Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works
INSIDE APPLE reveals the secret systems, tactics and leadership strategies that allowed Steve Jobs and his company to churn out hit after hit and inspire a cult-like following for its products.
If Apple is Silicon Valley's answer to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, then author Adam Lashinsky provides readers with a golden ticket to step inside. In this primer on leadership and innovation, the author will introduce readers to concepts like the "DRI" (Apple's practice of assigning a Directly Responsible Individual to every task) and the Top 100 (an annual ritual in which 100 up-and-coming executives are tapped a la Skull & Bones for a secret retreat with company founder Steve Jobs).
Based on numerous interviews, the book offers exclusive new information about how Apple innovates, deals with its suppliers and is handling the transition into the Post Jobs Era. Lashinsky, a Senior Editor at Large for Fortune, knows the subject cold: In a 2008 cover story for the magazine entitled The Genius Behind Steve: Could Operations Whiz Tim Cook Run The Company Someday he predicted that Tim Cook, then an unknown, would eventually succeed Steve Jobs as CEO.
While Inside Apple is ostensibly a deep dive into one, unique company (and its ecosystem of suppliers, investors, employees and competitors), the lessons about Jobs, leadership, product design and marketing are universal. They should appeal to anyone hoping to bring some of that Apple magic to their own company, career, or creative endeavor.
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As a longtime fan of Apple’s products, I’ve read a lot about this iconic company over the years. Apple’s willingness to break with the traditions is legendary, and it’s this revolutionary aspect of its products that has earned it the iconoclastic reputation that it has. Most of this revolutionary zeal, and Apple’s overall approach to business, was, of course, based in the particular vision of Steve Jobs, its founder and the CEO during some of the company’s most successful days. My own understanding of Apple’s esthetic and business approach was too based on numerous articles and books on Steve Jobs that I’ve read over the years. However, with his passing, the questions of how well will the company be able to carry on with his legacy and success will persist for some time. In order to better understand what is at stake, it’s important to take a closer look at the Apple itself, going beyond the man that was synonymous with it for many decades of its existence.
“Inside Apple” is a book that, as the title suggests, pulls the curtain ever so slightly away from Apple’s recondite inner workings and exposes those innards to the wider world. Apple is notoriously secretive about all aspects of its work, and this attitude of secrecy has a spell even over its former workers. Consequently, it has not been easy to gather valuable and verifiable information about the inside workings of Apple. This book, however, manages to present a very convincing and cogent view of what makes Apple unique. It shows how Apple’s business and management styles go against almost all business school wisdom that has been taught over the past several decades. Apple has often been accused of being extremely rigid, and it’s surprising that anyone form the Silicon Valley would ever want to work there, and little less actually thrive. However, this book makes the claim that the rigidity of Apple’s structure and the extreme compartmentalization of different divisions and subdivisions within the company, all serve the purpose of fostering a sense of small teamwork that most big tech companies eventually lose. It is debatable if that sense of teamwork can last, especially now that the visionary input of Steve Jobs is gone.
This is a very well researched and extremely readable account of one of the world’s most intriguing, successful and iconic companies. It will be of interest to anyone who wants to know more not only about the current technological trends, but also about how big corporations work. I enjoyed this book immensely and would highly recommend it.