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5.0 out of 5 stars A very different and enlightening perspective on Steve Jobs.
There are many, enthralling tales of Jobs influence on the last three decades from Young and Simon's ICon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business to Truimph of Nerds, Vol. 1-3 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] and Pirates of Silicon Valley [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] but while these try to entertain with versions of the "what" none...
Published on 28 Dec. 2009 by Amazon Customer

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware the review
I was about to buy this book based on Robert Morris's oustanding review __ but then I happened to click on the Comments and all was revealed. Morris appears to be a professional reviewer, presumeably paid by the publishers. At the time of writing he has 854 reviews, most of them extremely lengthy and detailed, and almost every one is '5 Stars'. I note that he started in...
Published on 14 Sept. 2010 by J. Gough


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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware the review, 14 Sept. 2010
By 
J. Gough "joeinpoole" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inside Steve's Brain (Hardcover)
I was about to buy this book based on Robert Morris's oustanding review __ but then I happened to click on the Comments and all was revealed. Morris appears to be a professional reviewer, presumeably paid by the publishers. At the time of writing he has 854 reviews, most of them extremely lengthy and detailed, and almost every one is '5 Stars'. I note that he started in Sept 2005 and managed to review 28 products in his first 2 days. Hmmm.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very different and enlightening perspective on Steve Jobs., 28 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Inside Steve's Brain (Hardcover)
There are many, enthralling tales of Jobs influence on the last three decades from Young and Simon's ICon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business to Truimph of Nerds, Vol. 1-3 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] and Pirates of Silicon Valley [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] but while these try to entertain with versions of the "what" none really look at the underlying "why" except in the role of closet psychologists.

Leander Kahney look beneath the surface and takes the opportunity here to study how Steve Job's specific actions were necessary to create the outcomes that have driven personal computing forward in the late 20th century and created whole new families of products and solutions since. The very characteristics that have formed the basis of the tabloid or populist approach to Jobs are analysed by Kahney on a chapter by chapter basis, with titles like Focus, Despotism, Perfectionism, Elitism - each carefully analysing - even deconstructing - the origins and purposes of these facets and then building them up to form a more complete understanding of the whole.

This book is enhanced by reading it with Woz's chapter in Founders at Work : Stories of Startups' Early Days: Stories of Startups' Early Days (Recipes: a Problem-Solution Ap)
and The Inmates are Running the Asylum: Why High-tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity to hand to help the reader understand Job's contribution to Apple and the continual battle that he has faced to lead the creation of the products we associate with him.

Altogether, first class journalism and highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steve's brainstorms, 25 Jun. 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
There have been plenty of books that tell the story of Apple Computers' origins and the early days, and as correctly pointed out by some other reviewers there has been a lot of press about Steve Jobs and Apple over the years. However, I find it useful and interesting to have many of those stories collected in a single book, especially if it mostly deals with Apple's recent resurgence. Steve Jobs, somewhat predictably, does not feature too prominently in this book. This may be surprising considering that the book's title promises to deal with nothing less than Steve's brain. However, Steve Jobs is notoriously private person and his interaction with the media is very limited. There have been very few interviews that he gave over the years, and those that he did give reveal very little about his own personal life, musings or misgivings. Most of what we know about him comes from people who had closely observed him work, mostly his current and former employees. One such employee is Jonathan Ive, the designer that is the great driving forces behind recent surge of Apple success. He is the designer behind iPod, iMac and a host of other products. The book is very good at documenting how some of these products came about, but it still doesn't reveal too much as much of it remains in the realm of industrial secrets. Each chapter ends with a few bullet-pointed "lessons" that we are supposed to take away from the way that Steve Jobs approaches design and business decisions. Most of these are rather trite and are reminiscent of the self-help manuals. They also detract from the main narrative of the book, but fortunately they are very short and don't really affect the overall message.

To conclude, this is an interesting look at Steve Jobs and Apple, especially over the last ten years or so. If you are not a die-hard Mac fanatic who follows each and every Mac-related story that comes out in the press you will learn a lot about these topics. Even if you are a walking Mac encyclopedia, it might still be fun to read a book that documents much of the recent Mac lore in an accessible and self-contained form.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book reads like a poorly written dissertation!, 8 July 2009
By 
Mike Dowson (Derbyshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read an awful lot of books about successful businesses and business people and i have to say this is by far the worst, I didn't even bother finishing it it's that bad.

The book reads like a poorly written dissertation continuously quoting (or miss-quoting) documents the author has found to write the book with. The book almost seems to just jump from one quote to the next with no words tying them up or even analysing what has been said.

Having read Steve Wozniak's book (co-founder of Apple) I am fairly happy to believe that he will portray a realistic opinion of the early years of Apple, he was involved in writing his book and consequently there is no room for misunderstanding. The author of this book doesn't seem to have ever even met Steve Job's, just had some kind of obsession about reading around the guy and maybe speaking to the odd former colleague. Consequently facts are often patchy and there is no chance that you will get inside Steve's brain. I think this is the furthest thing from the truth about the whole book. From what i have read so far (well over half) I have no understanding of how Steve thinks - I know what other people think about him and how they think his brain may work, but, no inside knowledge from the man himself. Unfortunately, everybody has their own opinion, most different, so you don't get any idea how he actually thinks, just several confused opinions.

My opinion - if you want to find out about the early days of Apple - read Steve Wozniak's book - it is excellent, if you want to find out about Steve Jobs - keep hoping he may release his own autobiography one day, don't waste your money on this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising start, bogs down towards the end., 15 Feb. 2010
By 
A. I. Mackenzie "alimack" (Glasgow, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This book has a promising start - it begins by explaining how Steve Jobs acts in the first 40 days or so after he takes over at Apple. It's very much anti-legend, no screaming, no firing people on the spot etc. It was very interesting, particularly as Steve (apparently) needed to be convinced to take the job.

However after a while it start to look like a cut and paste job. SJ reverts to to the figure of legend - see Fake Steve jobs for the definitive version. The author contradicts himself, and the chapter endings where "you too can be like Steve Jobs" are just silly - he's a one off and you can't imitate his qualities (whether bad or good).

Not recommended, worth renting from the library for the first couple of chapters.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quo vadis?, 11 Nov. 2009
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Inside Steve's Brain (Hardcover)
Note: The review that follows is of the Expanded Edition

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. He's always chosen great collaborators [as well as] "forged (mostly) harmonious relationships with some of the world's top brands - Disney, Pepsi, and the big record labels." Kahney also points out that "through judicious use of both the carrot and the stick, Jobs has managed to retain and motivate lots of top-shelf talent...and then given them the freedom to be creative and shielded them from the growing bureaucracy at Apple." As Jobs sees it, "My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay."

In this Expanded Edition, Kahney provides a new chapter devoted entirely to issues concerning Jobs's battle with pancreatic cancer. In a rare memo to the entire company, on August 1, 2004, he offered a number if reassurances, notably that the neuroendocrine or islet-cell tumor is curable by surgery if diagnosed in time, that the operation had already occurred, and that there was no need for follow-up radiation or chemotherapy treatments. All seemed to go well for the next two years and then, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Jobs appeared frail, indeed "emaciated" despite claims to the contrary by Apple spokespersons that his health was "robust." Only much later did he admit that his health-related issues were much more serious than previously indicated. What Kahney has to say about subsequent developments is best revealed within the narrative, in context, such as the increasingly more important role that Apple's COO, Tim Cook, has in the company, although Jobs continued as CEO.

During his research for the first edition of this book, Kahney was struck by Jobs's apparent preoccupation with death, indicated by how many times he mentioned it as the driving force in his life. In a commencement speech to the graduating class at Stanford in 2005, he observed, "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." This perspective helps to explain why Jobs has always been so impatient, so demanding, and so contemptuous of anything and anyone that is not "insanely great."

Obviously, the Apple culture has been an extension of Jobs's personality and style. To me, his brain resembles a minefield, a lush garden filled with beautiful flowers and plants, a fireworks display, a demolition derby, a six-year old's birthday party, a torture chamber, a vast green meadow, a shooting gallery, and a state fair. When he was in good health and centrally involved, it was never dull. With Jobs, nothing ever is. Although there is other new material in this book, Chapter 9 (what is now the concluding chapter) will probably be of greatest interest to those who ask, "What will happen to Apple after Steve Jobs is no longer involved?" No matter what happens, it does seem certain that an Apple without him will be different and perhaps he would be disappointed if it weren't.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not really good, 17 Jun. 2012
interesting, now historical, trawl through the mind of Steve Jobs. Has lots of points about the business tips that you could get from Jobs, but occasionally contradicted himself.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insights into sublime product development, 18 April 2011
By 
Jonathan Kettleborough (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Let's be honest; most of what you'll read in this book has already been said in countless other Apple books, interviews etc., but don't let that put you off!

In this book, Leander Kahney draws together so many facets of the Apple success story, many of which are not about Steve, but about the teams that he works with.

Those of you who've read extensively about Apple know that Steve Jobs is renowned for his temper and his almost insane attention to detail. Whilst these traits certainly come across in this book, you'll also realise that there is a softer Steve who is also willing to listen and reflect; perhaps that's age for you!

What I did find very interesting were the chapters on innovation and control. Clearly Apple is an exceptionally innovative company and getting the inside view of what makes this possible is great; but I'd really challenge other companies to achieve the same success because whilst you may think there is a recipe for innovation, Steve shows us that this isn't the case.

What also came across in the book was the utter passion that Steve Jobs has for making something the very best that it can possibly be. He also talks about doing something in life you really enjoy (you can see him talk passionately about this in his Stamford graduate address), and despite being worth billions, money is not a motivating factor for Steve Jobs.

Overall I found this a excellent book; yes it went over lots of old ground but it did give a really good insight into one of the most iconic business leaders of our time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Inside Steve's Brain: Business Lessons from Steve Jobs, the Man Who Saved Apple (Kindle Edition)
It's a good read and I enjoyed it. This book gives you somewhat of an inside view into steve's thinking.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's certainly a great deal in there., 7 Oct. 2008
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Inside Steve's Brain (Hardcover)
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 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. He's always chosen great collaborators [as well as] "forged (mostly) harmonious relationships with some of the world's top brands - Disney, Pepsi, and the big record labels." Kahney also points out that "through judicious use of both the carrot and the stick, Jobs has managed to retain and motivate lots of top-shelf talent...and then given them the freedom to be creative and shielded them from the growing bureaucracy at Apple." As Jobs sees it, "My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay."

I was especially interested in the material in Chapter 6 ("Inventive Spirit: Where Does the Innovation Come From?") because in dozens of recently published books about innovation, their authors' opinions vary (sometimes significantly) in terms of what it is and isn't, to what extent (if any) people can learn how to think innovatively, and whether or not innovation can be institutionalized. I was curious to know what Kahney's research (especially various interviews with Jobs and others) revealed about a company that is annually ranked among the most innovative companies in the world. For example, what's the system? Jobs once explained to BusinessWeek, "The system is that there is no system." When asked by Rob Walker (a New York Times reporter) if he ever consciously thinks about innovation, Jobs responded: "No. We consciously think about making great products. We don't think `Let's be innovative! Let's take a class! Here are the five rules of innovation, let's put them up all over the company!" Nonetheless, we are told, "Jobs has an almost mystical reverence for innovation." According to Jobs, it is Apple's "secret sauce" and helps to explain why Apple continues to produce blockbuster products such as the iMac, iPod, and iPhone but, Kahney adds, "there's also a long list of smaller, yet important and influential products" such as the Airport and the AppleTV. Innovation at Apple is a process with a mindset, not a project with a formula.

Given Jobs's obvious scorn for most efforts to "become more innovative," and there is no recipe to produce its "secret sauce," how to explain the company's "innovative spirit"? The answer to that question is too complicated to be summarized in a review such as this, nor can a complete answer be found in any one chapter of Kahney's book. However, a partial answer reveals a great deal about what's inside Steve's brain and how it becomes pervasive throughout the organization. First, Apple determines which markets to target and how to target each. Knowing who you are and what to do are obviously important but no more important than knowing who you aren't (and shouldn't attempt to be) as well as knowing what not to do. Also, Apple remains constantly aware of all new developments in the markets in which it competes (especially those in relevant technologies) and is always receptive to new ideas. It fully embraces the business model Henry Chesbrough so brilliantly discusses in his Open Innovation and then Open Business Models.

It should also be noted that Apple is always receptive to new or better ideas wherever they are and appropriates whatever serves its purposes. Jobs agrees with Picasso that good artists copy, great artists steal. "And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." Then there is Jobs's concept of the digital hub, best explained within the narrative, in context. (Please see Pages 185-188.) Based on what Kahney shares in this book, there are two principles on which the success of the company in all areas and in all markets continues to depend. First, hire only those who will contribute "insanely great" ideas that will enable the company to create "insanely great" products. Also, create a culture of constant creative confrontation. "Day to day at Apple, Shawney explains, "meetings with Jobs can often be arguments - long, combative arguments. Jobs relishes intellectual combat. He wants high-level discussion - even a fight - because it's the most effective way to get to the bottom of a problem. And by hiring the best people he can find [and then retaining them], he ensures the debate will be at the highest level." If a "bozo" somehow survives the rigors of Apple's unorthodox interview process, she or he does not last long and those responsible for hiring that person are viewed with ridicule, if not contempt.

Few people at Apple meet with Jobs but everyone knows what those meetings are alike because most (if not all) other meetings at Apple also resemble a crucible that is expected to generate precious metals in the form of insanely great ideas, the best decisions, etc. Clearly, Jobs determines the style and sets the tone for interaction at Apple. He wholeheartedly believes that "good" is the enemy of "great" and thus has zero tolerance of anyone and anything that falls short of his "insanely" high standards. It should be added that talent alone is seldom sufficient. Jobs also demands - not expects - that people at Apple be warriors, eager to engage in combat to "win" arguments with associates. Intellectual combat is a key ingredient in Apple's "secret sauce" and Jobs is the company's master chef. Despite the efforts of most employees to avoid him, there is always the chance of encountering him unexpectedly in a hallway, elevator, rest room or parking lot. He will immediately grill them about what they are doing, how they are doing it, etc. Although some have described Apple as a "regime of terror," it continues to be an almost pure meritocracy.

In this book, Kahney provides an extended tour inside Steve's brain. What is it like in there? Obviously, the Apple culture is an extension of Jobs's personality and style. To me, it resembles a minefield, a lush garden filled with beautiful flowers and plants, a fireworks display, a demolition derby, a six-year old's birthday party, a torture chamber, a vast green meadow, a shooting gallery, and a state fair. I urge you to take your own tour with Leander Kahney. I promise that it will never be dull. With Steve Jobs, nothing ever is.
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