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Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity

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Ken Segall, bestselling author of Insanely Simple shows how any company can leverage the power of simplicity--based on exclusive insights from business leaders around the world   In Insanely Simple, Segall showed how Steve Jobs' love of simplicity propelled Apple from near-bankruptcy to the world's most valuable company. Now he explores how other companies, in a range of ind Ken Segall, bestselling author of Insanely Simple shows how any company can leverage the power of simplicity--based on exclusive insights from business leaders around the world   In Insanely Simple, Segall showed how Steve Jobs' love of simplicity propelled Apple from near-bankruptcy to the world's most valuable company. Now he explores how other companies, in a range of industries, all over the world, are simplifying their way to success--providing real-life examples that can inspire others to do the same.   Segall's interviews with leaders from more than forty diverse companies demonstrate the power of simplicity on multiple levels. Readers will discover:   ·How South Korea's second biggest credit card company, Hyundai Card, used the power of simplicity to turn around a business losing two billion dollars a year. ·How Australia's biggest telecom, Telstra, tapped the power of simplicity to reverse a severe drop in customer satisfaction ratings and stock price. ·How a simple concept drove the architecture, location, hiring, and record-setting global success of the retail Apple Stores. ·How adherence to a simple mission helped propel StubHub to create a consumer revolution. ·How The Blue Man Group used the principles of simplicity to grow from a local street act to a multinational creative network. ·How Ben & Jerry's, Whole Foods, and Charles Schwab embraced the principles of simplicity to create their own success stories.   Segall distills the philosophies and methods of all these successful companies into nine useful chapters, each of which explores a key component of simplicity--Mission, Culture, Leadership, Brand, Scale, Streamlining, Team, Love, and Instinct. The combined insights of Segall and accomplished business leaders help readers create a roadmap to simplicity of their own.


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Ken Segall, bestselling author of Insanely Simple shows how any company can leverage the power of simplicity--based on exclusive insights from business leaders around the world   In Insanely Simple, Segall showed how Steve Jobs' love of simplicity propelled Apple from near-bankruptcy to the world's most valuable company. Now he explores how other companies, in a range of ind Ken Segall, bestselling author of Insanely Simple shows how any company can leverage the power of simplicity--based on exclusive insights from business leaders around the world   In Insanely Simple, Segall showed how Steve Jobs' love of simplicity propelled Apple from near-bankruptcy to the world's most valuable company. Now he explores how other companies, in a range of industries, all over the world, are simplifying their way to success--providing real-life examples that can inspire others to do the same.   Segall's interviews with leaders from more than forty diverse companies demonstrate the power of simplicity on multiple levels. Readers will discover:   ·How South Korea's second biggest credit card company, Hyundai Card, used the power of simplicity to turn around a business losing two billion dollars a year. ·How Australia's biggest telecom, Telstra, tapped the power of simplicity to reverse a severe drop in customer satisfaction ratings and stock price. ·How a simple concept drove the architecture, location, hiring, and record-setting global success of the retail Apple Stores. ·How adherence to a simple mission helped propel StubHub to create a consumer revolution. ·How The Blue Man Group used the principles of simplicity to grow from a local street act to a multinational creative network. ·How Ben & Jerry's, Whole Foods, and Charles Schwab embraced the principles of simplicity to create their own success stories.   Segall distills the philosophies and methods of all these successful companies into nine useful chapters, each of which explores a key component of simplicity--Mission, Culture, Leadership, Brand, Scale, Streamlining, Team, Love, and Instinct. The combined insights of Segall and accomplished business leaders help readers create a roadmap to simplicity of their own.

30 review for Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity

  1. 5 out of 5

    CD

    Full disclosure: I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. I will start by saying that this is not necessarily a bad book, just an unnecessary one. The insights provided in the book, which may be useful to someone seeking this information, are not new insights, nor are they explored in any depth. The author is drawing upon his experience working with Apple, and with specifically Steve Jobs, to present lessons learned in the art/craft of business leadership. He then uses other companies as examples Full disclosure: I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. I will start by saying that this is not necessarily a bad book, just an unnecessary one. The insights provided in the book, which may be useful to someone seeking this information, are not new insights, nor are they explored in any depth. The author is drawing upon his experience working with Apple, and with specifically Steve Jobs, to present lessons learned in the art/craft of business leadership. He then uses other companies as examples of the principles that he is trying to demonstrate. This framework sounds like a good idea, but I found that the execution failed. First, the author is obviously a successful individual on his own-- why the continued need to reference Apple and Jobs? In the beginning of the book, it's an interesting approach, but as he repeats the Apple citations, it become tedious and feels as if he is capitalizing on someone else's accomplishments. Second, he has obviously done the work in talking with other business leaders and their approach to leadership. However, the way he brings up the examples of other leaders is odd. If I were setting out to write a book that encapsulated the the general idea of simplicity of other leaders, I would try to take use each chapter to focus on ONE aspect of leadership and then use ONE example in each chapter. I understand that each leader, in his or her own attempt to simplify an aspect of business does multiple things well and likely would be appropriate to reference in multiple chapters, but this muddies the message. Finally, for a book that preaches simplicity, I found that the information presented was unnecessarily complicated. That is, at the end of several chapters, I had to look back at the beginning of the chapter to remember what the point was supposed to be. I think that that author could have really streamlined his approach to make sure that his message was delivered clearly. As I mentioned that the beginning of this review, the book may have value to some readers, but the ideas presented within it are not new ones. In fact, it would not surprise me to hear that some of the topics presented in a single chapter are more fully fleshed out in entire books in the business literature world. The decisions that the author made in organizing the information and presenting it only made it more convoluted, which is not a quality I was looking for in a book about simplicity. Ultimately, I found that the book was hard to follow at times and never interesting enough to keep me engaged.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    This wasn't a bad book. I thought the concept was fascinating, and the examples given were quite diverse. While it did start to sound like a commercial for Apple on quite a few occasions (especially at the beginning...seriously, I got to the point where I wanted to scream every time I saw Steve Jobs mentioned...), there were enough companies introduced that eventually a more complete picture started to form. Unfortunately, the book ended up being rather repetitive and even a tad rambling at time This wasn't a bad book. I thought the concept was fascinating, and the examples given were quite diverse. While it did start to sound like a commercial for Apple on quite a few occasions (especially at the beginning...seriously, I got to the point where I wanted to scream every time I saw Steve Jobs mentioned...), there were enough companies introduced that eventually a more complete picture started to form. Unfortunately, the book ended up being rather repetitive and even a tad rambling at times, which distracted from, well, the simplicity of the topic. That being said, there was some good information in the book, and it certainly told me about a few companies for which I'd love to work! I won as ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway, but all opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John

    If there was a book that proves the adage "Keep it simple", this is it. Ken Segall shares his diverse marketing experience with those willing to heed it on the importance of simplicity in everything (from purpose, communication, to leadership). Simplicity will leads to high chances of successes, breakthroughs, innovation, amongst other key business indicators, and Segall lewdly explains why, through his past successes, and also the interviews with fellow game changers. Most of the book relies heav If there was a book that proves the adage "Keep it simple", this is it. Ken Segall shares his diverse marketing experience with those willing to heed it on the importance of simplicity in everything (from purpose, communication, to leadership). Simplicity will leads to high chances of successes, breakthroughs, innovation, amongst other key business indicators, and Segall lewdly explains why, through his past successes, and also the interviews with fellow game changers. Most of the book relies heavily on private industry lead practices; those seeking academic validation might find themselves lacking in this department. Highly recommended for those seeking inspiration from the past that is still relevant in the future. Highly recommended for all communicators, whom have forgotten the value of simplicity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rafa Willisch

    Probably there wasn't enough material about simplicity to fill the number of pages required by the publisher so they decided to add names (mainly Steve Jobs) to probe the point. Many of the examples of success mentioned in the book are related to simplification, but that is pure semantics as in many of those cases simplification was really down sizing not to make simpler but too make smaller and profitable. Probably there wasn't enough material about simplicity to fill the number of pages required by the publisher so they decided to add names (mainly Steve Jobs) to probe the point. Many of the examples of success mentioned in the book are related to simplification, but that is pure semantics as in many of those cases simplification was really down sizing not to make simpler but too make smaller and profitable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Iman Shabani

    This is worth only one (short) read if you ask me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    Segall gives us multiple case studies through this book of businesses that are start-ups right through to very large and old Companies, and how they have to work to keep things simplified and the benefits that gives. I found the different case studies quite interesting, and it was a nice change to have some Australian examples given too. I do agree with some other reviews that the structure of the book was not simple and could have used some work. It also felt a little heavy in the Apple/Steve Jo Segall gives us multiple case studies through this book of businesses that are start-ups right through to very large and old Companies, and how they have to work to keep things simplified and the benefits that gives. I found the different case studies quite interesting, and it was a nice change to have some Australian examples given too. I do agree with some other reviews that the structure of the book was not simple and could have used some work. It also felt a little heavy in the Apple/Steve Jobs department. As fascinating as his time at Apple was, I think far too much of this book was given to it. Overall an interesting book, but not one that will leave you with any clear steps of what action you can take. Segall describes it as a "roadmap to a roadmap" so I guess you can read this to get inspired and get ideas and then go elsewhere to determine how to implement.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Business & management books that are worthwhile are difficult to write. The potential pitfalls are: it's boring, it's impractical, there's minimal actionable information, or there's minimal new content or perspective. "Think Simple" avoids all of these pitfalls IF you are among the right audience: a manager who is trying to create or improve a business process. As a reader who is not squarely in that group, I found the book to be not quite as compelling, hence the 3 stars. Basically, Segall cover Business & management books that are worthwhile are difficult to write. The potential pitfalls are: it's boring, it's impractical, there's minimal actionable information, or there's minimal new content or perspective. "Think Simple" avoids all of these pitfalls IF you are among the right audience: a manager who is trying to create or improve a business process. As a reader who is not squarely in that group, I found the book to be not quite as compelling, hence the 3 stars. Basically, Segall covers the concept of simplicity from numerous angles with plenty of real-life examples from successful business leaders. I really liked the final chapter which presents an action plan for putting the lessons of the book into practice. Not all of the advice here will be practical or useful for every business. You have to pick and choose to fit your own situation. And depending on your current business philosophy, you may find that you already buy into some or many of the concepts Segall presents. Even so, I like the way Segall has organized the book. I think most managers will find value here.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Treyten Carey

    I wrote a review last year, but it seems to have been deleted. I'm not sure how reviews get deleted, whether by Goodreads or by the author. Nonetheless, I don't recommend this book. It was great towards the beginning, when the author talked about how some companies thought processes work. But from the middle of the book beyond, the author talks about Apple like they're some God-almighty company who has never done anything wrong and will always be amazing. There's a clear bias from Ken, almost li I wrote a review last year, but it seems to have been deleted. I'm not sure how reviews get deleted, whether by Goodreads or by the author. Nonetheless, I don't recommend this book. It was great towards the beginning, when the author talked about how some companies thought processes work. But from the middle of the book beyond, the author talks about Apple like they're some God-almighty company who has never done anything wrong and will always be amazing. There's a clear bias from Ken, almost like he's trying to persuade you into buying Apple products, rather than how companies (plural, not just Apple) keep things simplistic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    There is some good food for thought here but overall I found it a bit repetitive and in one instance contradictory. As an actuary, I had to disagree with him about the usefulness of data. Perhaps in some sectors sales are all that matter, but in others, mine included, it's imperative to ensure those sales are profitable. If you're looking for the next great idea, this is not it. If you're looking for something to spark thoughtful discussion, this might work. There is some good food for thought here but overall I found it a bit repetitive and in one instance contradictory. As an actuary, I had to disagree with him about the usefulness of data. Perhaps in some sectors sales are all that matter, but in others, mine included, it's imperative to ensure those sales are profitable. If you're looking for the next great idea, this is not it. If you're looking for something to spark thoughtful discussion, this might work.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    Should have been titled, My Lord and Savior is Steve Jobs. Yes, he was a visionary and an influential leader, but the book should have been written according to its title! Ironic considering that the simple guidelines were so long-winded; Segall could have written this book in a less verbose and succinct way. For anyone wanting to read this book, I suggest skipping to the summaries in the back.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James Barr

    Not much here that I have not already read. If you have never read a book on simplifying the inter workings of a business, this isn't too bad. If you especially like to read about the culture of Apple, you might like this book. Not much here that I have not already read. If you have never read a book on simplifying the inter workings of a business, this isn't too bad. If you especially like to read about the culture of Apple, you might like this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Frans Kamffer

    A good look at how businesses should simplify and the proven results from real life businesses. What I appreciated, is that it the author has taken the time to also elaborate on unsuccessful strategies. Solid principles but not as easy as just implementing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Lots of truth in this book - a bit too heavy with examples from Apple and Jobs - but still superbly insightful and thoughtful.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Austin White

    Goog example of other companies applying this strategy. Some repetition of points and examples

  15. 4 out of 5

    QUINNS

    The author believes that people naturally gravitate towards simplicity over complexity. To simplify things, however, takes work. A company’s leadership could help drive simplicity by adopting a hands-on, intuitive approach. Moreover, a strong brand helps unify and simplify a business, no matter how disparate its parts seem. Simplicity could inspire love and loyalty, thus gaining trust and popularity amongst the public.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    I'm definitely not the audience for this book because I'm a small business that wants to remain small, and not a big business looking to simplify. That said, I was interested in lots of stories (which he primed in the beginning of the book) and what I got was love letter to Steve Jobs with like 5 other companies mentioned. Open to a random page and you'll probably see his name or "Apple." I'm definitely not the audience for this book because I'm a small business that wants to remain small, and not a big business looking to simplify. That said, I was interested in lots of stories (which he primed in the beginning of the book) and what I got was love letter to Steve Jobs with like 5 other companies mentioned. Open to a random page and you'll probably see his name or "Apple."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cikko Cikko

    good stories how successful companies make things simple (at least) in the eye of it's customers and stay focus on what matter. there is no surprising knowledge in this book as all business leader and companies always aim for simplicity, but it's quite refreshing to let you know how great leaders did it and how you should those kind of mindset. good stories how successful companies make things simple (at least) in the eye of it's customers and stay focus on what matter. there is no surprising knowledge in this book as all business leader and companies always aim for simplicity, but it's quite refreshing to let you know how great leaders did it and how you should those kind of mindset.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toshi

    Lots of examples on simplicity in business process, organization, decision making, branding, etc lead to success. Simplicity is free to everybody and does not require business degree. Why we cannot do this at all?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Interesting and useful for sure. The concept is solid and inspiring - i guess I feel it could have been told in half the time. Everything after the 4 hour mark seemed a constant repeat. Can recommend the first half of the book ;)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abayomi Agboola

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This would rank as one of the best books I ever read. Made simplicity sound easy. Very credible mentions of leaders who have been there done that. The "flow" of the book as which simplicity looks to achieve was top notch as well. This would rank as one of the best books I ever read. Made simplicity sound easy. Very credible mentions of leaders who have been there done that. The "flow" of the book as which simplicity looks to achieve was top notch as well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dalibor Jenik

    Really liked this one

  22. 4 out of 5

    Martin Danko

    I'm amazed but many great thought shared in this book. So... simple :) I'm amazed but many great thought shared in this book. So... simple :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    Great stories in here and examples of others making things simple. The last chapter he spells out clearly some things to try as you want to make it simple for your company.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vinodh Menon

    The word 'Simplicity' is repeated 1,000 times but it drives the point home. "Keep it simple" - Anthony Joshua He didn't write the book by the way but that quote sums up the book perfectly. The word 'Simplicity' is repeated 1,000 times but it drives the point home. "Keep it simple" - Anthony Joshua He didn't write the book by the way but that quote sums up the book perfectly.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Goh Jiayin

    I like it that there are lots of different stories on how to think simple.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Ferreira

    Wasn't expecting so many references to Apple and Steve Jobs. Besides that, you can find here some good insights about simplifying complex organisations. Wasn't expecting so many references to Apple and Steve Jobs. Besides that, you can find here some good insights about simplifying complex organisations.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melis Ertuğrul

    The Apple's story. we can witness the success of passion The Apple's story. we can witness the success of passion

  28. 4 out of 5

    Synthia Salomon

    Simplify your life. Cut out 24/7 news. Focus on things you are good at.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex Stender

    Need to read again, too hard to get away from complexity! :-)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nanania Wangare

    so useless. such shallow insights.

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