The passing of Steve Jobs has launched another Apple book, Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works by Adam Lashinky (@adamlashinsky). There seems to be an insatiable appetite for understanding just how Apple does its thing. I can say that I’m old enough to have experienced Apple’s rise, fall and resurrection and now, with Steve Jobs gone, I’m curious to see what will happen next.
In the meantime, let me give you a taste of Inside Apple. I received a copy from the publicist and decided to review it because I know how many of you just adore anything Apple. Personally, I’m not sure what the obsession is all about. What I can tell you is that you will be riveted from the fist page to the last.
Inside Apple is a book meant to be read, enjoyed and digested. No matter how much you loved Steve Jobs or wished for just one day as an Apple employee, you might find yourself rethinking some of these wishes as you get to know some of the ingredients behind Apple’s “secret sauce”.
Apple had its own way of being in the world. What most organizational experts said would destroy other companies, only made Apple stronger. For example, no one really says that working at Apple is fun, nor do they do it for the money. People work at Apple because they are passionate about making cool things. Working at Apple often means being bullied, challenged and working long hours and weekends. But to those people who take pride in creating something that changed the world – these experiences are priceless.
What’s Inside Apple
Inside Apple contains only ten chapters and runs just under 225 pages if you count the appendix. Like most “Steve Jobs” books, each chapter is named after what seems like Steve Jobs wisdom;
- Rethink Leadership
- Embrace Secrecy
- Focus Obsessively
- Stay Start-Up Hungry
- Hire Disciples
- Own your message
- Overwhelm Friends/Dominate Foes
- Inspire Imitators
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.
What Adam Lashinsky Brings to the Story
Adam Lashinsky is the senior editor at Large for Fortune Magazine, where he covers Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Lashinsky has also written extensively on Google, HP and Apple. You may have also seen him on the Fox News Channel’s Cavuto on Business Program where he is a weekly panelist.
He brings a writing style that borders between a novel, a history book and a news report. Each chapter contains stories and anecdotes that come from ex-Apple employees and executives. Not surprisingly, current Apple employees or executives all declined to be interviewed. In fact, even Steve Jobs and Tim Cook granted formal interviews, either for the book or for the original article that appeared in Fortune Magazine.
A Few Bites from the Book
I know, you can’t wait to get the book to see get some of the secret Apple-sauce. Well here are just a few bites for you to munch on until your book arrives:
- Apple uses a recruiting process that brings people into these “dummy positions” long before they are trusted enough to be told what they are working on.
- The secrecy system that strangely resembles terrorist cells where walls of locked down rooms can be erected right outside your office for new projects.
- The unique organizational structure that uses a caste system
I’ll bet you’re hooked now!
What You’ll Get Out of Reading Inside Apple
Well, if you’re sitting there complaining about the fact that your boss is an inconsiderate jerk and you wished you worked for Apple – you might change your mind. If you’re a raving Apple fan, you’ll get a thrill out of reading about the details that make your favorite company tick.
If you’re looking to get some insight as to what you should do to turn your company into the next Apple – you’ll be disappointed. This book isn’t about being like Steve Jobs or like Apple. Think of it like being out in the wild and observing the wonder of nature – without really understanding how it works or why it works – it just works. One of the best explanations comes from the back cover: As one leading business school professor put it:
“Apple is like a bumblebee. It shouldn’t fly, but it does.”