I’ve just finished reading Insanely Simple by Ken Seagall. Quite an interesting read. And I would say a good companion to the Steve Jobs biography if you wish to know a bit more about how Steve Jobs works. Some of the parts I enjoyed the most was the depiction of Steve trusting his gut or as Ken says, fiercely adhering to the principle of Simplicity. In a chapter about lawyers advising him to reconsider his position on a certain situation, his reply was simple indeed “Fuck the lawyers”.
There is good use of metaphors like the Simplicity stick and a narrative template, i.e. protagonist = Simplicity and Complexity the evil antagonist who wishes to gain world domination only with Simplicity standing in its way. This narrative template works very well and I almost cheered in my mind at times when Simplicity won over its evil counterpart.
However, as pointed out by quite a few reviewers, Insanely Simple can use a few strokes of the Simplicity Stick as well. It lists 10 sub-types of Simplicity i.e. Think Different, Think War, Think Brutal etc. But there are often repeating points and stories in these chapters. The PC vs MAC ad, for example, was referenced quite a few times with seemingly no added value with each retelling. I think he was adhering to another principle of Steve Jobs, the power of the deca. 10 seems to be a psychologically satisfying number, probably due to the fact that we have 10 fingers (if we had 12 fingers, our number system will probably in terms of twelves) and is in Apple products and marketing. Up to 10 hours of battery life on the iPad. 1000 songs in your pocket. Hence Insanely Simple broke things down into 10 sub types. This runs counter to his point on “Think Minimal” but hey it’s still a good read and a good book about Apple and Steve Jobs, just not a good business/management book.
I think it would be apt to end this blog post with this quote from the book,
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.