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)
This will help you break out of your box and make you never want for a comfort zone again.
This is a good insight into Apple and Steve Job from an Apple insider. Elliot's book is well written and engaging. It provides a concise profile of the business practices that helped to make Jobs the icon he is at a very manageable length. Unlike other biographies it doesn't go into depth of Jobs' quirky personality traits and sticks with his business story.
I enjoyed it.
db - Toronto
A very interesting story about Mr Mac himself. The way he was working and his skillful understanding of simplicity for the users. The ups and downs for Apple and how to manage a growing organisation.
It was nice to hear about Steve Jobs life from another person who worked so closely with him. Obviously he doesn't point out very many mistakes of Jobs but does a good job overall with telling us how Apple got started and what happened along the way at a very high level.
This book was really interesting. Jay Elliot provides a behind the scenes look at Apple through most of its history. As an IT pro, and a tech enthusiast, it was really interesting. Definitely worth the listen.
That said, beware of Jay's turns to severe fanboy-ism. This book is one part history lesson, one part business lecture, and one part love letter to Steve Jobs. This is to be expected to some extent. The book is about Steve Jobs after all. However, once the subject turns to the iPhone time period, Jay goes from invested observer to full on fanboy. He repeatedly blames all problems with the first iPhone on AT&T. Any follower of the industry knows that while AT&T's coverage is nothing to brag about, the first iPhone had some significant antenna issues. By the time I got to the last 30 minutes of the book I found myself arguing with Jay, and rolling my eyes at his praises.
If you're an Apple fan, you will love this. If you're a tech enthusiast, but not an Apple person, prepare for a heavy dose of Apple love. BUT, if you can handle the syrup, there is an incredibly interesting story of one of the industry's most iconic companies and leaders just beneath the surface.
Much better than many other books about Steve Jobs and leadership. Unlike other books on audible aobut this topic, this book has an insider's view point and new material, not just direct quotes from material you can experience first hand on you tube. The new stories really give you a new look at the inside workings of Jobs the leader and Apple. In addition the narration is good (not the absolute best but still good).
After a while, the book sort of rambles, and one is left without a clear concise message (I doubt Jobs would approve), but still it was very entertaining and enjoyable. The insider quality is novel and really offers a lot.
I have been listening to this book while I am waiting for Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs to be published. It is a wonderful surprise, written by Jay Elliot, who was Job's "right hand man" for years. He offers a fascinating look at Jobs from inside Apple, and how Jobs operated it. I found myself to be so absorbed that it was difficult to turn off and go to bed. And the narrator has an easy and compelling voice.
The book is okay. It's a little over the top in praise of Steve Jobs. I think it would have been much more interesting and helpful had the author been a bit more realistic about Mr. Jobs weaknesses.
It's nicely written and superby read. I disliked the whole "iLeadership" concept though and felt that was a bit forced and unnecessary. It works best when it doesn't try to be profound and comprehensive - just the little human anecdotes are very revealing and useful. I was also unsure of how recently Elliot was at Apple - I got the impression the book went from an insider's point of view in the '80s to just an informed commentator through the major iPod/Pad/Phone era.
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