Last week I read Inside Drucker’s Brain and this week I’m reading Inside Steve’s Brain. The two books are written by different authors about very different men. But one theme that both books have in common is an appreciation for killing projects, even moderately successful projects, in order to focus on even more important projects.
So far, the thing I’ve found most impressive is how Steve Jobs dramatically reduced Apple’s product offerings in his plan to turn around the company.
When Jobs took over, Apple sold about forty different products … The lineup of computers was particularly baffling. There were several major lines … each with a dozen different models. But there was little to distinguish between the models except for their confusing product names.
The book goes on to describe Steve Job’s response.
Jobs drew a very simple two-by-two grid on the whiteboard. Across the top he wrote “Consumer” and “Professional,” and down the side, “Portable” and “Desktop.” Here was Apple’s new product strategy. Just four machines …
Sometimes I feel like I need to do something like that in my personal life, cutting my number of projects down by an order of magnitude.
I’m curious what the rest of the book holds. As I write this, most of the book’s reviews on Amazon are positive, four stars out of five on average. There’s only a single one-star review, but it’s worth considering. In a nutshell, the critic says the book is poorly written and contains little new material. He may be right. I’ll grant that the book isn’t the best prose I’ve ever read. But it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s original; I don’t know much about Steve Jobs, so the book’s content is new to me.