Quick book review: Insanely Simple (or why this book left me angry)

Just as a book club discussion at work on Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs' autobiography concluded, I started "Insanely Simple" by Ken Segall.

The book is a reasonable read in terms of style and content, weaving a number of anecdotes form the author's interactions with Jobs and experience at Apple and some other companies into some themes.

But this book left me as deflated and angry at myself as I've felt in ages after reading a book. As you go over Jobs' insane focus (and that adjective has more meaning as used here) on keeping product design simple and ruthlessly thinking through how to achieve that, you realize just how short you and most others fall from that standard.

The temptation to add complexity (in the product and for the user) is so strong in most teams and processes, that most products and companies don't escape it. The book has a bunch of examples of

  • how and why so many fall in the trap
  •  and how Jobs avoided it.

Quick recommendation: really interesting read, but a lot of fat around the meat, so if you can get someone to give you the Cliff Notes version around a dinner table or coffee, go that way instead. :-)


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