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Insanely Simple

Obsession with simplicity is front and center in Insanely Simple by Ken Segall, the man who put the famous “i” in Apple’s product names. Even if you’re not an Apple fan, this book offers insight into the ways our organizations function. Segall looks at ten behaviors and values that support Apple’s value: simplicity.

He tells sticky stories about Apple and other companies. Sticky because they stick in my mind. I’ve been telling these stories to family and friends as I read, not waiting to finish the chapter before I’m saying, “Jon, listen to this one.”

The titles are based on Apple’s Think Different advertising campaign. The ideas focus on managing and leading effectively:

  1. Think Brutal. Openness and honesty mean no guessing at what managers are thinking and expecting.
  2. Think Small. Small groups of smart people who include the final decision maker will succeed quickly.
  3. Think Minimal. Communicate and focus on one theme that people will remember.
  4. Think Motion. Create project timelines that include the right timeframe and the right people.
  5. Think Iconic. Find and use an image that symbolizes your theme.
  6. Think Phrasal. Use simple sentences. Use simple words. “Simplicity is its own form of cleverness (p. 202).”
  7. Think Casual. Informal conversations connection, inspire, and create.
  8. Think Human. Intangibles are often more important than metrics.
  9. Think Skeptic. Don’t let a “no” or extra work stand in the way of acting with Common Sense.
  10. Think War. Use your bullets wisely. Remember the passion you have for your idea.

Keep your highlighter handy for the pithy quotes. Keep family and friends handy for the sticky stories. Choose the idea you’ll work with first. This book is light enough to be a summertime read and compelling enough to share with others in your organization.

How do you “Think Different”?

Review: Great by Choice
Ken Segall’s Blog

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