The one-sentence summary

Work as hard as you can to make everything as simple as it can possibly be.


  • 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:
  1. Think brutal: this is the equivalent of the Saatchi’s brutal simplicity of thought approach
  2. Think small: small groups and meetings get more done
  3. Think minimal: just communicate one thing, otherwise people won’t get it
  4. Think motion: momentum is crucial to projects, so don’t let them last too long or they fizzle out
  5. Think iconic: find a conceptual image that captures the essence of what you are trying to do
  6. Think phrasal: use short simple words and don’t confuse people with complication
  7. Think casual: big company thinking and process doesn’t work well
  8. Think human: be true to your feelings and treat audiences naturally
  9. Think sceptic: expect the first reaction of others to be negative when you are trying to be radically different
  10. Think war: extreme times call for extreme measures (debatable and rather macho, this one)

all embodied in the grammatically infuriating endline Think Different.


  • 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.


  • 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.