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The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation

The former Senior Vice President of Apple Computer and close colleague of Steve Jobs’s throughout his tenure, Jay Elliot takes readers on a remarkable tour through Jobs’s astonishing career. From the inception of game-changing products like the Apple II and the Macintosh, to his stunning fall from grace,
and on to his rebirth at the helm of Apple, his involvement with Pixar, and the development of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and much more, The Steve Jobs Way presents real-life examples of Jobs’s leadership challenges and triumphs, showing readers how to apply these principles
to their own lives and careers.
 
Packed with exclusive interviews from key figures in Apple Computer’s history, this revealing account provides a rarely seen, intimate glimpse into the  Steve Jobs you won’t see on stage, thoroughly exploring his management and leadership principles. From product development meetings to design labs, through
executive boardroom showdowns to the world outside of Silicon Valley, readers will see the real Steve Jobs, the “Boy Genius” who forever transformed technology and the way we work, play, consume, and communicate—all through the eyes of someone who worked side by side with Jobs.
 
Written in partnership with William L. Simon, coauthor of the bestselling Jobs biography iCon, The Steve Jobs Way is the “how to be like Steve” book that readers have been waiting for.

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2 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Phillips "Innovation and Team Product... says:

    He’s Steve Jobs and you’re not OK, I’ll admit it. I am a sucker for anyone who can decipher or decode Steve Jobs. After all, the guy is a repeat Icarus. He has flown too close to the sun not once, not twice, but at least three times and every time has come out better than before. The effect he’s had on Apple upon his return has been nothing short of a resurrection followed by a seating at the right hand of the Father.Jobs is an interesting, mercurial creature, and I often wonder if he is simply one of a kind, a kind of idiot savant who understands how to tap into our wants and needs, and who has an almost messianic vision that we need to follow. Sometimes I suspect that books about him are probably best read to illuminate how different we are from Steve rather than how we can become more like Steve.I’ve read several books about Jobs, but in many regards The Steve Jobs Way is probably the best. The subtitle for the book is iLeadership for a New Generation, which is a bit unfortunate, for reasons I’ve just presented above (I’m not sure we can easily emulate Jobs) and for the hackneyed use of the “i”. But Jay Elliott, who was present at the beginning, knows Jobs probably as well as anyone, and gives insights that few can do from the outside looking in. And if the first few pages where Elliott describes how he first got the job with Jobs doesn’t hook you, then really nothing will.Here’s the plain, unvarnished truth about what Elliot has to say: Steve Jobs is unlike just about everyone you’ll ever meet. After founding Apple and wowing a bunch of venture capitalists and business people, Jobs had visions of a different kind of computer and become a disruption in his own company, and was eventually thrust out (first Icarus moment). Using the funds he received from his stock sale, he purchased Pixar and developed the NexT computer. For a man who is supposedly a marketing genius, he misunderstood Pixar and targeted a tiny university market with a computer that was far too capable and expensive. Fortunately, due to his inability to recognize his failures, he stuck around and funded both long enough for the world to catch up to his technologies. Both Pixar and NexT reached Icarus points of their own, and Jobs had the ability to reach deep into his own pockets to keep them float.Jobs returned to Apple as an “advisor” to Gil Amelio and supplanted Amelio very shortly afterward. Amelio must have been the only person on the planet who didn’t foresee this outcome. Jobs, having learned his lessons from his first stint at Apple and his near failures and spectacular successes with Pixar, determined to trust his vision and turn Apple into a customer experience company that happens to make electronics. And that’s where we are today.The Steve Jobs Way is mostly a biography about Jobs, which I’ve encapsulated above. Along the way Elliot points out the successes (in great detail) and the failures (in not so much detail). Elliot points out the things we should learn from Jobs, like his passion, his vision, his obsession with detail, his ability to create and share a vision and so forth. Frankly, most of us regular humans would find it hard to mimic Jobs in even one of these attributes, much less pretend to match Jobs in all of these attributes. Layer on top Jobs’ first win at Apple which gave him deep pockets and staying power, and very few people can touch his success.What strikes me most about the short biography is how much I think Jobs learned from his own near failures that he now applies at Apple, including shortening the product offerings, focusing on customer experience and creating a mystique around the Apple brand and Apple products. Jobs knows, and I think increasingly Apple knows, that the expectations are now so high for Apple that one stumble could seriously damage the firm, so every new product must meet Jobs’ vision and expectations, which will hopefully outstrip the expectations and needs of the customer base. Frankly, Jobs is in a competitive race by himself. Every other computer and electronics manufacturer has ceded the high ground to Jobs and Apple and are merely hoping they make mistakes.While it probably won’t be a surprise when I tell you this, perhaps the greatest impact Jobs has with Apple is that he is the de facto product manager for the iPad, and the iPod and the iPhone. I can think of no other significant consumer electronics manufacturer where the CEO is so involved in the design and development of the core products. It is his vision and involvement and his passion for the product and the product features and attributes that differentiates Apple.Some books are proscriptive, they tell you what to learn and what to do based on examples. Some books are descriptive, they tell you a story or describe an event. This is a book that seems to suggest it is a proscriptive book, but ultimately it is a descriptive book…

  2. Daniel3000 says:

    Superficially researched Not worth the money and time to read this book.I am an Apple enthusiast and I don’t mind reading books that are, let’s say, overly in favor of the company and its products. But this book is so overly positive and diplomatic, avoiding any kind of controversial issue, that it’s simply not worth reading.For example Jay Elliots “analysis” of the smartphone market consists in an anecdote of a friend who bought a Motorola Droid that his friend didn’t like. And he claims Windows Phone 7 is a total failure, because it does not run Windows Software (Windows Mobile did neither). Therefore, Jay Elliot concludes, the iPhone must the clear winner. It hurts to read this.Also, he defends the iPhone 4′s antennagate issue by explaining that the overlord Steve Jobs was on medical leave during its design and had handed responsibility to some other VP during this time. Obviously, the responible person had been laid off after the incident. What kind of explanation is that? And isn’t that just a weakness in Apple’s company structure, that everything has to go through Steve’s approval process? These are the kind of questions I would like to have seen answered!The first chapters of the book are a memos of people the author met during his career at Apple. He must have gone through his address book and decided to write a small chapter on every person he met. Obviously, every person was a genius and the best at his field, which is fine, but becomes rather boring to read after a while: “Person X was hired to do Y. Person X is the best on his field. Apple only hires the best people”.Steve Job’s secret of success? He’s a perfectionist and loves his products — things I definitely would not have known without reading this book (thank you, Mr. Elliot). The last chapter promises to explain how the “Steve Jobs” leadership style can be adopted to other companies, but fails miserably doing so. The chapter basically contains a couple of anecdotes of a company he founded (which failed), and another startup he is involved in (Nuvel Inc.) doing some sort of acceleration technology (which sounds awfully similar to Google’s failed “Google Web Accelerator” product. Good luck with that).What I really want to know from this book: Is Steve Job’s leadership style embedded into the company enough that the company can function even in Steve Job’s absence (the keyword here is the “Apple University”)? With his medical history, this question becomes vital as ever. During the Scully years (and Steve’s absence from the company), Apple almost went bankrupt. But what happens if Steve leaves Apple for good?The book also fails to mention Jay Elliot’s duration of employment. All the current topics are clearly described from an outsider perspective, without any additional insight one would expect from such a book.Don’t buy this book. I suggest you to read “Inside Apple — From Steve Jobs down to the janitor” from Adam Lashinsky instead. It’s only a magazine article (available on the Kindle store for $0.99), but gives you so much more information on Apples organizational structure, Steve’s leadership style — everything this books promises to deliver, but fails to do.

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