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Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success Paperback – 7 Jun 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Penguin (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670921181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921188
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A blueprint for running a company the Steve Jobs way ... should be required reading for anyone interested in management and marketing (The Times)

Punchy ... Segall gets inside Apple's branding and marketing to explain its directness and power (Financial Times)

Required reading (Observer)

About the Author

Ken Segall worked closely with Steve Jobs as ad agency creative director for NeXT and Apple. He was a member of the team that created Apple's legendary 'Think Different' campaign, and he's responsible for that little "i" that's a part of Apple's most popular products. Segall has also served as creative director for IBM, Intel, Dell, and BMW. He blogs about technology and marketing at, and has fun with it all at Follow Segall on Twitter: @ksegall

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Labrow on 9 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is perhaps the one management book which has really resonated with me since Don Peppers and Martha Rogers' The One-To-One Future. Let's face it, that's not great: that was published in 1996.

I'm old enough to have worked for organisations both large and small - as an employee and as an outside supplier. It can be frustrating to be working for an organisation that has a core of brilliance but somehow can't get things done - this book explains the one simple reason why this is often the case: they can't do things in a simple way.

The book's author, Ken Segall, worked as a marketing provider to Apple - and, at the same time, Intel, Dell and other large IT companies. It's essentially the story of what makes Apple such a force to be reckoned with - but isn't merely a sanctification of Steve Jobs.

Yes, Steve is mentioned aplenty and is usually the centre of the many examples given. But while it touches on many of the facets of Steve's character which made him so successful, it focuses on one thing which almost anyone can do to improve their business - yet, will find an incredibly difficult and elusive concept to implement: simplicity.

Steve was often regarded as ruthless. Although there's some truth in that, it's probably better to say that he was single-minded. He wanted to get things done - and he often wanted to get them done fast. He didn't like to hear the word `no'.

Well, we've all worked with managers who think that's the right way to move a company forward, that without their aggression, people simply wouldn't do their best. Steve's single-mindedness wasn't like that. He often knew that there was a better way and he provided a means to get there. He demanded simplicity.

Steve himself said that simplicity is hard to achieve.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Halfacre on 5 Jun. 2012
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For me the test of a good business book is whether it gives me some inspiration and ideas for applying in my own work / business. By this measure "Insanely Simple" is a great business book. Although the examples are, well, simple, it had my synapses firing over and over again with ways to apply the messages in the book. Simply the best business book I have read for a long time.

Ken Segall makes a strong argument that one of the keys to Apple's success is a fierce adherence to the custom and practice of Simplicity. To back this up he takes 10 facets of simplicity and uses a story from his history with Steve Jobs and Apple to illustrate each point. He uses stories from his experience with Dell, IBM and others to show what happens when you embrace complexity instead. The book is simple, the stories fascinating but it's enough to provoke a lot of serious thought about how you run your business and whether making it simpler would make it more effective.

For students of Jobs it's also a useful book, one of the first written by a close insider who can explain a little of HOW Jobs was able to both inspire fierce loyalty and demand freakishly high standards. Segall also makes good case for much of Jobs behaviour being reasonable when viewed in context of what he wanted to achieve. In this respect it's a much better book than the relentlessly tabloid approach taken by Walter Issacson in Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Baker on 11 Aug. 2012
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As an insight into the company this book is great, especially after reading Steve Jobs' biography by Walter Isaacson recently. There are many anecdotes from Segall throughout focusing mainly on advertising, but some insights into design are given too. These fill in some of the gaps around the story told in Isaacson's book which is nice.

After reading this book it has resonated with me, and I do think about what I have read in this book in my day job. It's quite inspiring, and if the company I worked for took on a little more of Job's attitude we would all work a lot faster.

However this book is frustrating at times. With almost every point made, the author feels he needs to explain how this point links perfectly back to simplicity which quickly becomes tedious. These 5-10 lines read like an essay a 16 year old might write. The points made are mostly sound but I can see the simplicity in the points for myself; it doesn't need explaining every single time especially as each section is so short and the point is made essentially twice. It's like someone explaining a joke when the punch line is obvious; it just isn't required. I think the author needed to have a little more faith is the intelligence of the reading audience. In addition, the capitalisation of the 'S' in simplicity throughout the book is just strange.

More annoying is that the links back to simplicity become ever more tenuous as the book goes on. For example, Segall says that the product names of Dell (Vostro, Latitude, Precision) are confusing in terms of understanding the walk up the range. Yet he claims that Apple's iPod range is a bastion of simplicity with Shuffle, Nano, Touch and Classic. Sorry, no. That is not a valid point as the same issue exists with both Dell and Apple there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Holmesdale on 23 Oct. 2012
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I like it because it is easy and quick to read, with many interesting points that I can take away and adopt in my professional life. I liked the structure, again from a simplicity point of view. But I did find it somewhat repetitive and it felt at times that the author was really 'stretching' out what he had to say. It was recommended to me as an audio book and having now read it I think that was a good recommendation over the hard format.
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