Jun. 30th, 2012

terriko: I am a serious academic (Twlight Sparkle looking confused) (Serious Academic)


Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success
Ken Segall

When the thesis of your book is that simple is important and the best way to do many things, you really should try saying so in a simple way. I find verbiage to be a flaw of many pop non-fiction books, but it *really* stood out badly here because the wordiness and repetitive padding of some sections was so out of sync with the message.

That said, I enjoyed the book, though I disagreed with lots of it. It weaves a compelling tale out of anecdotes about Steve Jobs and the author's work at Dell and Intel (for examples of complexity, by and large). The stories are well-told, but sometimes the justification for why simplicity works ranged from dubious to outright scientifically wrong from my knowledge. But I liked the flow of ideas, and it kept me thinking, and even where the justifications were wrong it doesn't mean the conclusions necessarily are.

It *did* irk me considerably that I felt like I'd gotten more out of this book than out of Schneier's Liars and Outliers, but I think I liked this book partially because I disagreed with it and it forced me to think critically. Plus, I can't get my Age of Persuasion marketing story fix anymore, so this fit a similar niche for me.

Insanely Simple is worth reading for the stories alone, and it'd be possible to just skim to them and have a good time. But the weave of simplicity-as-solution as a way to tie the stories together is worth a look too, just be careful to leave your critical thinking caps on.

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