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Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,149 ratings  ·  155 reviews
To Steve Jobs, Simplicity was a religion. It was also a weapon.

Simplicity isn’t just a design principle at Apple—it’s a value that permeates every level of the organization. The obsession with Simplicity is what separates Apple from other technology companies. It’s what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on Earth in 2011.

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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by Portfolio Penguin (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Peter Labrow
Of all of the books jumping on the Steve Jobs bandwagon, this is perhaps the one that’s most of value.

This is perhaps the one management book which has really resonated with me since Don Peppers and Martha Rogers’ The One-To-One Future. Let’s face it, that’s not great: that was published in 1996.

I’m old enough to have worked for organisations both large and small – as an employee and as an outside supplier. It can be frustrating to be working for an organisation that has a core of brilliance but...more
Jmswtsn
Could have used some editing. For a book espousing the advantages of "Simplicity", it could have used some chopping. He basically makes the same point about 15 times before launching into some interesting stories. 100 pages of good stuff, 100 pages of fluff.
Phil Simon
Yes, this book is that good. It's quite possibly the most important marketing book since Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin. Segall shows us how Apple's maniacal emphasis on simplicity distinguishes it from Microsoft, Dell, HP, Intel, and other tech stalwarts.

In an age in which consumers are king, inundating them with features and specs is exactly the wrong approach. Rather, as Segall shows, Apple (through Steve Jobs and continuing under Tim Cook) does the oppo...more
Neven
This is a quirky and charmingly plain collection of anecdotes about Segall's interactions with Steve Jobs, and, more importantly, his takeaway lessons from Apple's success. It is, by design, a cherry-picked history, but in that it actually succeeds where Walter Isaacson's authorized biography failed. Isaacson spent so much time making sure his Steve was well rounded and fairly covered, he forgot to find (for lack of searching, it seems) any cause for the man's mindblowing career. Segall gets to...more
Glamdring
I DNF this audiobook at +/- 75%

As a more than 20 years Apple products user I was curious to read/listen this book. Some parts of it were interesting, unfortunately there was too much uninteresting rambling and the narration was kind of monotonous.
Erik
Like most people who work at the intersection of programming and user experience, I am a big fan of simple. Because of this I thought this book would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I was so wrong that I had to put this book down after getting only half way through it.

My main problem with the book is that this book never really defines, or even seems to have a good understanding of, what the term Simple means. In the end this is not a book about simplicity, it is a book about how much the...more
Suzanne
Interesting and easy-to-read take on Steve Jobs and Apple from a marketer's perspective. However, I found it really distasteful how he criticized and shared negative insider details about his former clients, particularly Dell. I felt he broke the consultant's unspoken code of conduct. He also shared an anecdote where he let a colleague fail miserably in front of Steve Jobs and, in Segall's own words "So I started doing what any brave advertising guy would do: I made sure I sat outside the line o...more
Roy Deseo
“Simple can be harder than
complex. You have to work hard to
get your thinking clean to make
it simple. But it’s worth it in the
end, because once you get there,
you can move mountains.”
—Steve Jobs”

The book speaks of only one thing, 'Simplicity'. But mind you, that simplicity has produced and is currently being observed by a multi-billion dollar company, nuff said! This book is just a snappy glimpse in Steve's professionalism. Recommended for young individuals who aspire in jumping-up their level of...more
Satai
Představte si, že život Ježíše se skládal povětšinou z událostí, jako bylo zlořečení fíkovníku... a vy chcete napsat evangelium.

Mytickou bytostí není v Insanely Simple syn tesaře ale minulý CEO Apple. Na sbírku historek z jeho života jich je málo, na rozbor jednoduchosti chybí cokoli hlubšího než "lidé to mají rádi jednoduché" a jako pokus zmapovat vznik některých produktů kniha stojí za houby, protože je napsal reklamkář a ne někdo, kdo má páru (iPhone je jednoduchý, protože má jedno tlačítko...more
Julia Doherty
I really enjoyed this book (more so than Steve Jobs autobiography). It has some fantastic stories, and shows what a scary person Steve was to work with, but how his brain worked with regards to hitting marketing with the "Simple Stick".

I had some great takeaways from this book that I will implement for my business such as:-

1. I will look at my website from a different perspective - is it simple enough and easy to find what you are looking for?

2. Marketing messages - should be one message only....more
Ash Menon
May 14, 2014 Ash Menon rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for some good managerial lessons, and doesn't mind wading through Jobsmania
You're going to have to put in some extra work on this book to actually get the point that Segall is trying to covey. For a book espousing the virtues of simplicity, Segall rarely takes his own advice. Truly, this book could have been around 30% shorter, and lose no value for it.

Another point of contention I had with this is that Segall, it would seem, has no point of reference for Simplicity outside of Apple. Or more accurately, outside of Steve Jobs. As Segall's work is very much a core buildi...more
Amitesh Maheshwari
Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success This book is not about Apple's design principle or how to achieve Simplicity. The book is more about Steve Jobs and the way he used to avoid complex/conventional processes, even being a CEO of big company like Apple. Author sometimes also loosely compared working style of IBM, Intel, Dell with that of Apple, which was not so convincing. But there are some interesting stories about the Apple products like iMac, iPhone and the legendary "T...more
Edward
I gained a lot from the power of simplicity through the stories told by the author, Ken Segall, who has spent a number of years working with Steve Jobs as an agency writer. While the lessons about simplicity are simple and follow common sense, it is hard for us to keep at it as complexity always creeps in. It is also refreshing to read about the inside stories from an insider. A lot of these stories I hear for the first time even though I have read a number of books about Steve Jobs and Apple in...more
Prayag Panchwadkar
Read only if you are an Apple fanboy or have read no other book on Apple. Most of the stories in the book are widely known.
The writing style has little structure or flow. Most of the book follows a "Steve did this, steve did that" kind of approach.
Good only for a few good Apple stories which hadn't been shared previously which you will find if you search for reviews of the book online.
Keith
I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

It's eye-opening to see Simplicity so crystallized in processes, products and people. Once you grok how nefarious Complexity is, it's difficult to ever again be complacent.
Tom
Some great stories in here. Unfortunately, it often feels like Ken is on the outside looking in. Plus the book is poorly organized with stories repeated. It would have been better organized chronologically.
Ravi Sinha
'The simple stick', 'A small group of smart people' - Apple's insatiable obsession with simplicity, and the fact that it takes a lot of hard work to create something that's simple to use - the book delves very well into all these aspects. It tends to be a little too geared toward advertisers and marketers, and not so much toward coders and researchers. Otherwise it is a great read, full of anecdotes about Apple, contrasting Apple's way and lack of 'process' compared to several other corporate be...more
Tanuja
Almost seems like an eulogy to Steve Jobs! Other than some juicy insights into Apple's marketing and work ethic, the rest is 'simply' repetitive.

Jose Alguacil
Flojo y pobre. Pro una buena recopilación de experiencias de Steve Jobs y su agencia.
No vale nada salvo por ver como trabajaba en algunos aspectos este tipo
Christina Furtado
Fairly obvious examples but good points none-the-less and a quick, easy read.
Erwin
The spectacular success of Apple is well known—but that’s not to say it’s well understood.

Simplicity is not base. It is not easy. It is complex and messy and the result of slashing and cutting every thing you can while keeping something whole and real and worthwhile.

• Think Minimal: Distilling choices to a minimum brings clarity to a company and its customers—as Jobs proved when he replaced over twenty product models with a lineup of four.
• Think Small: Swearing allegiance to the concept of “sma...more
Ryan Brockey
This book is written by one of the advertising and marketing guys that has worked with Apple for decades. He wrote the book for business leaders. The stated aim of the book is to help those business leaders embrace the simplicity that helped Apple turn around and become one of the most successful companies, and well-known brands, in the world.

That is not why I read the book.

Ken Segall worked closely with Steve Jobs for a long time and I was hoping to get a first-hand account of Jobs as the leade...more
Gatorlog
광고대행사 Chiat/Day 시절부터 스티브잡스의 마케팅 대행일을 해주면서 애플사의 iMac에 i자를 애플 제품들의 고유명으로 자리잡게 한 광고컨설턴트 Ken Segall씨는 애플사의 성공을 견인했던 중요한 요인은 모든 점에서 “simple”한데 있다고 주장한다. 단순함을 위한 스티브잡스의 열정은 디자인은 물론이고 마케팅, 조직관리, 그리고 유통에 이르기까지 애플사 전분야에 걸친 비즈니스 철학으로 자립잡는다. 심지어 애플은 구매 대상층의 분석도 단 하나로 통일해 버렸다. 바로 “사람”이다. 마케팅 전문가들이 보면 가장 비과학적인 마켓 분할이 아니던가? 다른 회사들은 비즈니스 컴퓨팅 시장과 일반 소비자 시장을 나누고, 그 안에서 또 다양한 소비자 세분화(세그멘테이션)를 시도한다. 운영체제도 가정용, 학생용, 전문가용등으로 나뉘고 MS오피스도 마찬가지다. 하지만 애플은 단 한번도 기업 고객 시장을 위한 제품 차별화나 마케팅 기획을 한 적이 없다. 또 조직관리에서도 스티브잡스는 단순함외...more
Timothy
Apple is, in my opinion, the be all and end all of design. Apple knows simplicity. Apple dictate the design of an industry and the world follows, often poorly. Simplicity is a very complex thing and Segall teaches how to make simplicity work. I've read other books about Steve Jobs but this one is another perspective of the great man as it's the perspective of somebody who worked closely with him over the decades. Beyond the doctrine of simplicity and the Jobs anecdotes this book also contains so...more
Kristian
This was an interesting and insightful read, but you can't help see that Ken has a Reality Distortion Field of his own. Repetition, repetition, repetition! The book could have been 20% shorter, and with a few less digs at the competition.

That said, as a worker in a Digital organisation, I appreciate the key insight that Simplicity is often harder to achieve than Complexity. Simplicity needs to infuse your business: staff, process etc. Worth a read.
Rick
Sep 30, 2012 Rick rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Written by a LONG time Apple marketing guy - I mean long time. Worked in the pre-jobs-return era, worked with Steve at NEXT, worked with Jobs after his return. Written as a business book about "embracing simple" which is all very interesting and obvious and whatnot, and mildly useful in that realm. But it does have some great little anecdotes, though not tons of them. Some nice intimate moments between the author and steve on the phone late at night, and a crazy anecdote about a deep, long consi...more
Risto
Because our limited ability to comprehend systems, we should always aim for simplicity. It is not just that consumer electronics should be simple (because consumers are simple) all management processes (because managers are simple) should be heading towards simplicity. If you are interested in marketing you should definitely read this book.
Carol Kowalski
Insanely Simple is motivating and fun to read. The book would have been better with pictures of the Apple print ads cited, or even a list of the Apple print and television ads, so the reader could hunt for them on the Internet. (Here's a start.)
1985 Superbowl Apple "Lemmings" ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYP1Tj...
Apple 1984 ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhsWzJ...
Think Different ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFEarB...
2006 Mac vs. PC:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-dfYp...
Apple "Toas...more
Neil Geisel
What a great concept to apply to my businesses. More simple need I ! Great perspectives from the marketing angle and how the relationship between marketing firm and client could and should be. If you ignore these concepts of simplification and the wealth they have produced for Apple, then wealth will simply ignore you!
Stef
Not a good book. To me Ken Segall seems to just take advantage of the fact that he worked with Jobs and saw him hitting every body with the "simple stick". Did he learn anything from working with Jobs? not clear. Did he apply the learning? No. Have I learned something? No.
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“he was just being himself, and I was happy that at least the ice was broken, even though part of my ego was broken as well.” 0 likes
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