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Inside Steve's Brain Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 17, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Throughout his storied Silicon Valley career, Apple CEO and Pixar Studios founder Steve Jobs has been labeled, among other things, an egomaniac, a Zen Buddhist, a business mastermind, a sociopath and a music mogul. Blogger, author and Wired News editor Kahney, who has chronicled Apple in previous books (The Cult of Mac), attempts to plumb the depths of Jobs's prodigious mind in this engrossing biography. The author devotes much time to the sensational aspects of Jobs' life, including his demeaning and ferocious interactions with employees, his relentless high-mindedness and fanatical attention to detail, clearly demonstrating how his tyrannical and perfectionist impulses have have shaped the award-winning designs and consumer-friendly products that have made Apple a juggernaut. Though it doesn't penetrate the Mac man's psyche too deeply, and sections on tangential figures like Apple design guru Jonathan Ive and Apple Store visionary Ron Johnson can meander, those searching for a telling portrait of Jobs's management style and its impact on Apple will not be left wanting.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The latest book about the success of Apple is from an avid fan, journalist, and author of two other Apple-related books (including The Cult of Mac, 2004); it is an in-depth profile of CEO Steven Jobs. It is a tale of two Steves: a perfectionist, charming, charismatic executive but also a man who’s known as an elitist, manipulator, and sociopath, all in search of a dream: providing easy-to-use technology for individuals. Kahney begins with Jobs’ return to the company, changes made to save it from bankruptcy, and then the CEO’s attributes as manifested in products, in people, in corporate directions. Take, for example, Steve’s perfectionism, shown through the three years of work to design the Mac; through the hiring of Hartmut Esslinger, of Frogdesign; and through employee perspectives. Every chapter is headlined by specific personality traits, from Focus to Control Freak, and concludes with Lessons from Steve, bullet-point summaries of key chapter learnings. Written and intended for a wide general audience. --Barbara Jacobs
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, such books are seldom literary masterpieces, and "Inside Steve's Brain" by Leander Kahney seems thrown together to make a quick buck. It contains little information that has not seen print many times, and it's certain that Steve Jobs, always wary of the press, provided no more cooperation to Leander Kahney than he would to "Tiger Beat."
Marketed as a sympathetic look at Chairman Steve, the book dishes no dirt. There's no dish at all. Instead, we get yet another history of Apple Computer, a history of Pixar, an interview with Apple's senior vice president for industrial design, Jonathan Ive, the same accounts of the releases of the iPod and the iPhone that you read in the newspaper, and a fulsome testimonial to the Apple Stores. All this may be of interest to someone who is very young or who has just returned from a long journey to a distant galaxy, but the rest of us already know what Jobs said to John Sculley to lure him away from Pepsi Cola. (Hint: something about selling sugar water.)
In the place of any new information, Mr.Read more ›
In my review of an earlier edition, I observed that, paradoxically, Steve Jobs continues to be one of the best known and yet least understood CEOs in recent business history. It is probably true that most of those who once worked or who now work at Apple Computer will learn more about Jobs as they read Leander Kahney's book and the subsequent Expanded Edition than they knew previously. For years, they and others shared the opinions expressed in this brief excerpt from the Introduction:
"Jobs is a control extraordinaire. He's also a perfectionist, an elitist, and a taskmaster to employees. By most accounts, Jobs is a borderline loony. He is portrayed as a basket case who fires people in elevators, manipulates partners, and takes credit for others' achievements. [Alan Deutschman, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, Pages 59, 197, 239, 243, 254, 294-95 and Jeffrey S. Young, icon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, Pages 212, 213, and 254]. Recent biographies paint an unflattering portrait of a sociopath motivated by the basest desires - to control, to abuse, to dominate. Most books about Jobs are depressing reads. They're dismissive, little more than catalogs of tantrums and abuse. No wonder he's called them `hatchet jobs.' Where's the genius?" All or at least some of this is may be true and yet....
He is a "control freak" and yet "throughout his career, Jobs has struck up a long string of productive partnerships - both personal and corporate. Jobs's success has depended on attracting great people to do great work for him.Read more ›
However, the one negative of the book is the way the author jumps all over the place. Stories sometimes seem to be randomly placed one after another with no logical transition. The author can also get very repetitive, re-introducing certain people such as Jonathan Ives numerous times. It's almost as if he took different magazine articles and put them into his book without removing the introductions. Besides reintroducing people, the author also makes the same points over and over to the point where you feel a sense of deja vu. Finally, I found it awkward when he went on an unprovoked bashing session against HP when discussing why their recent advertising campaign with the hands doing cool things would never measure up to any Apple ad. I thought it was a pretty decent ad.
At first, I felt this was a great book to read. In the beginning, it was very hard to put down. But by the end, I felt a little cheated. Every time a magazine comes out with an article about Apple or Steve Jobs, I jump at the chance to read it. After reading this whole book, I realized that this book is mostly a compilation of all those magazine articles I read. Then again, the author is a magazine editor so what can I expect?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read! It is full of many great insights and is also thought provoking.Published 15 months ago by Steven
This book is pretty disappointing. It is a fairly shallow historical account of Apple's resurgence at the hands of Jobs after he returned to the company. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Hugh Webster
I thought the book provided a general overview of what Apple was like under Steve Jobs. That being said, if you follow the company closely, this book presents no real insight that... Read morePublished on November 19, 2014 by Kyle William
I have about 100 pages to go and am soaking it up. Very insightful. What an amazing man Steve was.Published on September 9, 2014 by C. Chase
The book ends suddenly. It was like something was missing. I am not sure exactly what was missing. Maybe it was just me.Published on May 25, 2014 by Phred