Jan 06

Book review: The Innovation secrets of Steve Jobs


Learning about people who have advanced the frontiers of knowledge and consequently made our world a better place to live is always inspiring. I feel in the contemporary world, any study about complex and serious subjects like innovation, entrepreneurship, growth and change is not possible without learning about Steve jobs. I purchased this book sometime back to get some insights into one of the world’s most innovative companies and the person behind it.

There is nothing like a perfect book (or an author) in the world. Carmine Gallo’s ‘ The Innovation secrets of Steve Jobs’ is no exception.  It has both good and ‘not very good’ parts. Here are my two cents on both:

The good part:

 The books is well organized and well connected: This organization is reflected in the seven principles that Gallo discusses one by one in a sequential fashion. Each of these principles embed two or more chapters that contain examples and cases to strengthen the principle. These seven principles are –

  • Do what you love
  • Put a dent in the universe
  • Kick-start your brain
  • Sell dreams, not products
  • Say no to 1000 things
  • Create insanely great experiences
  • Master the message

In all of these seven principles, the author explains the obstacles that Steve jobs encountered and his approach towards the resolution of the obstacles. The entire flow makes it a good read.

Insightful: I found a few thought provoking sections, particularly the segments revolving around third, fourth and the fifth principles. One of these discusses how Steve Jobs connected seemingly unrelated questions, problems and  ideas from different fields. The more diverse our experiences and knowledge, the more connections the brain can make. In  Jobs life, some of these diverse connections came from his forays into areas that were supposedly not related to business and the computer industry. These included his avid interest in calligraphy, his search for enlightenment at a very early stage in his life and his passion for imbibing the best practices from other industries like, music, retail, cooking, telecommunications, etc.  into Apple. Breakthrough happens when our perceptual  system is confronted with something that it doesn’t know how to interpret and unfamiliarity forces the brain to discard its usual categories of perceptions and create new ones. These thoughts are quite interesting and the author does a good job in expanding the same through real life examples. Another thought I found interesting deals with simplicity. How Apple simplified and consequently beautified its products by discarding many unwanted features instead of putting everything in the world on their devices to make them appear like complex beasts is quite cogitative.

Broad approach: The author covers range of businesses and industries besides Apple. The book is full of examples from automobile, food, retail, clothing and other online players to fortify the seven principles. This approach makes the book informative.

The not so good part:

The word ‘Secrets’: The name of the book itself is a drawback. I personally found this word annoying. There is nothing like the secrets of Apple or as a matter of fact, of Steve Jobs that the book reveals. The principles are well known and quite subjective. Most of the book  covers details from various Steve Jobs interviews, press releases, presentations which, albeit are illuminating from time to time but to call them as secrets is naive.

Final take:

Well, the book makes a good read and I will recommend it but I wont go beyond that and say that its a must read on innovation, business or Apple. If you are looking for a focused substance on Apple, go for Waltor isaacson’s masterpiece. If you are looking for technology based business books, then  I suggest books written directly by the business leaders. A few great ones are Business @ the speed of thought, The road ahead, Jack welch’s straight from the gut, My years with general motors, iWoz, etc. These books are more objective and get down to business from page one.


Skip to comment form

  1. Gurvinder P Singh

    Hmmmm,…….. First of all I must appreciate your command on the language and subtle style of writing about something which I believe you did not like. You have other recommendations than the book you are reviewing.

    Till date Jobs succeeded in divulging only those details of his life which he wanted to promote his better image. There are more things which are bad of this man than good. Coming from a broken family, adopted by other his initial part of life was in a mess. Though, he had brains but most of his success in life came from deceit, which to me is enough to rate a person of low dignity. He did not do things different from the people of his age and time. A good example is Bill Gates. I am not generally a people (successful) basher but I don’t like people who don’t value the people around him because he was of no value to his family as a child.

    I agree with your other recommendations. Keep it up…

    1. Aseem Sharma

      Thank you Gurvinder bhaji for your comments and feedback

  2. GauruDogra

    I appreciate your writing skills….I feel pleasure that someone, whom I know has such simple and pleasant way of writing….and mind you, there aren’t many I know, who try their hand at writing. I had my share of reading but writing is something I’ve not tried much yet.

    Well I’ve not read this book about Jobs but will some day. But as far a I know Jobs was not a benchmark in human conduct. Many of his actions in his life were abominable. But he was a visionary nonetheless. What I liked about him the most was that he did not relied much on the market research but he brought all the game changer products by intuition.

    Well from a few business biographies that I’ve read ‘Made in Japan’ by Akio Morita, sony corp. was best. ‘Losing my Virginity’ by Richard branson though good in parts but was laced with self promotion and maybe lies. ‘It happened in India’ by Kishore Biyani was a veritable marketing brochure for the company.

    1. Aseem

      Thanks Gaurav for your comments and feedback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>