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Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  6,295 ratings  ·  333 reviews
“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
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published November 14th 2013 by Portfolio (first published 2013)
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Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have to declare my hand here as I have had a long association with Apple, from commercially programming the Apple IIe through 10 years working for the company, to the many friends I still have there. I approached this book with an open mind - could Leander Kahney have persuaded the famously private Jony Ive to speak? The answer is a resounding 'no'. This book admits its failure to open up many primary sources, except as far as the beginnings of Jony's career is concerned. The rest is mostly re ...more
Eric Franklin
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in the tech industry
This book is positively chockablock with insights regarding Apple's unique Industrial Design and Product Development process, making it a worthwhile read for people in the industry trying to get a better sense of how Apple keeps managing to churn out hit after hit. What makes Apple unique and how did it come to place Industrial Design at the core of it all?

* Don't create a product just because you can be competitive. Build a product where you believe you will own the category.
* Focus. Kill produ
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris O'Brien
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Nice read by a long-time Apple reporter. It's a challenge because in part, Ive's life story is sorta dull compared to Steve Jobs. No crazy fruititarian diets. No LSD trips. And in the telling, Ive never seems to experience setback. So the drama factor is low. Still, the book does a good job of explaining the messy and complex details of product design, which are laborious and tedious and rarely feature the simple narratives that later become myth. ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Save yourself the time, money, and headache and read something else. I am hard pressed to think of anyone whom I would recommend read this book over any number of freely available articles and interviews online.

That's your "TL;DR". There's a lot that really disappointed me in this work; here are the three most salient issues.

1.) The title is "Jony Ive," which would lead you to believe that this book is a biography about Sir Jony Ive's life thus far. (This is, of course, what I was interested in
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: physical-library
The only reason I finished this book was because I am a designer and I thought I might learn something. And I have, props to the book for doing that. The content is at points very inspiring. At other points, however, it is very repetitive, with a lot of 'this person said' and 'that person said', as well as a lot of details and anecdotes that are actually not that exciting.

But what annoyed me the most was how badly designed this book had been. While not 'a design book', this book is about design,
VijayaRaghavan S N
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would say the book deserves a rating of 4.5 stars which can be rounded off to 4 stars. It is rounded off to 4 stars and not 5 because of Walter Isaacson and his biography on Steve Jobs (titled Steve Jobs). I did a grave mistake of reading the book 'Steve Jobs' before this one. And so, my definition of a biography was set at soaring heights by Isaacson. The amount of research and number of pages on the guy on whom the book is based on defined the book 'Jobs' and which in turn defined what a bio ...more
David Schwan
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great book but probably many would find dry and over detailed, I however found it had the right amount of detail. The author gives us an in depth look at the Apple Industrial Design Group (IDg). Having been a long time Apple user (since 1980) it was great to see some of the underlying thought processes involved in the design of Apple products. This book goes beyond just design and shows us how Jony Ive has pioneered many new manufacturing processes, he has extended the way many things are buil ...more
Ben Gillam
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting read, reveals some alternate views on the apple history not from Steve Jobs perspective. Jony Ive is an amazing designer and very interesting to read about. Book was a little slow to get going but worth seeing it through.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Good Profile of Jony Ive. I wish it was more detailed.

Favorite Quotes from the book:


(Referring to one of Jony's teachers in design school)
“And he had these fantastic big brushes in his pocket. When he came round, he wouldn’t just stop and talk to us; he would make us brush off what we were working on and clear a little space. Even if it was terrible, and in our minds didn’t deserve any clearing of space, there was something about respecting the work; the idea that actually it was important
Vikrama Dhiman
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book about Jonathan Ive only. If you’ve read ‘Theory of Expertise’, you will immediately see the parallels of a design-obsessed father nudging his kid into a world of design. And, what a nudge it was. From North of England to London to Cupertino, Jonathan Ive has influenced Product Design across categories right from his school days - winning competitions, accolades, special requests to ‘only’ have Jonathan Ive on the project and finally becoming the confidante of Steve Jobs (he wa ...more
Rishi Patel
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating insight into the secret beast that is Apple. Very interesting on Steve Jobs' influence on Apple and the way they have ascended to be the company they are today.
Ive is no doubt a huge part of this, and an insight into his role at Apple and the development of products in no short of genius. By reading this, you understand that every detail of their products are heavily influenced by Ive and today we use devices and software that he has poured his life into.

Tridib Chowdhury
I started this book expecting a glimpse into Jony Ive's mind and life. By the time I finished, what I got was very little of that but a whole lot about his way of working, his career trajectory, defining moments of his growth as a design leader and even insights into the nuts and bolts of the iconic products that he helped create. If you are a designer, you will cherish this book as a turning point in how you see yourself and your craft. This book is inspiring and captivating for a designer.
Pedro Almeida
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will be honest, with all secrecy around Apple processes and teams, the content is interesting
I just loved to understand the parallelism between Apple evolution with impact of Jony in the process.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, audiobook
An interesting book covering the life of Jony Ive and the design issues at Apple during Ive's employment. I have not kept up on Apple design over the years but have read a number of articles along the way, so I found that most of the topics and discussion in this book about Apple products were familiar. There were also quite a few new things I learned about the products, the design process, and in particular about Jony Ive. Two things bothered me though. First, Ive apparently didn't participate ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this. I had been hoping for a rich, detailed look at Ive, who has been so instrumental in Apple's resurgence since the first iMac. It was a quick read and I finished it in a few days, but in the end I found it kind of light, like a sports hero book for a young adult audience. There were several stories I had wanted to hear more about--like how the iPhone demo in early 2007 was so fragile that they spent frantic weeks figuring out exactly in what order to demo the things f ...more
Tim F
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fan of Apple would think that Steve Jobs was the one who ran the company, designed products, and controlled everything about Apple. Well they would be wrong, since Steve did control most parts of the company, theres a reason Apple is still putting out great designed products with Steve long departed from the world.After reading about Steve and Woz, only Jony's story was left to explore in the great minds of Apple Inc. Jony Ive was the mastermind behind the whole Apple product line revival ,wit ...more
Arunbalaji Mohanraj
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jony Ive, a British designer and a great man behind the design of most of the Apple products. Leander really penned it nicely and it amazed me when they mentioned as it is even possible for them to run Apple without Jobs but hard without Jony Ive. Though everyone had a belief that Jony may take up the CEO role, the calm man proved that he is interested in designing products (his passion) rather than running the business. As a company, Apple concentrated only on the design, the finish of their pr ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read that is able to elucidate the fanatical approach that Jony has regarding all things related to design in Apple. From the verbal catfights, the use of ONLY polished aluminium screws on a casing, the universal approach to design to be culturally inclusive, the tens of models of the home button on the iPhone prototypes, the relationship of the Helvetica Nueu font with retina display, the move away from skeumorphism in iOs7, and many, many more stories, all told with the ultimate a ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nice book. I think it's a little bit harsh to criticise the author for not managing to line up any fascinating new interviews from someone who is extremely publicity-shy. It's not a patch on Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs of course, but that was always likely to be the case.

If you're interested in design then, as others have said, this is a great look into how Apple's design team has evolved over the last few decades. There's some great stuff about industrial design and Apple's relationship
Sana Vasli
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is well written and well researched. If you want to learn about how the mind of design genius Jony Ive works, don't read this book. The tagline is slightly misleading. Jony Ive's life is explored in about 3 chapters.

The remainder of the book is concerned with the achievements of the Industrial Design Group in Apple. It was interesting and there's some cool stories. If you're into that, this book explores this very well.

I was hoping for a deeper exploration into the thought patterns a
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ux-books
It had its inspiring and interesting bits. But it read almost like a commercial for Apple. Almost completely sugar-coated and noncritical, which doesn't do Ive justice. Also I had unrealistic expectations that this might reveal more about Apple's famously secret design and production processes, but, hey, they're famously secret. ...more
Alex Devero
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Well written book giving you chance to explore the life of Apple's head of design Johny Ive. Book also covers the process how Apple created its products and what it is like to work there. Enjoy the closer look into some of the secrets of Apple's design practices and how Johny Ive made it to the top. ...more
Mike Ball
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great look into the priorities and mindset that makes Apple products different, and the man behind the magic. Too bad the biography is all based off of anecdotal information and a few sources, but it's the closest thing we have describing how Apple comes up with their products. ...more
Mars Brownsen
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Highlights why we need less mba folks and more people who can make stuff. Love what it says about education. craftsmanship and pride are key to making brands that matter.
Vuk Trifkovic
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech
Too reliant on secondary sources, not enough illustrations, but enough coherence on an amazing story to make it a good, insightful read.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellently researched. Has some very interesting insights into the working of both Jony Ive, and, by extension, Apple.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love design and I loved this book. If you're not too keen on design this book may not be as interesting. ...more
Jason Braatz
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read, re-read
Firstly, do not compare this to Isaacson's Steve Jobs ; it's written for an entirely different audience. If you are someone who is intrigued by the Apple story insofar as it's David and Goliath story, this book is a necessary part of your library.

This is a very well written and researched biography of perhaps the most important person to Apple beyond Steve Jobs: the industrial engineer who provided Apple with its look and feel, which is studied but hardly criticized. In other words, a human's i
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is an interesting book because it has lots of information about how Sir Jonathan Ive's designs in Apple are so successful. If you're a person who likes biographies and doesn't mind a few occasional technical terms, then this is the book for you. This book explains how Steve Jobs met Jony Ive and the intricate relationship that ties the two together. He describes a good design as intuitive and interactive. This book describes the ups and downs in Apple's history and how Jony Ive changed ...more
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Leander Kahney is managing editor, formerly a senior reporter at Wired News, the online sister publication of Wired. He is the author of The Cult of Mac , Cult of iPod and Inside Steve's Brain. Kahney is best known for his popular blog, Cult of Mac (The Cult of Mac Blog). As a prominent writer on Apple- and Mac-related topics, Kahney was once theorized (incorrectly) to be the identity of Fake Stev ...more

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What will you do when it's your turn to pick your book club's next read? Well, this is what you won't do: panic. Why not? Because we've dug...
9 likes · 3 comments
“The thing is, it’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.” 8 likes
“He was ego-free, which was very rare in the design student world. Most design students had lots of ego and very little talent. Jony was the other way around.” 2 likes
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