Author: Adam Lashinsky

Publisher: Hachette –Business Plus – 223 pages

Book Review by:  Nano Khilnani

Apple Inc. has one of the highest market values among public firms worldwide. As of the close of trading on February 20, 2012 its price per share was just a little over $502. With 932 million shares outstanding, that works out to a market value of almost $468 billion.

At the end of its last fiscal year on September 24, 2011, it had revenues of over $108 billion and net income of almost $26 billion, amounting to a net profit margin of 24 percent. It has a healthy balance sheet with its net worth being over $90 billion. (assets of $139 billion less liabilities of $49 billion).

It is one of the world’s fastest-growing companies of its size. A ten-year look shows that in 2002 its revenue was $5.74 billion. That amount multiplied by almost 19 times to grow to $108.25 billion by 2011. What is even more remarkable is that its profit of $65 million in 2002 multiplied almost 400 times to $25.92 billion in ten year by 2011, or an average annual growth of around 40 percent.

Apple has been one of the world’s leading technological innovators, having come up with numerous lifestyle-enhancing products that are not just liked but immensely loved by tens of millions of consumers. To thinks that its late founder and chairman Steve Jobs and his college buddy founded the company in a garage with no other resources except their brains is impossible to believe.

Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies by the users of its products, by investors as well as, I am sure, by its employees. The public view of it has from its beginnings, been associated with the casually-dressed genius Steve Jobs.

It was he who was chiefly responsible for its immense growth. It was Jobs’ creative thinking as well as his charismatic leadership that made Apple emerge from a garage to one of the most highly valued and valuable companies on earth.

The public wonders what made Apple Inc. so successful. An easy response to this sense of wonderment seems to have always been that it was led by a highly innovative leader in the person of Steve Jobs. But there is much more beyond that answer that led to the success of this company.

For the first time, the inner workings of Apple Inc. are revealed in this groundbreaking book by Adam Lashinsky, a writer and editor for Fortune who covers Silicon Valley and Wall Street. He has been with this publication since 2001 and has written cover stories not only on Apple but also Google and Hewlett-Packard.

Before starting this book, I urge everyone to read the Author’s Note on page 213 in which Adam Lashinsky gives an explanation of the sources of his information and how he obtained it.

Further, I add that this book review – like any review written by anyone except top executives – is woefully insufficient to reveal and understand how Apple really works, especially when it comes to product creation and innovation. You would be much better off getting and reading this book closely.

This book is based on the author’s close knowledge of Apple and experience in covering Silicon Valley since 2001. Adam Lashinsky has researched the well the workings of the company well. He has produced an excellent piece of work and it will give you insight on how innovation happens and why it is critical to the success of a company whether it sells products or services.

I can give you an inkling of how Apple works by listing the titles of the ten chapters of this book, but you will not know how it really works until you read each chapter closely.

So I urge you to get the book after reading this last paragraph.

Apple Inc. works by following these principles: rethink leadership, embrace secrecy, focus obsessively, stay start-up hungry, hire disciples, own your message, overwhelm friends and dominate foes, plan after your successor, inspire imitators, and one more thing (read chapter 10 to know what that “one more thing.” Enjoy reading the book and enrich your mind.