Working my way through The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo.  And “working” is really not the right word.  Much like he did with The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Gallo does a great job of fleshing out each secret with an anecdote or two from Jobs’ amazing story.  The book is full of great stories, both from Jobs’ life and the lives of other notables, that illustrate the principle.

Gallo has identified 7 secrets or principles that are essential to Jobs’ innovative track record.  If you’re at all familiar with Jobs’ career at Apple and Pixar, you’ll recognize many of the secrets right away:

  • Do What You Love
  • Put a Dent in the Universe
  • Kick Start Your Brain
  • Sell Dreams, Not Products
  • Say No to 1,000 Things
  • Create Inanely Great Experiences
  • Master the Message

Each of the secrets is illustrated with a one-two punch of chapters; the first, fine tuning the principle, the second, laying out some practical takeaways about how to apply the principle.  For example, principle #3 is Kick Start Your Brain.  The two chapters supporting it are Seek Out New Experiences and Think Differently About How You Think.

Seek New Experiences cites examples of Jobs’ track record of “bombarding the brain with new experiences.”  He studied calligraphy, spent time in a commune, visited India, and hired musicians, artists, poets and historians.  Gallo makes the point that “some of Jobs’ most creative insights are the direct result of seeking out novel experiences either in physical locations or among people with whom he chose to associate (p. 89).”

Think Differently about How You Think points out “five skills that separate true innovators from the rest of us”:

  • Associating: Innovators seek out diverse experiences
  • Questioning: Innovators get a kick out of questioning the status quo
  • Experimenting: Successful innovators engage in “active” experimentation
  • Networking: Innovators surround themselves with interesting people who expand their domain of knowledge
  • Observing: Innovators watch people carefully, especially the behavior of potential customers

Each of the application chapters conclude with a short list of “iLessons,” practical steps that you can take to implement the principle.

I have to say, although I find the stories fascinating and thoroughly engaging, it’s the practical application that has the greatest potential for me.  I’ve read many books on innovation.  This is one that goes beyond biography, beyond what the innovator did, and identifies a little bit of a path.

If you’re a student of innovation…The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs ought to be on your reading list.

Review: The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs