Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Steve Jobs: Success Through Simplicity
October 10, 2011, 12:09 PM
Filed under: Books in General, From the Editor, General Business, Leadership | Tags: ,

Where do we go from here?

It’s the question that technology enthusiasts, market watchers and hundreds of millions of consumers are left to ponder in the wake of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. His ability to forever alter the landscape of consumer technology, something which he did with regularity in his later years, leaves a considerable gap which numerous individuals and organizations will attempt to fill. Part of what makes the loss of Jobs so devastating is that he was an active driver of his company’s groundbreaking efforts. When Henry Ford died in 1947 at age 83, the Ford Motor Company was decades beyond the Model T and the introduction of the assembly line, innovations in which Ford had tremendous influence. Apple and Jobs were the subject of constant conversation and while this scrutiny will now continue, it will include a portion of speculation not previously present.

In a tribute last week, President Barack Obama stated that Jobs exemplified the qualities that define all great American innovators. He was, “brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.”

In Jobs’ case, the way in which he thought differently from other individuals may, in retrospect, be his greatest singular strength. Jobs realized early in Apple’s history that the best hope for the mass marketing of computer technology involved taking the most complicated products and delivering them with the most simple user experience.

In a 1996 interview with National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, Jobs demonstrated this idea when he told host Terry Gross about Apple’s development of the mouse. Jobs and other Apple staffers had visited Xerox, the company that, at the time, was working on using a Graphical User Interface. “We found that Xerox’s [mouse] had three buttons. We found that people would push the wrong button or were scared they were going to push the wrong button, so they always looked at the mouse instead of at the screen.” Through Jobs’ persistence, and a good amount of pressure applied to other executives, Apple’s Macintosh debuted with a single button. More than two decades later, Jobs hammered away at developers to ensure that Apple’s iPhone mirrored the “one button” approach.

An executive’s legacy is weighed and recorded one decision at a time. While he will be remembered most for changing the way people do many ordinary tasks (listen to music, use the phone, etc.), the business world should keep Jobs’ principle of success through simplicity at the forefront of its mind.

For more information, visit Soundview online at Summary.com.

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Book Review: The Steve Jobs Way

Let’s face it, there may be no other single executive whose work has received more attention (more positive attention, at least) than former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The impact of Jobs’ recent decision to step down sent shockwaves throughout the tech industry and caused consternation among Apple shareholders as the source of some of the most game-changing technology of the past two decades fades into memory. Jobs is most often celebrated for his vision and his emphasis on elegant, simple design. However, as a new Soundview Executive Book Summary demonstrates, Jobs’ incredible abilities as a leader should never be overshadowed.

In The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation (now available at Summary.com), author Jay Elliot (with William L. Simon) takes a look at the aspects of Jobs’ management style that allowed him to guide his company to its position of omnipresence in our lives. This is a view that few people have ever had of this unique, sometimes confounding, corporate visionary.

The single question that is most often asked about Apple is how Jobs is able to get so many people to push themselves to create products that, although never previously conceived, instantly alter our lives. Elliot offers some surprising insights about Jobs’ leadership style. The book is filled with analysis that doesn’t skimp on takeaways. Elliot does an excellent job of examining the nuances of Jobs’ methods without weighing readers down with backstory and biographical information. The Steve Jobs Way is possibly the best book yet about the executive to whose heights the majority of CEOs aspire.

To get your copy of the summary of The Steve Jobs Way in a variety of digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



New Apple Offer Proves Summary’s Point

On an ordinary day, an announcement from Apple would be met with a tsunami of media coverage, non-stop Twitter traffic and lines stretching from every Apple store to the horizon. Today’s news that the technology colossus is making a discounted iMac available for the education market may not have the hype of an iPad announcement, but it still demonstrates a valuable principle from one of the newest Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

One of our most highly anticipated summaries of 2011 is Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions by Alltop founder, venture capitalist and one-time chief Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki. In his book (and in the exclusive Author Insight interview available now for Soundview subscribers), Kawasaki points out that companies should move away from the idea that business is a simple transaction. What they should move toward, Kawasaki suggests, is enchantment. He writes, “I define enchantment as the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization or idea. The outcome of enchantment is voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial.”

Apple’s move to offer a lower-cost option to enable cash-strapped school districts across the U.S. to be able to take advantage of its popular desktop is exactly the kind of effort that’s needed to delight customers. For those who think Apple’s ability to enchant its audience is a new phenomenon that began with the introduction of the iPod, check out the Soundview summary of Enchantment. Kawasaki discusses how Apple enchanted him more than 25 years ago and helps you learn the secrets of using enchantment to delight your audience.

To get your copy of the summary of Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki, visit Soundview at Summary.com. Corporate clients, don’t forget to visit Corporate.Summary.com!



Book Review: Enchantment

If you follow Soundview on Twitter (@businessbooks), you’ll notice that one of the individuals that we follow is Guy Kawasaki. The author, blogger, venture capital veteran and one-time Apple evangelist knows the secret to making an audience happy. He is endlessly engaging and provides an incredible volume of material in any project on which he works. His latest book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions (now available as a summary at Summary.com) is the latest in a string of must-read material from one of the people that spread the gospel of the Macintosh back in 1984.

If there is one word that describes Kawasaki, whether in print or in person, it’s “genuine.” This personal trait makes Kawasaki the perfect instructor to help any executive understand the keys to enchanting any individual or group. He stresses at the outset of the book that Enchantment is intended for individuals who want to make a difference and improve the world. It is not intended for people looking to make a quick buck or use enchantment for nefarious purposes. Enchantment can help executives turn skeptics into believers.

Kawasaki gives readers a constant stream of great insights. One of his best strengths as a writer is that serious, paradigm-shifting information is delivered with generous doses of humor. Kawasaki’s examples are drawn from his direct interaction with countless innovative businesses, not forgetting his own involvement with the early days of Apple. Enchantment, already one of the best business books of 2011, will continue to impress readers each time they refer to it … and they certainly will.



Jobs Told to Face the Music

It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a mention of Apple CEO Steve Jobs in nearly every book Soundview Executive Book Summaries receives about leadership. Jobs is one of the handful of American business icons of the past 50 years and dozens of business authors use examples from his and Apple’s success to illustrate a variety of strategies and principles. In a time period when all eyes are already on Jobs due to his recent medical leave of absence, the famed CEO will come under increased scrutiny as a result of a U.S. Magistrate Judge ruling that lawyers in an anti-trust case have a right to question Jobs. The case deals with accusations that Apple created a monopoly by blocking music purchased from RealNetworks from being played on Apple’s iPod. Here’s an interesting article dealing with the case.

As I looked at the photo included in this story, it made me reflect on our Soundview Live event with Nancy Duarte last week. The photo in the news story is from one of Apple’s product launches (and from the looks of it, it was taken awhile ago). In Duarte’s book Resonate: Presenting Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, she points to Jobs’ presentations during these launches, particularly the Macbook Air and the iPhone, as being some of the best examples of using the power of story in a presentation.

Did you miss our Soundview Live Webinar with Nancy Duarte? Don’t worry! You can listen to the archive of the event right here! In fact, our archive of Soundview Live Webinars is rapidly becoming one of the most popular features at Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com. Take a look and see for yourself!



Three Great NEW Soundview Summaries

Subscribers to Soundview Executive Book Summaries already received some great news this week, so I thought I’d share it with everyone else. There are three brand new summaries now available for download in any of Soundview’s eight digital formats. If you’re an iPad user (or iPad2 for that matter), make this the month that you check out Soundview’s new Smart Summary format. It’s the first business book summary format designed specifically for the iPad and other tablet devices.

Here are the new releases:

Real-Time Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott: In this eye-opening follow-up to The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott reveals the proven, practical steps to take your business into the real-time era. Find out how to act and react flexibly as events occur, position your brand in the always-on world of the Web, and avoid embarrassing mistakes and missteps in this executive book summary of Real-Time Marketing and PR.

You Already Know How to Be Great by Alan Fine: This executive book summary of You Already Know How to Be Great offers a bold new approach to performance by one of the top coaches in the country. Alan Fine, an accomplished tennis, golf, and executive coach and a renowned authority on peak performance, has found the biggest obstacle to improved performance isn’t not knowing what to do; it’s not doing what you already know. Fine reveals his simple and proven approach to achieving breakthrough performance through an amazing process called G.R.O.W. (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward).

The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan by George B. Bradt, Jorge E. Pedraza, Jayme A. Check: Moving into a new leadership position is one of the toughest challenges an executive can face. Whether you’re a veteran leader taking over a new organization or a novice moving into your first leadership role, this practical guide will help you manage your leadership transition so you can take charge, build your team, and deliver results. This executive book summary of the second edition of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan presents proven solutions and cutting-edge techniques for getting started successfully in your new role.

For more information on these great new summaries, visit Soundview online at Summary.com.



New Summary and Apple’s Big Announcement

Whoever originally said “Christmas comes but once a year” obviously wasn’t an owner of Apple products. For the company’s legions of fans there are guaranteed to be at least two or three times each year when all eyes focus on the next product launch from the technology giant. Today’s expected announcement of a new version of the blockbuster iPad tablet device will no doubt send shockwaves through every facet of business. The moments that follow any Apple announcement are always interesting to watch. In many respects, they are a snapshot of the state of the business environment at that moment.

In fact, a book recently summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries devotes a considerable amount of page space to the power of an Apple launch, particularly when it’s led by CEO Steve Jobs. In Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, author Nancy Duarte discusses the power of Jobs’ presentations and the secrets that you can learn from him. Duarte pays particular attention to Jobs’ launch of the MacBook Air. During his presentation for the laptop, Jobs built up the audience’s anticipation by describing certain aspects of the product. One of Duarte’s major points is that a great presentation should always contain a “STAR” moment (Something They’ll Always Remember). Jobs’ STAR moment came when he picked up an ordinary inter-office envelope, carefully opened it and withdrew the elegant, thin MacBook Air. The audience was stunned and Jobs had wowed the technology world yet again.

To learn more about delivering your own STAR moments in your presentations, get your copy of Soundview’s summary of Resonate. For more great business book summaries about presentations, visit Soundview online at Summary.com.