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)
I really enjoyed this book. Great insider look at the person, the process, and the culture of the company. I enjoyed that it was written by a fellow executive - gives the sensation that you've been observing Steve Jobs from his shoes. While I agree with another review that I read that the main takeaway from this book is that you are not Steve Jobs and you never will be, I still think there are tons of great ideas to draw on. Plus, it's just an interesting story. The only thing that I would have liked to be different was for the story to be organized chronologically rather than by theme. However, that's probably because I wasn't familiar with the Steve Jobs story to begin with.
Not a rehash of business rag articles, but stories based upon the author's first hand knowledge during the time he actually worked for Steve Jobs. Solid narration.
The book is written by someone who has worked with Steve Jobs and hence it captures his thought and style of work in detailed. I wish there was little more information about the way Steve developed iPhone and iPad. In short an excellent book.
This book gave an interesting history of Apple and it's fascinating leader. I found the messages about working with passion inspiring. I would have liked to learn more about Steve Jobs personally but am glad that the author respected his privacy.
Written by an HR guy. Filled with MBA generalities and grievously lacks the specifics that distinguished Steve Jobs. Author took one of the single most fascinating stories of our time and almost made it tedious.
Another limitation is that the author feels the need to praise Jobs' genius in every other paragraph and to shield us from any negative information. We know he was a genius. What we want is insight to his thought process and details.
Get the Walter Issacson book instead.
This book is absolutely perfect in its message, story-telling, descriptions, concepts, and narration. Elliot offers a complete look into the mind and history of Steve Jobs, providing an inspiration to both businesses and consumers. I highly recommend you download this audiobook.
I thought this book was a "handbook" about Steve's leadership style, designed for the reader to learn and implement strategies from. It's not. It's more like a biography, written by someone who clearly can't see the sun because of Steve's shadow. Which is fine - I am an admirer of Steve's, too - it all just sounds a little bit too much. It was entertaining and inspiring at times, though, so if you are a hardcore Steve fan, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
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