The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success

What kind of genius creates a product and brand that is so strong and so powerful that people will wait outside the handful of retail outlets that distribute the product, even though …

  • The product has some technical features which are less desirable than the alternative?
  • It has basic functions that actually cause developers and design firms to design around them?
  • Hackers break into the device so that desperate customers from certain wireless providers can use it?
  • It has an audience that’s so loyal they will beg and plead with their cell phone carriers for access to the exclusive device?

Yeah – I want to be that brand.  If you hadn’t guessed what brand I’m talking about, then you must have been under a rock for the last decade or so.  It’s Apple.

And the brains and vision behind the brand belong to Steve Jobs.  Jobs’ unique way of looking at the world and presenting his ideas has earned him a reputation that’s nothing short of guru status.

Wanna Be Like Steve?  There’s a Book for That

When I received a review copy of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success, I didn’t know what to expect.  It was written by Carmine Gallo (@carminegallo), author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, so I thought it might have some useful insights about how to innovate or think innovatively.

It did.  The book is rooted in the Seven Principles inspired by Steve Jobs:

  1. Do What You Love: Think differently about your career.
  2. Put a Dent in the Universe: Think differently about your vision.
  3. Kick Start Your Brain: Think differently about how you think.
  4. Sell Dreams, Not Products: Think differently about your customers.
  5. Say No to 1,000 Things: Think differently about design.
  6. Create Insanely Great Experiences: Think differently about your brand experience.
  7. Master the Message. Think differently about your story.

Overall, it’s business motherhood and apple pie, filtered through the uniquely creative mind of Steve Jobs.   It’s important to recognize, however, that each of us is our own unique person, and the only person who can think or be like Steve Jobs is …. Steve Jobs.

As I was reading the book, I really got a sense of Jobs’ unique life experiences and the way he has gone about the business of living and working.  When he dropped out of college, he didn’t create Apple – in fact, he didn’t know what to do, so he took a calligraphy class.  In fact, Jobs has lived his life following his passion in all things.

The book puts a lot of emphasis on how he followed his heart and that left me thinking that if I had “followed my heart” as much as he followed his, I’d be couch surfing and maybe working at a minimum wage job.

There is no doubt that Steve Jobs has something special.  He lives his life in a certain way; in fact, it seems that his focus was never to build an empire, but to be and do what his heart led him to be and do.  I don’t mean to sound metaphysical about this, but had he not met Steve Wozniak or had he gone to an accounting class instead of calligraphy, things could have turned out differently.  Apple wouldn’t be Apple.

Yet, I believe Jobs would still have the same philosophy of life. Maybe he would have opened a restaurant instead of launching Apple, but his core wouldn’t change.

Don’t Be Steve Jobs – Be YOU

I started my journey through this book thinking that it was a “How to be Steve Jobs” manual and learned that it was a “How to be your best self” manual.  In between, I got confirmation on the basics of creating great customer experiences, selling dreams instead of products and all those things that pull at our heartstrings.

I’m not sure exactly what my version of Jobs’ list would be.  But I’m pretty clear that this book is calling all small business owners to take a serious look at our core principles.  We are all so much more than the businesses that we run.

If you’re remotely interested in CEO biographies and want additional perspective on how to transform your business, your product and how you are in the world, this is a great read.  You can expect to have some light-bulb moments in the process.  Maybe you’ll grab an insight about a new way to do things.  Maybe you’ll decide that what you really need to do is take a dance class or go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  Regardless, you’ll come out of Innovation Secrets with your mind a little more open to thinking innovatively.

Editors note: Thanks to WHGeeks for translating this review into Serbo-Croatian.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."