In 1972, Steve Jobs left his Silicon Valley home and headed north to a small liberal arts school, Reed College, in Portland, Ore., only to drop out after one semester. Like many teenagers, the 17-year-old Jobs lacked direction.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out,” Jobs said later. “Here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay.”
The courage to leave school—to “follow your heart”—is the first of seven principles outlined by Carmine Gallo in his new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs (McGraw-Hill (MHP), October 2010). Gallo, a communications pro, is the author of the best-seller The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.
Gallo’s new book, however, takes him out of his core marketing expertise and into new ground where clichés help him define something as elusive as innovation. No doubt parents everywhere who fork out thousands for their kid’s college education are shuddering over the first principle.
Gallo revels in the image of Jobs-as-superhero, which somewhat undermines serious analysis of the iconic man’s ability to deliver not what people want but what they will want. Many of Gallo’s other six principles are just as simplistic, such as put a dent in the universe, say no to 1,000 things, and create insanely great experiences. (See below for the list of principles.)
It’s not all bad. Gallo comes closest to his mission in his third principle, kick-start your brain, which, like many chapters covering each principle, is riddled with quotes from Jobs: “Part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, and poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”
One of the recurring themes in The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs is the ability to think differently and openly and constantly question the status quo. In order to do this, one must have enough and varied life experiences—both good and bad—to draw from, according to Gallo.
In the chapter about kick-starting your brain, Gallo cites a Harvard study that found that creative thinking requires the ability to connect vastly different experiences in order to arrive at something wholly new. For instance, Jobs sat in on a calligraphy class at Reed College, and Gallo shows how Jobs would later connect this experience with technology design.
Courtesy of CIO.com