Leander Kahney — Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level

La couverture ne fait pas le livre : Tim Cook occupe toute la jaquette, mais n’apparait qu’épisodiquement au cours de l’ouvrage. Tim Cook n’est pas un livre sur « le génie qui a fait franchir une nouvelle étape à Apple », mais une anthologie des déclarations publiques du CEO d’Apple, entrecoupées de coupures de presse et d’avis d’experts. Autrement dit, Leander Kahney s’adresse aux gens qui n’ont pas entendu parler d’Apple pendant les huit dernières années… et ne liront donc pas ce livre.

Oh, c’est suffisamment rare pour être remarqué, Kahney a pu s’entretenir avec quatre dirigeants d’Apple. Mais ces interviews sont d’une vacuité affligeante, et il manque la plus importante, celle de Tim Cook lui-même. Après 200 et quelques pages, on sait comment Apple a changé depuis la mort de Steve Jobs, mais pas vraiment pourquoi. S’il cite abondamment les interventions très policées de Tim Cook, Kahney n’a pas cherché plus loin : « while researching this book, I didn’t pry into his personal life at all. »

« So Cook was already largely the CEO when Jobs was around, and continued in the same role after he passed », dit-il pour conclure : « and Cook is well suited to running Apple in ways that Jobs was not. » J’attends avec impatience son prochain livre, qui expliquera que l’eau mouille. Voilà encore un ouvrage conçu pour illustrer un propos écrit d’avance avec des exemples de troisième main — le problème des livres « sur Apple ».


Les débuts de Tim Cook :

At Auburn, he would learn many of the skills that would help him throughout his career. He learned how to program. For one class, he created a system to improve the timing of traffic lights near the university. “I tried to optimize traffic because at that point in time stop lights were set on timers,” he explained. “I wanted to come up with a way to reduce the queues so people didn’t have to wait as long, whilst keeping the environment safe.” His system apparently worked so well that the local police adopted it. “That was pretty cool at the time–and it worked. Law enforcement implemented it,” he said. These days, though, he’s lost some of his coding ability. Now he jokes that his coding skills are “not bad,” but “there are many, many people in Apple who are better than I am.”

Le passage le plus intéressant du livre :

“I remember when Steve was interviewing Tim because he was coming back and telling us amazing things about operations that he was clearly learning from his interviews with Tim,” Joswiak told me in an interview at Apple Park. “And so he was having literally an impact on us and some of the operational thinking that happened before he was hired.”

Plus convenu, tu meurs :

Health is obviously very important to Cook, a lifelong fitness fanatic, and under his watch Apple was soon to make its biggest push into health and wellness yet.

Les deux seuls passages vaguement critiques dans ce qui s’apparente sinon à un panégyrique :

But Maldonado raises a good point. Apple isn’t very diverse, especially at the upper levels, and the board’s answer was a disingenuous cop-out. Apple has pushed the issue under the rug. As Maldonado says, the company should have an accelerated recruitment policy–at all levels, and especially the top–because change isn’t happening fast enough.

When I visited the Park in March 2018 for a series of executive interviews, I found the building impressive but sterile. Like many of Apple’s big retail stores, the building itself is imposing, but the uniformity of wood and stone makes it lifeless. Everything inside is built to the same specification–all the tables, chairs, stools, and coffee bars are the same. All the work pods have the same layout and office furniture. It’s uniform on a gigantic scale, and there’s nothing quirky or human about it. It’s a giant, perfect cathedral of concrete and glass: exacting in every detail but devoid of humanity.

Tiens, les RP d’Apple sont donc capables de « fournir une assistance précieuse » ?1 Je retire ce que j’ai dit, j’ai bien appris quelque chose en lisant ce bouquin :

I’m very grateful to Steve Dowling and Fred Sainz from Apple PR, who provided invaluable help and assistance. I also need to thank the Apple executives who agreed to talk with me about Apple and Tim Cook: Greg Joswiak, Lisa Jackson, Deidre O’Brien, and Bruce Sewell, as well as a couple of others who asked to remain anonymous.


  1. J’exagère. Ce n’est pas (toujours) de leur faute.
Couverture du livre Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level