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on 19 June 2017
I bought this book after reading the authors great book on Uber, but was left disappointed. A lot of the information had already appeared in Walter Isaacsons biography of Steve Jobs, often in a lot more detail. It was interesting to get a bit more colour on other senior execs, especially Tim Cook. If you want a brief overview of apple this will give it to you, but if you already feel like you know it well this probably won't deepen your knowledge much.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 30 January 2012
If for whatever reasons you have not as yet -- and will not -- read Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, this would be an excellent source for information about the internal operations of a company he founded and headed for much of its history thus far, one that now continues without him. Credit Adam Lashinsky with providing a rigorous, comprehensive, balanced, and insightful examination of an organization and a culture unlike any other.

Here is Dallas, there is a farmers market near downtown at which several merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples. In that spirit, I now offer a representative selection of brief passages that caught my eye.

According to Michael Maccoby, Steve Jobs was a "productive narcissist," as were all the other greats of business history..."visionary risk takers with a burning desire to `change the world.'"

Lashinsky adds, "Corporate narcissists are charismatic leaders willing to do whatever it takes to win and who couldn't give a fig about being liked. Steve Jobs was the textbook example of a productive narcissist." (Both excerpts from Page 18)

Lashinsky on working at Apple when Jobs was its CEO: "To succeed in a company where there is obsessive focus on detail and paranoid guarding of secrets, and where employees are asked to work in a state of permanent start-up, you must be willing to mesh your talents with those of the corporation. You have to forgo your desire to be acknowledged by the outside world and instead derive satisfaction from being a cell in an organism that is changing the world." (Pages 91-92)

"In contrast to the way Apple runs roughshod over its partners and competitors is the subtle way it charms, then entraps its customers - even though they, too, must abide by strict rules in exchange for interacting with Apple. Retail discounts for Apple products don't exist." (Page 149)

"The biggest pitfall in trying to be like Apple, however, is that Apple's culture is thirty-five years in the making and bears the stamp of one extraordinary entrepreneur who turned into a shrewd chief executive of a sixty-thousand-person corporation. It won't be a snap for any company to create its own version of the Apple culture. As well, Apple will find out how strong its culture really is - and how much of its success was attributable to Steve Jobs." (Page 188)

"Companies, like people, aren't perfect. Apple in the last fourteen years of Jobs's life was far better than most, but it wasn't perfect. Jobs was just particularly good at getting us to focus on the good and ignore the bad." (Page 207)

With uncommon skill, Adam Lashinsky enables his reader to explore dimensions and to understand factors that may be unfamiliar to at least some people who are - or have been - among Apple's workforce at its headquarters in Cupertino. For me, the appeal of this book has little (if anything) to do with "insider" revelation. Rather, again, one's man's opinion, the great value of the material is derived lessons to be learned from Apple and Steve Jobs in terms of what should be done - and what should not be done - when attempting to build and then sustain an "insanely great" organization. On numerous occasions, Jobs cited that ultimate goal as a process, as a journey, rather than as a destination. To his credit, Apple has probably come about as close as any organization has to reaching it.
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As English essayist Walter Bagehot once cautioned the British monarchy, it is dangerous to "let daylight in upon the magic." Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and his small, loyal band of executives applied this concept with a vengeance. But in the wake of Jobs's death, more of Apple's business methods are coming to light - and they're the polar opposite of what you'd learn in management school. Contrary to current business trends toward transparency and flatter hierarchies, Apple has fiercely encouraged secretiveness, silos and a start-up mentality, even though it is the most profitable company on Earth. Fortune senior editor Adam Lashinsky explains how it all works. By the time he's finished, you'll probably still want to buy Apple products, but you may not want to work for the firm. Even if you're not fascinated by the machinations of the corporate world, getAbstract thinks you'll find this page-turner highly entertaining. It will leave you wondering how the world's leading device maker will fare, now that its legendary creator has left it to its - well, to its own devices.
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on 10 June 2012
'Inside Apple' is not an insider's view. It doesn't really present much novelty. It talks a lot about secrecy without telling any secrets. If you read the biography of Steve Jobs you will get much more information, much more insights into how Apple works.

'How America's most admired and secretive company really works' is not explained in this book. That's the broken promise to me, the frustrated reader.

Given that, it still gets 3 stars: good reading, good structure. It will be interesting for those that did not read the biography of the great man. I can only guess the anger, perhaps even the sadness of the author when the biography came out. After all, unlike Walter Isaacson, Lashinsky did not have privileged access to Steve Jobs, his family, friends, enemies and colleagues. It's really an unfair, uneven comparison, but as a reader, this book broke the contract with me - it is a shallow approach to Apple, not the inside view.

Potential spoiler: Perhaps the only real novelty is that working for Apple is not that appealing after all...
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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.
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Adam Lashinsky's book "Inside Apple" is a well written, researched and 'illuminating' portrait of Steve Jobs, an obsessive control freak, surely unrivaled in the annuls of 'those-that-must-be obeyed'.

The book covers the period after his rejoining Apple as CEO in 1997 after being ousted in 1985 and carefully, bit-by-bit details the complete and totality of the company's operations, over which Steve Jobs stamped with an iron hand his will, and decisions, not just over the final result of each departments input/output but over every single interim step. His management style was a mixture of zealous inspiration through to awe, bordering on fear. Employee's were kept completely in the dark on new products or developments and their access strictly restricted to only the parts of the Apple Campus relating to something they were working on. The Cupertino HQ could not have been a joyous or morale building environment, just a place to keep your head down and fastidiously obey the instructions and visions harbored by the highly 'explosive' Mr Jobs.

But, what the hell, this mans foresight, and ambitions saved Apple from ruin and turned it into a phenomenally successful company both in terms of profits and revolutionary product designs, so his management style was, obviously highly effective. However, it remains to be seen whether those having to run Apple after Mr Job's death, such as new CEO Tim Cook were given sufficient real responsibility and the freedom to develop their own talents, to move Apple onwards and upwards. The jury is out and only time will tell.

An interesting read.
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on 7 June 2015
I enjoyed the book and learnt a few things about Job's Apple I didn't know. The thrust of the book is mostly can Apple survive without Jobs, but the book also gives a vivid description of the environment prevalent at Apple for those who work there and for those who try to probe into Apple's secrets. The degree of compartmentalisation and 'need to know' for Apple employees is quite staggering and also Job's perverse nature is covered at some length. Basically, Jobs was a bully and thus Apple as a company was a bully who never took prisoners, but there were a few who Jobs treated well, those who he obviously respected and needed.
I used Macs for about 7 years, but migrated to the PC just before 2000- in my view PCs are as 'good' if not much better than Macs- a very good book about Jobs, which he did not like is the book 'Icon'. The word 'icon' can be taken to have two meanings as in the widely used phrase relating to Jobs, 'distorted reality field'... In my view Apple inevitably will run out of products to inovate and certainly without Jobs the company will gradually fade. Jobs was an extremely unique character, a man of his time, at the right time, on the edge of a new technology, a time probably never to be equalled again, especially as we are witnessing a decline in prosperity of the general population.
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on 25 January 2014
If, like me, you're hoping that you will learn all about the intricate details of how things really work at Apple, then you will probably be disappointed. I wanted to know the nitty gritty detail of how they run their projects. What their labs look like. Pick up little nuggets about how they actually go about designing stuff. How many prototypes they go through before they deliver a final product - that sort of thing. This book is not about that.

Instead, you will learn bits about the culture at Apple, what Steve Jobs was really like and how secretive Apple is. And, after reading this book, you will realise how good they are at keeping those secrets!

I did enjoy most of this book but I felt it could all have been said in about half the time.
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on 29 March 2012
I was recommended this by my friend and found myself engrossed in the details of Jobs and Apple trying to create a new world.
The book is fascinating and gives great insights into everything you can imagine from the inner working at board level down to the minutest detail of back room staff.

The way it is all explained is very clear and I don't want to write any spoilers but a nice time is not had by all.

I was enthralled by the book and it gives me ideas for my own workplace to boot.
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on 27 July 2013
It's an amazing book. Adam really explains how the world's most admired and the most valuable brand really works. Using different sources, Adam goes into the depth of the company and digs out the secret formulas(well i guess not a secret as such anymore) that Apple embeds in itself which makes it what it is today. A must read for everyone specially those entrepreneurs or leaders who have a vision for their companies.
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