What are the best books to read about Apple? There are a lot of different Apple books to buy online, and books about Apple’s famous founders: Steve Jobs and Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak, plus Apple’s design guru Jony and current CEO Tim Cook. Which books about Apple should you read?
Not all of books about Apple are complimentary. Some Apple books are downright confrontational. Apple is such a secretive company its employees are known for being ultra-secretive. Most of these books claim to offer the inside scoop on Apple, and the people who work there.
If you want to know about Apple, the company that designed legendary devices like the Mac, iPhone, iPod and iPad then these are the books to read:
Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
£14.99 (Amazon Link)
This is the official autobiography of Steve Jobs. In the last few years of Jobs’ life, Walter Isaacson was given “unprecedented” access to Steve Jobs and interviewed over one hundred family members, friends, work colleagues and adversaries. This is the one book that Jobs co-operated with, although he asked for no control over its content (aside from choosing the cover).
It’s a slightly formal read and contains few truly amazing revelations for keen Apple fans (although it is the source for many rumours about the Apple Television). Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson has won several awards from peers such as Financial Times, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor and Time Magazine. It’s a good, if somewhat lengthy read but has some great quotes from Steve Jobs. Place this top of your list.
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Apple Confidential 2.0, Owen Linzmayer
£19.99 (Amazon Link)
If you’re after a slightly more hard hitting behind-the-scenes read then this is the one to get. Apple Confidential 2.0 is billed as “The definitive history of the world’s most colourful company”. It’s a good account of the early days of Apple, and the “Big Bad Blunders” that Apple made following its early successes. Jef Raskin, the creator of the Apple Macintosh says that “of all the books written on Apple's history, this one comes closest to accurately relating the story of how the Mac was created, and other early Apple events.”
See: Who’s the Mac Daddy?
Revolution in The Valley, Andy Hertzfeld
£19.99 (Amazon Link)
One of the pivotal points in Apple’s history was the gestation period of the original Apple Macintosh. Subtitled “The Insanely Great Story of How The Mac Was Made” this book focusses on that point. When Apple designed the first computer to bring a simple GUI to the masses at a price they could finally afford. It’s a largely upbeat book, full of the enthusiasm that Apple fans have for this watershed moment. As Steve Wozniak says in the intro “Every computer today is basically a Macintosh”, so if you’re into computers this is a good book to have read. One for Apple fanboys, and fangirls.
Inside Apple, Adam Lashinsky
£4.99 (Amazon Link)
What’s it really like to work at Apple? That ‘s the premise behind this book by fortune’s Editor In Large. More than any other book, this one investigates the attributes that makes Apple the world’s most valuable company. From the legendary micromanagement of Steve Jobs to its obsession with design and secrecy, it’s a warts-and-all peek behind the curtain. It’s not a cheery read though.
Jony Ive, Leander Kahney
£14.99 (Amazon Link)
Most books about Apple focus on Jobs and his obsessive management style. Presumably countless middle managers hope some of Jobs’ spark will leap into them. The audience wanting to know about Jony Ive’s design style might be smaller, but this is an important book to read. Much of Apple lore relates to incredible teams working against the odds and striking it lucky. This book goes into great detail about the Apple Design Studio and how it works. It even outlines the ANPP (Apple New Product Process): a giant checklist and flowchart that Apple uses to painstakingly cover every aspect of the design and development process.
Insanely Simple, Ken Segall
£9.99 (Amazon Link)
Ken Segal was a creative director and writer at the Chiat/Day advertising agency. His close relationship with Jobs, and the man who briefly ousted him from Apple, John Sculley, means that he gets a lot of inside scoops. Such as Steve Jobs wanting to call the iMac the MacMan. This book outlines how Jobs saved Apple by simplifying its product range. Insanely Simple focusses on how Jobs simplified Apple, creating small groups of smart people to create great things. It’s full of anecdotes about Steve Jobs, which can only come from somebody who was close to him.
Haunted Empire, Yukari Kane
£20 (Amazon Link)
Tim Cook calls it “nonsense” and says “ it fails to capture Apple, Steve, or anyone else in the company.” Having said that, Haunted Empire (by former Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Kane) is one of the few books to focus on Apple post-Steve Jobs. Kane claims to have drawn on over 200 sources both inside and outside the company as research. Kane told CNN the book is “an exploration of all of the challenges that Apple's been dealing with." It’s critical however, and Kane claims the “well of ingenuity” has “run dry”. We think this is a tried, tested and tired angle for a book. We’re still waiting for a truly great read about Tim Cook’s tenure of Apple (it might be a few years yet) but in the meantime this is one to be going on with.