The one-sentence summary
Work as hard as you can to make everything as simple as it can possibly be.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- Subtitled The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, this is a paean to simplicity written by the man who named the iMac.
- He outlines ten ways to operate that yield excellent results:
- Think brutal: this is the equivalent of the Saatchi’s brutal simplicity of thought approach
- Think small: small groups and meetings get more done
- Think minimal: just communicate one thing, otherwise people won’t get it
- Think motion: momentum is crucial to projects, so don’t let them last too long or they fizzle out
- Think iconic: find a conceptual image that captures the essence of what you are trying to do
- Think phrasal: use short simple words and don’t confuse people with complication
- Think casual: big company thinking and process doesn’t work well
- Think human: be true to your feelings and treat audiences naturally
- Think sceptic: expect the first reaction of others to be negative when you are trying to be radically different
- Think war: extreme times call for extreme measures (debatable and rather macho, this one)
…all embodied in the grammatically infuriating endline Think Different.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- There’s plenty of good advice here. Clarity of thought, small teams, pacey timings, and pithy expression are all to be applauded.
- The old story of throwing a ball of paper at someone is used. They catch the one, but drop all five if thrown more than one. Tennis balls and other items are often cited in a story extolling the virtue of one message over many.
- Recycling leadership is a decent idea – create the revolution, and then invent your next one while competitors are playing catch up.
- Waving the Simple Stick is a metaphor for taking the complexity out of as much as possible, usually by asking how this can be made simpler.
- The quality of the work increases in direct proportion to the degree of involvement by the ultimate decision maker – laudable, but perhaps not easy in most big companies.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- As ever, if it were this easy, everyone would be doing it. Of course it’s not easy, and the author does point this out.
- Steve Jobs was a polarising individual and some might find much of this narrative rather sycophantic – it would seem there’s a fine line between being an inspirational leader and a bit of a tyrant.
- It’s easy enough to nod along to most of the wisdom here, but in truth it could probably have been said in a blog.