Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products

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“Different and new is relatively easy. Doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard.” —Jony Ive

In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as CEO with the unenviable task of turning around the company he had founded. One night, Jobs discovered a scruffy British designer toiling away at Apple’s corporate headquarters, surrounded by hundreds of sketches and prototypes. It was then that Jobs ...

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Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products

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“Different and new is relatively easy. Doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard.” —Jony Ive

In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as CEO with the unenviable task of turning around the company he had founded. One night, Jobs discovered a scruffy British designer toiling away at Apple’s corporate headquarters, surrounded by hundreds of sketches and prototypes. It was then that Jobs realized he had found a talent who could reverse the company’s long decline.

That young designer was Jony Ive. 

Jony Ive’s collaboration with Jobs would produce some of the world’s most iconic technology products, including the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone. The designs have not only made Apple a hugely valuable company, they’ve overturned entire industries, built a loyal fan base, and created a globally powerful brand. Along the way, Jony Ive has become the world’s leading technology innovator, won countless design awards, earned a place on the 2013 Time 100 list, and was even knighted for his “services to design and enterprise.”

Yet despite his triumphs, little is known about the shy and soft-spoken whiz whom Jobs referred to as his “spiritual partner” at Apple. Jony Ive reveals the true story of Apple’s real innovator-in-chief.

Leander Kahney, the bestselling author of Inside Steve’s Brain, offers a detailed portrait of a creative genius. He shows us how Jony Ive went from an English art school student with dyslexia to the man whose immense insights have altered the pattern of our lives. From his early interest in industrial design, fostered by his designer father, through his education at Newcastle Polytechnic and meteoric rise at Apple, we discover the principles and practices that he developed to become the designer of his generation.

Based on interviews with Jony Ive’s former colleagues and Kahney’s own familiarity with the world of Apple, this book gives insight into how Jony Ive (now senior vice president of design) has redefined the ways in which we work, entertain, and communicate with one another.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Supported by essential, insider research, Kahney (Inside Steve's Brain), who has covered Apple for over a dozen years and is now editor of, puts the spotlight on Jony Ive, one of the most significant designer minds behind Apple's remarkable products. Ive grew up fascinated with taking things apart and, after a rebellious goth stage in the 1980s, showed excellent design skills at school. Following an apprenticeship at the prestigious Roberts Weaver Group, Ive teamed with another London designer, Martin Darbyshire to found Tangerine Design, and it was those cutting-edge designs that brought him to the attention of Apple's Bob Brenner. Apple tried to recruit Ive several times before they landed him in 1992, putting his maverick creativity to work on a wide of products such as iMac, iBook, Power Mac, and iPod. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple before his death, he said of Ive: " has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me." It is the powerful message of unbridled creativity and a rebel spirit of Ive that Kahney captures so ably in this respectful tribute to the man. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
The life and creative influence of Apple's unassuming design savant. Former news editor and Apple authority Kahney (Inside Steve's Brain, 2008) examines the company's senior vice president of industrial design, Jonathan "Jony" Paul Ive, a 46-year-old British expatriate and technological whiz. Born in a conservative London suburb and raised by an intuitive, innovative silversmith father and a psychotherapist mother, Ive's penchant for tinkering wasn't hampered by a dyslexia diagnosis in his teens (a dysfunction shared with Steve Jobs, the author notes). Emboldened by his father, Ive excelled in drawing and sophisticated technical design throughout college and, upon bonding with the Apple's Mac platform, worked through an escalating series of high-profile assignments and co-partnered his own firm. In 1991, he scored an Apple consultancy and induction into then–Chief of Industrial Design Bob Brunner's "dream team." Ive's induction into the computer hardware culture was seamless since he had already taken several exploratory jaunts to northern California, an area that attracted him for its embrace and cultivation of emerging tech talent. Through an impressive roster of interviews with a variety of authors, design experts, and former and current Apple employees, Kahney conveys the urgency and the demand for Ive's immense talent within the tech universe. In the endnotes, the author takes delicious delight in describing Apple's notoriously steely reputation for secrecy and remarks that while those same forthcoming interviewees are more than likely bound by Apple's stringent nondisclosure agreement, the book wouldn't have been possible without their risky participation. From his award-winning work with the Newton MessagePad to the iMac, iPad Mini and a seventh-generation operating system, Ive has become an indirect preceptor on how the world exchanges information. An adulating biography of Apple's left-brained wunderkind, whose work continues to revolutionize modern technology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846178
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/14/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 660,088
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Leander Kahney has covered Apple for more than a dozen years and has written three popular books about Apple, including Inside Steve’s Brain and Cult of Mac. The former news editor for, he is currently the editor and publisher of He lives in San Francisco.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2015

    This book tells the extremely fascinating story of one of the be

    This book tells the extremely fascinating story of one of the behind-the-scenes engineer/designer for Apple, Jony Ives. Ives majorly contributed and helped produce some of Apple's most important products such as; the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone. Not only did he contribute greatly to the success of Apple as a whole, but also revolutionized the industry. For most companies base their products off of Apple's original products. Ives and Jobs' partnership started in the late 1900s, specifically around 1997. The book is a biography so it is told by Leander Kahney about Ive. Kahney has studied Apple for over 12 years and has written 3 books on the company. This was an extremely well-written and eye-opening book. It's main purpose is to expose the people who deserve enormous credit in large scale companies that usually end up not getting the credit. Jony Ive was an exceptionally inspirational man who completely changed the way technology is now thought of. 

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  • Posted February 2, 2014

    Very interesting behind-the-scenes look at one of the most innov

    Very interesting behind-the-scenes look at one of the most innovative companies of our day, and the devices that have changed many of our lives. I would love to read more about this company and its engineers. We hear a lot about Mr. Jobs, and to be sure, he was a tallented salesman. However, without people like "Woz" and Mr. Ive, he would have had nothing to sell. He couldn't have done it without the "worker bees" and "Brains" of the company. More books like this, please! : ) 

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  • Posted December 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A good insight into Jony Ive but written at arm's length

    A good book that goes some way to penciling in some of the background of the slightly mysterious Jony Ive. The book focuses a lot on the rise of Apple's design department but, curiously, much is written almost at arm's length with very little first-hand accounts of Ive's career. It reads, at times, a little like a dossier of background information rather than an autobiography and there is a slightly disproportionate amount of mention of IDEO although this is forgivable since they appear to have supplied many of the key design team of Apples greatest product design hits.

    That said, it's a must-have for Apple fans as well as anyone who is either considering a career in design, especially (as the book calls it) ID or industrial design.

    Definitely worth getting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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