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Inside Apple offers a quick read, corporate insights

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I just finished Adam Lashinsky's "Inside Apple", now available for sale at most major vendors. It's a quick, easy read and clocks in at just over 200 pages with large, readable type. If you're looking for an exhaustive Tracy Kidder take on how Apple works and operates, this book isn't it. Instead, it offers a refreshing overview of Apple history and corporate culture from NeXT to iPhone.

There's little here that's new or shocking, but it's all put together in a readable style. It's a perfect airplane book -- it will keep you entertained without requiring too much commitment.

You'll find plenty of anecdotes, from how Apple developed its retail strategy to how it acquired Cisco's "iOS" moniker for its own use. You'll also learn about Apple's social structure (designers rule the world while the Mac teams have seen their status plummet) and its penny-pinching policies. There's a lot about Jobs and his quirks, both personal and business as well.

What you don't get is a lot of deep analysis. I suspect that's because Apple's closed system didn't allow Lashinsky access to the people who could have provided those insights. There's a lot of back story and very little about the current state of affairs. Clearly, all his research had to be done from the outside, with ex-employees and those who have done business with the company.

As the book points out, this secrecy has served Apple well. One section that really popped for me early in the book involved a discussion of Korean phone maker LG. Unlike Apple, they pre-announced a product and under-delivered it. It's a mistake that Apple, with its tight limits on information, would never have made.

In the end, Lashinsky describes Apple's corporate culture and business successes, allowing each reader to draw the line from the cause to the effect. I found it an enjoyable read. If you are someone interested in Apple and its culture, you'll probably want to pick up a copy.

Adam Lashinsky's Inside Apple book is available in the iTunes iBookstore for US$12.99 and from Amazon.

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