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Books to understand Apple

Some books that I read and I liked

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I love Apple. I try to read all the books that are somewhat related. Here are the ones that I like more. They helped me to learn things about technology, marketing and brand.

Build. An unorthodox guide to making things worth making.

Tony Fadell.
May, 2022.

It is a valuable tool for any entrepreneur. Also interesting for people who want to know more about Apple, Google and Nest, especially from an insider point of view.

The book has a part of autobiography. Very useful to understand better one of the key persons in the tech world of this era. It leaves me feeling that I want to know more about Tony Fadell as a person. There is information about facts, what happened but not much about feelings and emotions. Perhaps that was not the moment or the context to go deep into that area. I hope other books will be written in the future.

Build adds new information that helped me to understand a crucial period in Apple. Things I never read in other books. The author is the direct protagonist of what he explains. This makes the book a precious document.

The book is foremost a guide for entrepreneurs. It is clear and well explained.

Overall it is a great book. I enjoyed reading it.

After Steve. How Apple become a trillion-dollar company and lost its soul

Tripp Mickle.
May, 2022.

I have learned a lot of new things and different points of view about Apple. It focuses on a period that other books did not talk about much. People who follow the company in blogs and podcasts could know some of the stories, but here is a deep dive. The author explains very well the whole picture with the perspective that time gives.

Tim Cook and Jonny Ive are the main characters in that period. They both have kept their personal life in secret. After interviewing many people who know them, the author reveals interesting new information.

There is something in common about the books that journalists write. Sometimes I feel that it is like a long article in a newspaper. It is rigorous, well structured, well documented, but cold.

I am curious to know what the passions of the author are. Is he interested in technology personally? What does he read, and how does he spends his free time? After reading this book, I would guess he is not passionate about technology and much less about Apple. The good side is that he approaches the subject in a cold, perhaps objective way. The bad thing is that I think that book will not connect with many people that have an emotional relation with the brand.

The author seems like the courageous reporter approaching the powerful, nefarious company to discover some of its secrets. It is a systematic confrontation. This is present everywhere between the lines and sometimes becomes more explicit. The subtitle of the book is a good example.

This book has new valuable information. It has solid documentation, and it is well written. However, it seems from someone who sees the company from the outside and does not connect with some emotional aspects of the brand.

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson.
October 2011.

Steve Jobs asked Walter Isaacson to write the book when he knew he had cancer. Jobs gave Isaacson many interviews and facilitated access to other people. As a result, the book goes deep into the life of Steve, and it becomes an important document to know and understand the co-founder of Apple.

On the other side, after reading all the books I comment on here and many others about Steve Jobs, many things contradict what the author has written.

I have also read some other books from Isaacson: Code breaker, about Jennifer Doudna, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Einstein. I find that they all have something in common. They are well documented, well written, and entertaining. On the other side, it seems that the author always tries to find "the dark side" everywhere. Perhaps he wants to be objective and picture every character's good and bad face. Maybe he is influenced by his journalistic background, and he is critic and suspicious of his sources. Perhaps it is his personality and the way he sees things.

The fact is that all the other books and many other podcasts and blogs do not agree with important details explained in this book. More importantly, the whole picture of Steve as a human being here is quite different from other sources.

It is a good read if you want to know and understand Apple and Steve. At the same time, I am cautious and aware that I would only understand Steve Jobs if I also read other books. So if I had to pick one book about the subject, I definitely would not choose this one.

Becoming Steve Jobs. The evolution of a reckless upstart into a visionary leader.

Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli.
June 2016.

This is an unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs. The book is deeply researched and entertaining to read.

Becoming Steve Jobs comes years later than the Walter Isaacson book, and the comparisons are inevitable.

The authors did not have the same facilities to interview Steve and the people from his environment. On the other side, they knew Steve well and had many direct contacts with him during his life. It is also clear that they had numerous interviews with other people who knew Steve well.

Schlender and Tetzeli have a solid background in technology. That is an relevant diferenciator recpect Isaacson.

All those elements give that book a more rich perspective of Steve Jobs. The book emphasizes the evolution of the character throughout his life.

This is one of the big books to understand Steve Jobs as a person and his role in the tech world.

Creative Selection. Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs.

Ken Kocienda.
September, 2019.

This is a very specialized book, probably for minorities. I think it is for people who like tech and love Apple. I am that target.

The author is an engineer that worked at Apple. The book talks in particular about the Safari browser and the iPhone keyboard. It is interesting to see the role of an individual contributor and how this fits in the whole process.

Through the book, I began to admire Ken Kocienda. He seems such a brilliant professional and also a nice, humble person.

It is great to see how things are created and evolve inside Apple. I have learned many things that I had never heard anywhere else. The book is also well written.

Creativity, inc. Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration.

Ed Catmull, Amy Wallance.
April 2014.

It is a biography about Pixar Studios and, at the same time, a treat on how to be creative in a big corporation. I find the creative part challenging to apply to a small group or an individual. In any case, it is worth reading.

Here Apple is not the center of the book. But, despite that, Catmull talks about Steve Jobs in a critical period of his life. That helps to understand the character and how the relationship with Apple was as a company.

To Pixar and Beyond My unlikely journey with Steve Jobs to make entertainment history.

Lawrence Levy.
November 1, 2016.

He talks about the business side of the life of Pixar. It is very complementary to the book of Ed Catmull, Creativity, inc. Steve Jobs is a relevant character in the book and gives us another perspective about him.

The Pixar Touch The Making of a Company.

David A. Price.
Jully, 2008.

Ed Catmull's book helps the reader to know Pixar from the origin, the vision of one of the co-founders. The emphasis is on the creative side. Next, Lawrence Levy explains the perspective of a CFO. Finally, David A. Price gives a more overall vision of someone who has studied Pixar from the outside. This book is less relevant for people interested in Steve Jobs and Apple. Despite that, it helps to understand Pixar and Jobs from another point of view.

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