After Walter Isaacson’s magnum opus, do we really need yet another book about Apple? Yes, I think we do. Whereas Isaacson wrote the authorized biography of Jobs, the journalist and author Adam Lashinsky has written a most unauthorized and, in some ways, unpalatable book about Jobs’ company which gets Inside Apple and explains How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really works.
Having talked to “many many people” who used to work for Apple, Lashinksy really did go inside the Cupertino based company. And what he found, he told me when he came into our New York City studio yesterday, was a highly secretive organization in which regular staff don’t multi-task and where everyone except senior executives are forced to exclusively focus on doing their discrete job. There’s “no free lunch” at Apple, Lashinksy told me, either in metaphorical or real terms – with Apple employees having to actually pay for their food and drink. Apple, he thus explained, is the anti Google – a company whose success is built on its lack of transparency and on its rigidly authoritarian organizational structures.
Lashinsky’s book, then, is an important rebuttal of today’s Silicon Valley orthodoxy that a successful 21st century company needs to be organizationally flat and open. Lashinksy may indeed be telling a truth that most of us don’t want to hear. Apple, rather than Google, is the future of corporate America. And that future will be defined by secrets and lies, rather than by transparency and truth.