Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs

Yukari Iwatani Kane, Author
Yukari Iwatani Kane. Harper Business, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-212825-6
Paperback - 371 pages - 978-0-06-232683-6
Book - 978-0-06-232697-3
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-00-747914-6
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-212827-0
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-00-810817-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-9249-6
Hardcover - 371 pages - 978-0-00-746712-9
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-00-756517-7
Book - 978-1-4829-9248-9
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The globe-bestriding computer-maker loses its soul in this lively business history. Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Kane follows Apple after the 2011 death of founder Steve Jobs as the company’s knack for conjuring breakthrough i-gadgets lapsed into a series of ho-hum upgrades, misfires like the befuddled artificial intelligence app Siri, and interminable patent lawsuits, while market share, profits, and stock price eroded. Kane makes the story a study in CEO leadership styles, contrasting Jobs’s visionary bluster with his successor Tim Cook’s icy bean-counting and the histrionics of Samsung’s “wise emperor” Lee Kun-hee, whose quality crusade involved burning an entire factory’s inventory in front of its weeping employees. Kane unearths plenty of colorful material here, including lawyerly jousting, hilariously lame new-product unveilings, and conference-room psychodramas between bullying execs and groveling underlings. The author’s great-man theory of Jobs’s “unfiltered” leadership as the indispensable motor of Apple’s innovation doesn’t explain much; her unusually rich dissection of Apple’s ugly dealings with its FoxConn manufacturing partner suggests that Cook’s merciless wringing of profits out of exploited Chinese labor is as much the soul of Apple as Jobs’s oft-hyped intuition for design. Still, this well-paced, vividly detailed narrative reveals the machine surrounding the Jobsian ghost at Apple and brings the company’s high-flying mythology down to earth. Agent: Peter L. Ginsberg, Curtis Brown. (Mar.)
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