Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review : The Steve Jobs Way

Title : The Steve Jobs Way

Author : Jay Elliot with William L.Simon

Publisher : JAICO

ISBN : 978-81-7992-768-7

I really like reading autobiographies, however I am not a great fan of biographies. But I guess some people are so great, so larger than life, have so power packed years on this earth and their personalities are so captivating that whatever is written about them is sure to make an interesting read. I still maintain that I would love to read an autobiography of Steve Jobs if and when he writes one but given that there is none right now, 'The Steve Jobs Way' stands some chance among the many books that have already been written on him and on his working style.

Jay Elliot, the author of this book had the opportunity to share the enthusiasm and excitement of Steve Jobs from a very close proximity during his stint as the Senior Vice-President of Apple Computers, so he has written with authority about Steve Jobs as an innovator, as a thinker, as a professional and as a person himself.

A creative thinker par excellence, Steve Jobs dropped out of college and followed his obsession - the passion for the product and that for the product perfection. He understood some very basic business fundamentals quite early on in his life - identifying and valuing innovation at any cost, philosophy of hiring, identifying the rare gems of talent among a sea of people, going to any lengths to bring the bright people into the Apple's fold, being a greatest consumer first before delivering a product, product comes first, commitment to excellence and the attention to detail so that nothing remains unnoticed.

His steadfast faith in his own ideas and passion to make them come true and the openness to learn from his own mistakes worked perfectly in tandem with the business acumen that was his second nature. And with all these traits in his kitty, he had a rare combination to have accomplished what he accomplished, not just in terms of money but much more than that, much bigger than that in the form of the respect and appreciation that he earned for himself as well as for his products.

It seems like his magical touch worked on almost all the things that he ventured into - Apple, Mac, iTunes, iPhone, iPod, iPad,and not to forget Pixar, NeXT. The Apple products are known for their user-friendliness, beauty, sleekness, excellence and awe-inspiring factor.

A slice of Steve's deep conviction that he is destined to change the world is evident through an argument that he offered (which later became very famous ) while he was trying to woo John Scully to switch from Pepsi to Apple - "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water, or do you want a chance to change the world?"

The book has been very intelligently categorized into five sections based on the integral aspects of iLeadership - Product, Talent, Organization and Marketing and what all significant lessons the author learnt during his years with Steve Jobs in Apple Computers.

The author traces the journey of Steve Jobs from his early years in Apple when he struggled with Woz to make a name for themselves through the years when Apple had nothing to do with Steve and later to the time when he became synonymous to Apple again.

Steve very particularly gets involved in all the stages of the entire value chain - the conception of the idea of a feature or a product, actual manufacturing of the same, the marketing of the product and finally to the point of sale.

A nice book for the people who are looking for some kind of motivation in the business ventures or otherwise. This book which elaborates upon Steve Job's practical approach to iLeadership will surely influence the working style of many and will ignite some sparks in the endeavours towards the goals. But at the same time, this book will raise a question in the minds of the readers - will the iLeadership that has been adhered to by Steve Jobs will continue to be followed in his absence too?

There are some very obvious flaws in the writing, there is mention of the time when Jay Elliot joined Apple

but his duration in the company is not talked about and the situation and circumstances which led him to leave Apple.

After having read and appreciated this book, I feel this is not all, there has to be much more to Steve Jobs than this.

The excerpt from the book which I liked the most -

"Nothing stays the same in business, and the only way to meet innovation is with more innovation."

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