's Silicon Valley orthodoxy that a successful 21st century company needs to be organizationally flat and open. Lashinksy may indeed be telling a truth that most of us don't want to hear. Apple, rather than Google, is the future of corporate America. And that future will be defined by secrets and lies, rather than by transparency and truth.
This book's real strength - besides lots of insight from people who knew and worked with Jobs, Cook and the rest of the executive team - is the way it frames different scenarios that could result from Apple sans Jobs... You get the feeling when reading this that people inside the company will be just as keen to pick up a copy as those of us on the outside. (Erica Ogg, GigaOm)
"Inside Apple" makes a worthwhile companion to last year's best-selling "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson. If Isaacson's book was the definitive biography of Apple's chief visionary, who died in October, then "Inside Apple" is a revealing guided tour of his greatest creation." (San Francisco Chronicle)
Essential reading for anyone interested in management... (Steve Dennings, Forbes.com)
If you're a real Apple fan, I'd recommend that you pick a weekend to read this because once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down. Much of that has to do with Adam Lashinsky's skilled research, interviewing and writing skills that make you feel like you are really part of the action (Business Insider)
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Hardcover : 240 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1455512157
- ISBN-10 : 9781455512157
- Product Dimensions : 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Business Plus; 1st Edition (January 25, 2012)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 145551215X
- Best Sellers Rank: #292,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The first half of the book reads like a thrill novel, but the second half of the book reads like a thrill-deprived novel. This is how I would rate the book:
1) The first three chapters (Rethink Leadership, Embrace Secrecy, Focus Obsessively) all deserve 5 stars. They are good and insightful.
2) Fourth chapter (Stay Start-Up Hungry) gets a 4-star. I don't think everything described in this chapter is about how Apple keeps its start-up mentality.
3) Chapter 6 (Own Your Message) deserves 4 stars because it is just an extension of Apple's obsessive nature in controlling and rehearsing every detail.
4) Chapters 5 as well as 7 through 10 deserve 2 to 3 stars. They are boring and do not provide much insight.
The blemishes in this book do not distract from the excellent job done by this author in giving us the precious views of how Apple works inside -- albeit just the HOW and not the WHY. A worthwhile read -- could be better!
One very interesting point mentioned in this book: Jobs identified himself as an entrepreneur. (His death certificate listed "entrepreneur" as his occupation.) ... In that light, it's shocking that not one member of today's executive team is an entrepreneur.
This lack in the top management level is worrisome. I genuinely want Apple to continue to be insanely great! This BIG gap must be filled!
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.
Top reviews from other countries
I used Macs for about 7 years, but migrated to the PC just before 2000- in my view PCs are as 'good' if not much better than Macs- a very good book about Jobs, which he did not like is the book 'Icon'. The word 'icon' can be taken to have two meanings as in the widely used phrase relating to Jobs, 'distorted reality field'... In my view Apple inevitably will run out of products to inovate and certainly without Jobs the company will gradually fade. Jobs was an extremely unique character, a man of his time, at the right time, on the edge of a new technology, a time probably never to be equalled again, especially as we are witnessing a decline in prosperity of the general population.
The book covers the period after his rejoining Apple as CEO in 1997 after being ousted in 1985 and carefully, bit-by-bit details the complete and totality of the company's operations, over which Steve Jobs stamped with an iron hand his will, and decisions, not just over the final result of each departments input/output but over every single interim step. His management style was a mixture of zealous inspiration through to awe, bordering on fear. Employee's were kept completely in the dark on new products or developments and their access strictly restricted to only the parts of the Apple Campus relating to something they were working on. The Cupertino HQ could not have been a joyous or morale building environment, just a place to keep your head down and fastidiously obey the instructions and visions harbored by the highly 'explosive' Mr Jobs.
But, what the hell, this mans foresight, and ambitions saved Apple from ruin and turned it into a phenomenally successful company both in terms of profits and revolutionary product designs, so his management style was, obviously highly effective. However, it remains to be seen whether those having to run Apple after Mr Job's death, such as new CEO Tim Cook were given sufficient real responsibility and the freedom to develop their own talents, to move Apple onwards and upwards. The jury is out and only time will tell.
An interesting read.