• After Steve

  • How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul
  • By: Tripp Mickle
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 14 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (538 ratings)

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After Steve  By  cover art

After Steve

By: Tripp Mickle
Narrated by: Will Damron
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Publisher's Summary

From the Wall Street Journal’s Tripp Mickle, the dramatic, untold story inside Apple after the passing of Steve Jobs by following his top lieutenants—Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer, and Tim Cook, the COO-turned-CEO—and how the fading of the former and the rise of the latter led to Apple losing its soul.

Steve Jobs called Jony Ive his “spiritual partner at Apple.” The London-born genius was the second-most powerful person at Apple and the creative force who most embodies Jobs’s spirit, the man who designed the products adopted by hundreds of millions the world over: the iPod, iPad, MacBook Air, the iMac G3, and the iPhone. In the wake of his close collaborator’s death, the chief designer wrestled with grief and initially threw himself into his work designing the new Apple headquarters and the Watch before losing his motivation in a company increasingly devoted more to margins than to inspiration.

In many ways, Cook was Ive’s opposite. The product of a small Alabama town, he had risen through the ranks from the supply side of the company. His gift was not the creation of new products. Instead, he had invented countless ways to maximize a margin, squeezing some suppliers, persuading others to build factories the size of cities to churn out more units. He considered inventory evil. He knew how to make subordinates sweat with withering questions.

Jobs selected Cook as his successor, and Cook oversaw a period of tremendous revenue growth that has lifted Apple’s valuation to $2 trillion. He built a commanding business in China and rapidly distinguished himself as a master politician who could forge global alliances and send the world’s stock market into freefall with a single sentence.

Author Tripp Mickle spoke with more than 200 current and former Apple executives, as well as figures key to this period of Apple’s history, including Trump administration officials and fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour while writing After Steve. His research shows the company’s success came at a cost. Apple lost its innovative spirit and has not designed a new category of device in years. Ive’s departure in 2019 marked a culmination in Apple’s shift from a company of innovation to one of operational excellence, and the price is a company that has lost its soul.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Tripp Mickle (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about After Steve

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Disappointing & full of faked fiction

This brings absolutely no new information to the story of Apple. It is a shallow amalgam of publicly known and well publicised Apple facts.
With a lot of annoying freestyle parts that are clearly pure fabrication and stick out as a poor attempt at screenwriting.

The title is misleading.

Many passages dealing with inner feelings and private moments are unbelievable and fabricated fiction and not based on any sources however written in a matter of fact style which at some point completely destroys trust in authors credibility.

This is neither a properly researched corporate biography nor analytical essay with thesis and analysis expected by a misleading title.

Will ask for a refund.

6 people found this helpful

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Worth a Listen

Interesting story, thoroughly reported- most salient point for me - the grandiose nature of Silicon Valley, the belief that your consumer product is “changing the world” when it is really just a way to have a successful company. Similarly - you must marvel at the superficiality of the design group, and their obsession with small details that are unimportant in the world, except maybe for the aesthetics of their private jets.

But the reporting and corporate information is solid and interesting. The narrator disappoints - very professional but sounds robotic, does not add to the production.

3 people found this helpful

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An interesting view but a misleading subtitle

The subtitle of the book positions this as an expose of how Apple has failed to succeed after the death of Jobs. If anything it chronicles how Apple has largely succeeded and continues to somehow create new, innovative products like the Apple Watch. It’s a really interesting story that is more focused on Ive than Cook, which I appreciated.

1 person found this helpful

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Love letter to a Corporation

great story delivered with a big sloppy kiss, a bit to much really. The audio book narrator adds to the surpyness.

1 person found this helpful

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Disrespectful to the listener

The characters in this book are 2-dimensional, making them incomplete and errant predictors of behavior.

Mr. Mickle has an unfortunate and pedantic habit of quoting day-of stock performance following Apple’s big releases. He points out that the stock market and the news media were disappointed following the announcement of the Apple Watch and pointed to no news reporting but stock performance “Apple stock fell 5%… that’s nearly $5b!!!” You’d have to be a nimrod to think that the Apple Watch announcement was a disappointment to anyone. The stock market sells the news; it’s common that stocks fluctuate following product announcements. I would normally excuse this sleight of hand as filler except that the book uses this device at every turn. Apple announces new iPhone, “$APPL falls 2%, major disapproval!” Apple announces climate innovations: "Apple stock fell a whopping 1%, nearly 800,000 million in value wiped off the face of the planet!” Tim Cook wears green: “Apple stock fell with the new wardrobe, and had some wondering, how much father can it fall?!”

Other reviewers are right that most of this book is based on well-publicized information. But some of it, like Tim’s backstory, aren’t often told and I appreciated those moments enough, I guess, but I find myself doubting them when reading into the kremlinology regarding Tim v Jony that, at best, was based on deep background and in reality feels like a tall tale. As with most poor accounts of their relationship, this book paints them as sworn enemies; Mr. Cook being the bad business man and Jony being the innocent lamb. The white Leica story came close to plausibility, but Mr Mickle couldn’t help but throw in something about how Tim was scowling after holding the camera for five minutes. If Tim Cook hated good products so much, why did he join Apple?

The big, masterful conclusion is that Apple is now a services company. That’s a popular Wall Street sentiment, particularly popular during COVID, that doesn’t square with the company’s current financial statements… however, it’s undoubtedly the case that Apple will continue to move into that direction. As with the aforementioned stock analyses (only quoted when Apple is in the red), the book doesn’t offer any context on the broader shifts to subscription, recurring revenue models that are now so popular. Apple is actually pretty behind here on services, which should be red meat for Mr. Mickle, but it’s not convenient enough for the narrative so it is ignored. This is the central premise of the book by the way. And if Tim hates products so much and values profit above all else, why doesn’t Apple just sell all their users data to advertisers? If Jony hates Apple so much, why doesn’t he say so? There’s probably a mental gymnastics answer you could have here, but there’s no need. The characters in this book are 2 dimensional, making them incomplete and errant predictors of behavior.

Will Damron, as usual, is impeccable in his narration.

1 person found this helpful

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No One You Want to Have Lunch With

Although there is nothing newsworthy in the book, it is an interesting reminder of all that Apple has accomplished and how difficult that process has been. But spending time with Cook is like watching paint dry; and the more you read about Ive, the more you think that maybe your next phone should be an Android. These are two guys from whom you do not want to know. Or, unfortunately, about whom to read.

It is mine-boggling that a narrowly-focused utter bore (Cook); and self-obsessed whiner (Ive) can create products as exciting as the iPhone, Apple Watch, etc.

Jonny Ive is just so annoying – he rides in his limo to his private plane to his exclusive party with international rock stars… and complains because Tim Cook does not come into his office every day to suck up to him and tell him he is doing a great job. And if "Lost its Soul" in the title refers to the soulless bore Tim Cooke, they got that part right.

And I thought that Bill Gates was a snore.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic

Highly recommend for anyone who’s grown up from the days of Apple ][‘s two Steve’s with great insight to the Cook years.

1 person found this helpful

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Very interesting, but redundant writing style and some facts just WRONG

Overall, this book was very good and seemed to represent a lot of hard work, extensive interviews, and interesting stories. But, I had a few problems with it. First, some “facts” were simply incorrect. For example, the author said, several times, that Jobs’ father was Iranian. All other sources, including the Isaacson book, other Jobs biographies, magazine articles, interviews, podcasts, and even Wikipedia, say that Jobs’ father was SYRIAN. Where did the author get this “fact” about his Iranian heritage? So then, if such a well known fact was so blatantly incorrect, then how many other “facts” are incorrect? Did the author really even do the research he claims to have done? Next point…why is there so much redundancy in this book?!? At first, it starts out, chapter by chapter, alternating between Jonny Ive and Tim Cook, and the story is presented chronologically. But then in the 2010s, the story gets a little more mixed up and starts to blend both of their stories together, often repeating some points (for dramatic effect??) throughout. Finally, the narrator, while he has an excellent speaking voice, seems to try a little too hard at times to convey emotion in the reading. I almost felt like he was crying during some sadder parts of the story, but that can’t be right, can it?

Anyway, as an Apple and Steve Jobs fanboy, i believe this should be added to everyone’s must-read list of books, and I can’t wait to hear discussions about it on my favorite Apple podcasts (I’m talking to you, Mac Power Users!). But I would certainly like to hear some comments from people “in the know” about how factual this book was and whether or not people agree that with the loss of Jobs and I’ve, Apple has lost its soul. I know Cook and other bean counters don’t have the creative soul to carry the company forward indefinitely, but I have to believe among the thousands working in that spaceship building, there are more than a few very creative individuals who can push this great company to innovate again in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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So I hear Tim Cook didn’t drop by the design department enough

This was an interesting story about the Apple corporation’s very recent history. The one thing I swear must have been repeated ten times was that Tim Cook didn’t drop by the design department to critique designs as often as the late Steve Jobs. It sounds like Jony Ive probably wouldn’t have hated Tim Cook dropping by the design dept. Cook is a very different leader than Jobs, but it sounds as if Cook has navigated some very difficult times effectively (like dealing with the trump craziness) with a level of diplomacy that the late Jobs would have never been able to pull off without losing his cool. I would have loved to have learned even more about Jony Ive, perhaps in another biography.

1 person found this helpful

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Yet another fanboy appreciation book

I tried very hard to get into this title based on the recommendation of a tech journalist I like saying it was an even, well written approach to Apple. I have to disagree with the assessment, it's just the same fawning fanboy style writing about Apple and it's people with unrealistic portrayals and convenient glossing over of facts to make them better than they are.

I wish I had figured it out soon enough to get a refund, but I kept trying to give it chances to get past the hero worship, but it never does. The presentation is just too distorted to not get frustrated with if you don't drink the Apple kool-aid.