A praise-filled yet also critical one-decade performance report on Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In the wake of Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, Cook’s job description seemed simple enough: Don’t try to fill Jobs’ larger-than-life shoes; just keep his vision alive while moving the Silicon Valley giant into the future on its self-perpetuating course. Naturally, the critics predicted—even desired—for the newly Cook-helmed kingdom to crumble. However, as Apple watcher Kahney (Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products, 2013, etc.) writes, “the critics were wrong. Fast forward eight years, and under Cook’s leadership, Apple has been killing it. Since Jobs died, Apple reached the ultimate milestone, becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar company….Cook’s Apple is crushing the competition in almost every way.” From a full examination of the 2016 San Bernardino fiasco, when Cook faced his greatest challenge—ultimately defying government coercion in defense of user privacy—to highly detailed before and after measures of diversity, inclusion, and environmental advances, Kahney’s book is no rags-to-riches, blow-by-blow timeline of Cook’s life. While that element is present, the volume is more a study in comparisons: Jobs was this way, here’s how Cook differs, and here are the sum effects of those differences. While Jobs cast his shadow as the innovative big-tech dynamo, Cook cuts quite the contrast as the reserved, privacy-loving believer in ethics, equality, and environment. As the author amply demonstrates, these core areas most neglected by Jobs are where Cook has been placing his biggest emphasis as he continues to evolve Apple’s corporate culture with his own stamp of personality. Calling Apple under Jobs a “Fortune 500 killing machine” in its aggressive arc to the top, Kahney stresses that “Apple under Cook is different….He is pushing Apple and the entire tech industry forward, creating an ethical transformation.”
An occasionally hagiographic but mostly illuminating portrait in which Cook’s performance is viewed as impressive and unprecedented.