The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: A book review by Bob Morris

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success
Carmine Gallo
McGraw-Hill (2011)

Actually, what Carmine Gallo examines with both rigor and eloquence are no longer “secrets,” nor are they insights of proprietary significance to Steve Jobs. On Pages 10-11, Gallo identifies and briefly discusses the seven principles in his book. For example, #1: “Do What You Love,” a portion of Teresa Amabile’s admonition expressed in an article that appeared in Harvard Business Review, “do what you love and love what you do” (1993); as for #3, “Kick-Start Your Brain,” Doug Hall wrote a book, Jump Start Your Business Brain, that was published in 2001 and he claimed no authorship of that admonition.

My point is, the value of Gallo’s book is not based on any head-snapping revelations it provides; rather, on the analysis he offers of a truly unique person who co-founded a truly unique organization, and who then established and nourished a culture within which innovative thinking continues to produce, in Jobs’s familiar words, “insanely great ideas.”  Ironically, it is possible but unlikely that Jobs and Apple would have succeeded to the extent they later did were it not for the “insanely great ideas” that he and Steve Wozniak encountered during a visit to Xerox PARC in 1979. Long ago, Thomas Edison observed, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” An “insanely great” idea will not achieve “insanely great” breakthrough success without “insanely great” execution.

I also presume to assert that, with all due respect to Jobs, credit for the extraordinary success that Apple has achieved thus far must be shared by hundreds (if not thousands) of people who have been or are now centrally involved at every management level and in all areas of operations. It comes as no a surprise what the principles are that have driven Jobs but they have also served as also the values of the company’s culture. Gallo devotes a separate chapter to each of these principles/core values — citing hundreds sources and real-world examples – that reveal their impact on what is done and how it is done throughout the entire Apple organization. He concludes each of Chapters 2-15 with three “iLessons” that emphasis key points in the material just covered. For example, in Chapter 14, The World’s Greatest Corporate Storyteller:

1. Tell your story early and often.
Make communication a cornerstone of your brand every day.

2. Make your brand story consistent across all platforms: presentations, website, advertising, marketing materials, social media.

3. Think differently about presentation style. Study Steve Jobs, read design books, and pay attention to awe-inspiring presentations and what makes them different from the average PowerPoint show. Everyone has room to raise the bar on delivering presentations, but rising to the challenge requires a dedicated commitment to improve and an open mind.

Note: In this same chapter (i.e. #14), Gallo also identifies and discusses Three Keys to Communicating Value and Seven Guidelines for Selling Your Ideas the Steve Jobs Way. Of course, potentially valuable as this and other material throughout the book may be, it remains for those to read it to summon or develop the skills required to put it to effective use.

I also recommend Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, Alan Deutschman’s The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, Leander Kahney’s Inside Steve’s Brain, Expanded Edition.

 

 

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