Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success

Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success

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by Ken Segall
     
 

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Simplicity isn’t just a design principle at Apple—it’s a value that permeates every level of the organization. It’s what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on earth in 2012.

As ad agency creative director, Ken Segall played a key role in Apple’s resurrection, helping to create such

Overview

Simplicity isn’t just a design principle at Apple—it’s a value that permeates every level of the organization. It’s what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on earth in 2012.

As ad agency creative director, Ken Segall played a key role in Apple’s resurrection, helping to create such critical marketing campaigns as “Think Different” and naming the iMac.

This book makes you a fly on the wall inside a conference room with Steve Jobs, and on the receiving end of his midnight phone calls. You’ll understand how his obsession with Simplicity helped Apple perform better and faster, sometimes saving millions in the process.

Segall brings Apple’s quest for Simplicity to life using fascinating (and previously untold) stories from behind the scenes. Through his insight and wit, you’ll discover how companies that leverage this power can stand out from competitors—and individuals who master it can become critical assets to their organizations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this captivating book, Segall (who worked with Jobs as agency creative director for NeXT and Apple and named the iMac) has succeeded in distilling what made Steve Jobs succeed in ways no one would have imagined—simplicity. The idea of going simple, and Jobs’s obsession with it, is neither a set of rules nor a goal, but a worldview of how things should be and should proceed. Presenting simple from almost every angle (advertising slogans, product names, product lines, group sizes), Segall shows how simple has propelled Apple, creating powerful changes within the company. Contrast this with the path of complexity, of which Segall offers plenty of examples from companies such as Intel, Microsoft, and Dell. More practical than theoretical, this essential book is about “using the power of Simplicity to set a company apart.” Readers will appreciate personal stories about Jobs, which contribute to the narrative of Jobs the icon, and the role simplicity played in his success. Agent: Christy Fletcher, Fletcher & Company. (May)
From the Publisher
“A blueprint for running a company the Steve Jobs way . . . should be required reading for anyone interested in management and marketing.”

—The Times (London)

“Gets inside Apple’s branding and marketing to explain its directness and power.”

—Financial Times

“Required reading.”

—The Observer

“Ken Segall has literally captured lightning in a bottle. Insanely Simple reveals the secret of Steve Jobs’s success with such clarity, even we non-geniuses can make use of it. Ken shows us how to cut through the cobwebs of fuzzy thinking, bureaucracy and mediocrity, and clearly see what’s most essential—and therefore most important.”

—Steve Hayden, legendary Apple creative director, author of the “1984” Super Bowl commercial

Kirkus Reviews
Steve Jobs' longtime advertising guru weighs in with a memoir/extra-long promotional brochure about the secret to Apple's success: Simplicity with a capital S. Inveterate copywriter Segall's goal is to sell readers on the idea of how the ruthless but noble Jobs beat his Silicon Valley competition into submission using his "Simplicity Stick." Like an inescapable mantra throughout the book, the author constantly reiterates the idea of Apple's colossal struggle against Simplicity's worst foe: Complexity. When Jobs left NeXT to head up Apple, he went on a mission to streamline his products to make them simpler to use than those of complexity-loving rival brands such as Intel and Dell. In relating Jobs' monomaniacal mission to make the world of handheld technology a simpler place, Segall employs an unsettling combination of militaristic language and softer terms that suggest humanist sensitivity in Apple's quest for global domination. Describing Jobs' commitment to brutal honesty with his employees, the author writes, "Being straight with people alone does not make you a heartless bastard." Of course, having well-documented ties to sweatshop labor doesn't exactly make you a paragon of virtue. Readers should not expect to find unpleasant facts that undermine the deification of the author's subject. Although Segall fully discloses Jobs' well-known tendency to steal ideas from competitors, this dubious characteristic doesn't stop the author from painting a broader portrait of Jobs as a tirade-prone earthbound god ruling his Apple kingdom with fear, while generously dispensing technological convenience to the grateful masses. "Steve's greatest achievement wasn't a Mac, iPod, iPhone, or iPad," writes the author. "He accomplished something that no one had even contemplated before. Steve Jobs built a monument to Simplicity. That monument is Apple itself." Fine inspirational material for aspiring tech moguls, but far too propagandistic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670921188
Publisher:
Portfolio
Publication date:
02/28/2012
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A blueprint for running a company the Steve Jobs way . . . should be required reading for anyone interested in management and marketing.”
The Times (London)

“Gets inside Apple’s branding and marketing to explain its directness and power.”
Financial Times

“Required reading.”
The Observer

“Ken Segall has literally captured lightning in a bottle. Insanely Simple reveals the secret of Steve Jobs’s success with such clarity, even we non-geniuses can make use of it. Ken shows us how to cut through the cobwebs of fuzzy thinking, bureaucracy and mediocrity, and clearly see what’s most essential—and therefore most important.”
—Steve Hayden, legendary Apple creative director, author of the “1984” Super Bowl commercial

Meet the Author

KEN SEGALL worked closely with Steve Jobs as ad agency creative director for NeXT and apple. He was a member of the team that created apple’s legendary “Think Different” campaign, and he’s responsible for that little “i” that’s a part of apple’s most popular products. Segall has also served as agency creative director for IBM, Intel, Dell, and BMW.

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Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a long-time Apple fan, I've read Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs and now Insanely Simple. I found Segall's book to be right on the mark and incredibly unique in describing HOW Apple works it's magic. Other Apple books focus on events and personalities. This book boils the phenomenal success down to it's essence -- Simplicity. It may sound easy, but as Segall masterfully describes, only an elite few leaders and companies manage to get it right. Instead, most companies play it safe and succumb to complexity. Insanely Simple is well-written, informative and fun. This is the best book on Apple I've ever read, and "simply" one of the top business books out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book - bought it Thursday morning, finished it Thursday night. The thing is, there are thoughts and examples and ideas here that I suspect I'll use forever. Segall has crafted a brilliant, intimate, first-hand look at Jobs and Apple. This is Think Different, not simply as an advertising slogan, but rather as a fundamental model for business evolution. Segall: 1, Isaacson: 0.
BookladyZN More than 1 year ago
The person who wrote the 1-star review actually posted the exact same words on Amazon, so apparently he/she is someone with an ax to grind. Some simple research will show that Ken Segall IS the man who created the name iMac, he IS part of that select group who penned the Think Different ads. His association with Steve Jobs, Apple and NeXT is not something he made up as an "opportunist" looking to cash in and "make a quick buck". Now that we've established Segall's bona fides, I will join the others in saying that this is a truly good book. It's a marketing book that doesn't lecture, it's a fly-on-the-wall look at interesting times with Jobs, and a satisfying, downright good read. It shouldn't be compared to Isaacson's book because it is not a biography of Steve Jobs - it's a look at how Apple's philosophy and marketing made it so successful and a hope that the reader can parlay some of the ideas into his/her own business success. Kudos to Ken Segall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Best Apple book I've read. Insightful and intriguing, all at once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No one should dispute that ‘simplicity’ is one of Apple’s guiding principles, and Segall is certainly entitled to write a book about Apple or any other subject he pleases. But readers should be aware that the author greatly exaggerates his involvement with the brand and his contribution to its marketing legacy. Frankly, it’s been sad to watch opportunists come out of the woodworks following Jobs’ passing. They shamelessly inflate whatever limited association they had with Apple and attach themselves to the brand in order to make a quick buck and shine their own star. Maybe it’s just me, but it would be interesting to hear from the people who were actually behind Apple’s decades-long marketing streak.