Innovative inertia?

February 17th, 2014 | by MuslimScience
Innovative inertia?

A book review on ‘The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs –Insanely different principles for breakthrough success’ by Carmine Gallo.

By Maheen Hassan

steve jobsWhen you open a book, you expect to find something different; a new story; a new idea, a new inspiration. Your expectation is raised even more, when the title of the book is so intriguing that it speaks volumes in itself. Such was the case with ‘The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs –Insanely different principles for breakthrough success,’ written by Carmine Gallo, the title of which captivates you instantly, for the reason that it has ‘THE’ Steve Jobs mentioned in it. A man, courtesy who, the technology industry revolutionized, modernized and glamourized, is existent in every household, either through his name or products, and has certainly captured the hearts and minds of many.

As the title elicits, the book discusses the style and strategies of Steve Jobs. It takes the reader through a journey, of how Steve Jobs began his career, from the minuscule confines of his home garage and ended up becoming the owner of a multi-million dollar company. It indulges the reader from his success to his downfall, when he was ousted out of his own company and creates a glorified illustration of a protagonist falling from grace.

The book talks at length, about 7 principles, that were the defining pinnacle for Steve Jobs’ innovative success. These include, ‘do what you love,’ ‘put a dent in the universe’ – have a big vision, ‘kick-start your brain’ – use creativity and have lots of different experiences, ‘sell dreams not products’ – understand what people want to accomplish, ‘say no to 1000 things,’ ‘create insanely great experiences’ and finally, ‘master the message.’ All these principles are supported with personal examples of Steve Jobs such as, his love for calligraphy is the reason why we have such amazing fonts now or his amazing story telling faculties, which enabled him to present his products in such an appealing light, that they seemed desirable no matter what. Moreover, the chapters are also packed with examples to support each principle, of people or organizations, who are living embodiments of the power principles.

All in all, the book does assimilate a wide range of content and by employing sufficient external examples to elucidate each phenomena, the book is power packed with enough evidence to convince the reader. The integration of ‘ILessons’ at the end of each chapter also provokes the critical ability of the reader and forms an interactive forte for communication to take place. The tonal variations compliment the rhythm of the book, which travels up and down, to create a sense of mystery so as to keep the reader hooked. A good book, well organized and well written, that reminds and reinforces our image and knowledge of Jobs.

steve jobs1However, the place where the book largely, if not completely fails, is between the relation of the title and the content in the book. There are really no ‘secrets’ as the title suggests; all the principles are simply a reiteration of what we have all read in some previous motivational read. In fact, the principles appear to have been almost copied, such as the principle, “Do What You Love,” appeared in an article in California Management Review, “do what you love and love what you do,”1 and as for “Kick-Start Your Brain,” Doug Hall wrote a book, “Jump Start Your Brain”2. The point really is, that the book, in essence, does not offer any magical secrets to innovation, it merely harps upon previous principles, only with a new twist of words, employing Steve Jobs in the backdrop.

steve-jobs-invent-tomorrow-quoteIt also appears, that the book is like an autobiography of Jobs, when it was supposed to use him as a reference for something bigger. The book glorifies Jobs too much, and with all due respect to Jobs, who was indeed one of the finest innovators and entrepreneurs the world has ever seen, there is not really any credit given to those who worked alongside Jobs, in making Apple, one of the biggest names to go down in history.

If you enjoy entrepreneur stories, then this book is for you, as it is packed with entrepreneur examples. However, if you’re looking for some serious motivation, then I’d suggest a book or two in addition to this one, to get you going. Or why not unleash your innovative skills and draft a book yourself?

Happy innovating!





1.            Amabile, T. M. “Motivating Creativity in Organizations: On Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do.” California Management Review 40, no. 1 (fall 1997): 39–58.

2.            Hall, Doug. “Jump Start Your Brain” (1996)




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