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Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 25, 2012
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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!
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.
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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For example, he states the Jobs “quit in disgust” in 1985 when it’s well documented that he was fired.