Ken Segall Insanely Simple

It was his official biography, but Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson wasn’t the last word on Apple’s former CEO or his ability to “think different.” In fact, Jobs’ death seems to have opened the floodgates for behind-the-scenes information about Apple, as new books about the man and the company are now debuting every few months. The most recent is Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success ($26) by Ken Segall. Having worked for Jobs as a marketing executive assisting both Apple and NeXT, Segall now gets to relay some of his experiences in this fascinating book, which starts out so strong that you’ll forgive it for softening a little towards the end.

Insanely Simple’s thesis is that Apple and Jobs shared a defining characteristic: a fixation on elegance. Thanks to Segall’s access to Jobs during pivotal points in the latter’s career—the naming of the iMac and the development of the Think Different campaign—the author is able to shed extra light on how Apple’s most famous CEO worked, including his willingness to fight for simpler, straightforward product names and ideas, as well as his creation of small teams rather than large ones to handle every major task at Apple. Segall also contrasts Apple’s approach with Intel and Dell, companies he attempted to assist with marketing campaigns, only to find them irredeemably bureaucratic and creatively stilted. Surprisingly successful at driving home the importance of Jobs’ business values, while simultaneously giving readers pangs of jealousy (namely friendly, somewhat casual late night strategizing calls from the CEO himself), Insanely Simple is a must-read for Jobs fans and entrepreneurs alike. It’s available for a much lower price in digital formats online.

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