The most intriguing bit of contemporary technological history is easily the rise of Apple Computer, and so of course, the most fascinatingly controversial person in that history is CEO Steve Jobs. A company doesn’t grow so large so quickly without stepping on a few toes, making the story of Steve Jobs’ rise, fall, and return to power at Apple a hotly debated topic among industry geeks as well as ordinary consumers. Particularly with the publication of William L. Simon’s unauthorized best-selling biography, iCON Steve Jobs, which notoriously skewered Jobs as a cutthroat overachiever, the debate over whether the “Stevian” style of leadership is worth emulating has become increasingly polarized.
Jay Elliot, former Senior Vice President of Apple who was responsible for corporate operations and overall business planning, reported directly to Steve Jobs during the company’s original boom and its subsequent renaissance. He is therefore in a unique position to dig into the truth behind the mythic man, and does so with the gleefulness of someone who has long been “drinking the Kool-Aid” of how awesome the Apple working environment is. Steve Jobs’ management style and his legion of loyal customers have often been compared to a cult, and Elliot has firmly bought in. In many ways, the subtitle for this book ought to be “A Staunch Defense of Micro-Management”. From his understanding of Jobs’ nit-picky methods as “attention to details” to his dismissal of innovations made during Jobs’ temporary absence from Apple, Elliot’s positive spin never wavers.
At first, it seems surprising that William L. Simon co-wrote this book. As the listen progresses however, similarities between The Steve Jobs Way and iCON become clear. The anecdotal evidence is largely the same for both books, and the main distinction is that Simon previously used these stories to vilify Jobs, whereas Elliott and Simon’s joint effort here glorifies Jobs. When it’s merely a matter of tone that separates these two perspectives on the same history, the choice of narrator is particularly important.
Christopher Hurt is a very solid choice, as most of his voice work is in classics and nonfiction. What could have been a very shallow and sugary take becomes in Hurt’s audio a beguiling and ultimately fairly persuasive portrait of a misunderstood guru. Entrepreneurs looking for insight will enjoy a very sensible-sounding listen, while Apple devotees will still feel that Hurt is on their side. He is careful to keep both feet on the ground, even when the text itself seems to be veering into the territory of simply singing Jobs’ praises. The Steve Jobs Way successfully tips the scales back against the recent spate of Jobs-bashing, but it’s the way Christopher Hurt takes this Apple love-fest with a grain of salt that makes it a worthy listen. Megan Volpert
In iLeadership, Jay Elliot gives the listener the opportunity of seeing Steve Jobs as only his closest associates have ever seen him, and to learn what has made him - and the mystique of his management style - capable of creating tools so extraordinary that they have remade three industries and have transformed the way we create, consume, and communicate with each other.
Jay Elliot worked side by side with Steve as Senior Vice President of Apple and brings us his deep insider perspective of Steve's singular iLeadership style - which encompasses four major principles: product, talent, organization, and marketing.
Jay shares the lessons that come out of Steve's intuitive approach to show how the creative and technological brilliance of iLeadership can be utilized to drive breakthroughs in any organization, irrespective of size.
©2011 Jay Elliot and William L. Simon (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“There have been so many books about Steve Jobs but none that have the vantage point of an insider like this one. The narrative is very engaging and I could not stop reading.... Jay has done a fantastic job to provide insights that we all can use from the man who has inspired two generations of entrepreneurs.” (Naeem Zafar, Lecturer, Entrepreneurship, University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business)
"Steve Jobs is a revolutionary leader and thinker who has been written about by many people. But for the first time, in The Steve Jobs Way, Jay Elliot brings a deep, insider perspective of Steve Jobs' unique leadership style, which has forever changed our everyday lives and the world around us.” (Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks Coffee International and author of It's Not About the Coffee)
“Christopher Hurt gives an outstanding narration of this insider’s analysis of Steve Jobs’s one-of-a-kind leadership at Apple. Hurt’s casual gravitas is perfect for an analytic business biography; he’s superb at using his vocal tone and phrasing to emphasize crucial points.” (AudioFile)
The best part was the new facts that haven't been revealed before, which (in the era after the official biography) are few and far between. The worst part was that there's a lot of factual statements in this book that is contradicted by either Steve Jobs himself, other authors or witnesses which brings into question the earlier novel facts. All in all, it's a decent introduction but pales in comparison to it's more recent competition.
I would recommend it to everyone interested in Steve Jobs or Apple, and perhaps even "The Steve Jobs Way", but *not* to anyone looking for "lessons" about this way, because there's very little insight or analysis. That part of the books name seems to have been tacked on after it was written.
I think there's ample way to both update this book to bring it up to par with it's own name (there's not many leadership lessons to be learned here) but first and foremost, Apple is now in the post-Jobs era, and the company he co-founded are entering it's most interesting period ever. Now is the time to write a book about life after Jobs.
While the stories were engaging, I was expecting it to be more about Steve Job's leadership style than a memoir about Jay Elliot's career path.
It seems the main point of the book is to let the reader know that Jay Elliot is very important. After you are able to get past the constant name dropping you will find a nice collection of stories written by a person that worked closely with Jobs.
I would not recommend this book to someone looking for leadership skills. But if you are wanting a concise history of Apple and some insight into Steve Jobs you could do worse.
Written and based on Steve's life before his passing, this insiders, colleague written view of his morals, practices, and often stubborn-for-the-best-user-experience attitude is an excellent observational based reading on the work life of Steve Jobs. Given the explosion of since-released biographies, I'm interested in
The title does provide a nice account of the history of Apple, including detailing some of the detours from Jobs at NeXT and Pixar.
But it markets itself as a view into the leadership ways of Steve Jobs, and though it does mention lots of tidbits related, most of the time it just ends up as some sort of shrine for him: "only Steve Jobs could have done this", "only Steve Jobs could have thought this", etc.
I haven't read it yet, but I bet Isaacson's official biography is probably a much better read than this, both for people interested in his life and for people interested in his leadership skills.
This reading kept my interest all the way through except for the last 20 minutes. I’m not an Apple fan by a long shot, but I do appreciate the lives of winners. This book was interesting from the aspect of Steve’s highs and lows in his career and how charisma, persistence, a sharp mind and lady luck can create a Midas persona. It really didn’t address any leadership nuggets except Steve’s particular style which would be hard for anyone to mimic.
The last 20 minutes is where the book takes a turn for the worse. Mr. Elliot shifts gears and expounds on his own ventures after he is detached from Steve’s hip – all of which are failures. I’m not sure what he’s trying to prove by including this in his book except that maybe it is utterly impossible to emulate Jobs’ entrepreneurial leadership. If you are looking for a different perspective into Steve Jobs, then this is a good book to listen to. If, on the other hand, you are looking for some amazing leadership tips and tricks from a master, you will be disappointed.
On a side note, this book was purchased before Steve’s death and I listened to it after his passing.
I really enjoyed this book, but I kinda felt mislead. I thought that this was going to be more of a leadership book, but it turned out it was more biographical about the Steve Jobs at Apple. It was good, but not what I was expecting.
I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.
This was a very good book that provides an intimate look at Steve Jobs. The book uses Jobs' approaches to problem solving as examples of business leadership. Largely, I think the book succeeds. It is a bit fawning (to be expected) and the author promotes himself at times (not surprising). The book moves along and is not repetitive. Quite enjoyable.
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