After Steve – How Apple Became A Trillion-Dollar Company And Lost Its Soul By Tripp Mickle @trippmickle @HarperCollinsUK #Apple #Biography #NonFiction

After Steve

How Apple Became A Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost It’s Soul 

By Tripp Mickle

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have a review about a book that may well interest people who are into their Apple Products or interested in technology or growth of companies and how they change from humble beginnings as well as what happens… I also think it’ll interest UK readers, certainly, who watch series on tv like “How do they (company name) do that and Inside (company name).

Below I have the blurb and my review and a bit about the author. I also thank Harper Collins UK, Non-Fiction for allowing me to review.

Blurb

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 $3 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.


Review

Apple is a company that’s a huge deal in the tech world. Most people own or have owned an Apple product of some description or been an onlooker. It’s a hard company to ignore with its technological advancements and widespread advertising. Even today, with my laptop needing a bit of fixing, I’ve turned to an Apple I-pad, my only Apple product, but a significant one, to use to write this review. As we all know though, there are multiple generations of the Mac, I-phones, I-pads, with major stores in cities, plus online. It’s a global trillion dollar company, and here, the author lifts the lid on it with a number of revelations.

Steve Jobs seemed creative with a vast get up and go attitude and vision, coupled together with that important know how as well (inspiration and vision is after all only part of what you need for anything), that is also hard to ignore.

There are recollections of meetings with Steve Jobs, referred often to Jony in the book, by staff. Steve Jobs, it seems, was well aware of his own mortality and it’s interesting how he looks at other companies such as Disney and Sony and what initially happened to them after the death of their original creators, as well as attempts to solidify his team for its future CEO.

I remember when it was announced in the UK about Steve Job’s death and everyone was shocked, from the tech geeks to the dabblers. The book gives a momentary glimpse into just how big a figure he was.

It’s fascinating being able to read about the staff, not all of it is in a business sense and you get a bit of a feel for their personalities, as well as seeing the ups and downs, some of the conversations had. It shows passion and encouragement as well as tempers and attitudes come to the fore at times. The direction of Apple itself is also interesting, with all the huge personalities and ideas, before and after Steve Jobs died in 2011. It shows the difference between Jobs time and post Jobs and the controversies and politics that followed.

The book’s sub-title is “How Apple Became A Trillion Dollar Company and Lost it’s Soul”. Within the book, you can see how this happened and why that is so apt. It also quickly becomes clear, the amount of substantial research that was done.

Interestingly the book a little goes into 2016 when a shocking incident happened with a gun wielding person getting into a meeting room. It certainly captures attention again, or at least in a way when in a country where that is not any type of norm. It then takes the company to 2019 when business-wise it gets interesting.

The book shows how powerful Steve Jobs was and those who surrounded him became. It shows how technology moved on in droves and the cracks that appeared and a glimpse into how amongst all the glitz and glam of new product launches, it’s still a company that, whilst still powerful, is still having issues to present day, especially 2021. It’s fascinating to read the impact staff taking over in top jobs have after the original founder leaves or in this case dies. Sounds like Apple and probably many others are lucky to still be around, but have increased turbulent times to navigate. The insight the book gives can be profound at times, as well as generally interesting.

It is a book that was better than I thought and piqued my interest in a way I had not expected it to. I was glad to take a punt on this book, even though it’s far from what I’d normally read, but Steve Jobs and Apple and the subsequent CEOs are, as I eluded to, are all around us and hard to ignore, as they all seep even further into the public consciousness, many use their products everyday or most days in some form or another. It feels an honest account of where Apple is and where it’s been heading. It’s surprisingly not all business-like, sometimes it has a raw emotion and other times, reflective. This certainly adds to the readability and accessibility, even if it piques your interest just a little.

About the Author 

Tripp Mickle is a technology reporter for The New York Times covering Apple. He previously covered the company for the Wall Street Journal, where he also wrote about Google and other Silicon Valley giants. He has appeared on CNBC and NPR, and previously worked as a sportswriter. He lives with his wife and German shorthaired pointer in San Francisco.

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#Review by Lou of #Memoir – Over The Hills And Far Away – by Nikky Smedley @StoryNikky @sandstonepress #Autobiography #NonFiction #Teletubbies

Over The Hills And Far Away
My Life as a Teletubby

By Nikky Smedley 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the 1990s, the latest obsession for pre-school children was Teletubbies. I was on work experience in my final years at school, in a nursery and I still remember to this day the majority of children wanted a Teletubby  cake and Tubby Toast for their birthday celebrations. It is to be reincarnated on a streaming channel, but Nikky Smedley, who appeared as herself on the morning news programme – Breakfast recently, talking about its global appeal and reminiscing of the phenomenon, was the original LaaLaa, the yellow Teletubby . I have a review of her fascinating memoir of this time.

Blurb

Say ‘Eh-Oh’ to the performer behind the beloved Teletubby Laa-Laa in this candid and entertaining book.

Lifting the curtain on what it was like to be Laa-Laa and experience the astonishing success of the Teletubbies phenomenon, Nikky Smedley’s enchanting story is warm, affectionate and as lively and funny as the Teletubbies themselves.

Unique in its use of educational theory, child psychology and revolutionary linguistics, Teletubbies achieved global viewing figures of three billion a year. Airing in 120 countries in 45 languages, it was one of the most internationally successful television programmes ever.

Review

Teletubbies as I said, was a global phenomenon as Nikky Smedley recalls. It also turns out, which I think is nice and respectful, that she is to be a consultant for its rebooted version. There were Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, who were these funny characters who lived over the hill and far away.

The book is insightful into what the author is doing now for the reboot, but also in her memories of what it was like to be part of the production and some of the things behind the scenes, such as a certain clause makes for stark reading and makes you feel sorry for the cast of actors. It’s a real eye-opener into what one would assume was something that happened pre-90s.

She reminisces about what it took to get the part and then to be Laa-Laa, to create that character and truly embody her, costume and all on set in the countryside. She lifts the lid on what looks easy and perfect on-screen had its challenges to make it look accomplished. Then she regales the merchandise, of which there was loads.

With the success came extended contracts in 1999, which is when I first heard about it. It had been filmed for 3 years and at the end of the run, more series were wanted, despite some criticism along the way.

There is also an interesting look into life after Teletubbies for Smedley and the others who played the other Teletubbies and what became of them as it all came to an end in 2002.

It’s also interesting what being in Teletubbies meant to her and her lifestyle. The book is so down to earth, with concerns, happiness, sadness that is relatable on some level to people in and out-with show-biz. If you’ve heard of The Teletubbies or watched it in your youth, this is actually worth reading and more so than I originally anticipated.

#Review by Lou of #Memoir – Over The Hills And Far Away – by Nikky Smedley @StoryNikky @sandstonepress #Autobiography #NonFiction #Teletubbies

Over The Hills And Far Away
My Life as a Teletubby

By Nikky Smedley 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the 1990s, the latest obsession for pre-school children was Teletubbies. I was on work experience in my final years at school, in a nursery and I still remember to this day the majority of children wanted a Teletubby  cake and Tubby Toast for their birthday celebrations. It is to be reincarnated on a streaming channel, but Nikky Smedley, who appeared as herself on the morning news programme – Breakfast recently, talking about its global appeal and reminiscing of the phenomenon, was the original LaaLaa, the yellow Teletubby . I have a review of her fascinating memoir of this time.

Blurb

Say ‘Eh-Oh’ to the performer behind the beloved Teletubby Laa-Laa in this candid and entertaining book.

Lifting the curtain on what it was like to be Laa-Laa and experience the astonishing success of the Teletubbies phenomenon, Nikky Smedley’s enchanting story is warm, affectionate and as lively and funny as the Teletubbies themselves.

Unique in its use of educational theory, child psychology and revolutionary linguistics, Teletubbies achieved global viewing figures of three billion a year. Airing in 120 countries in 45 languages, it was one of the most internationally successful television programmes ever.

Review

Teletubbies as I said, was a global phenomenon as Nikky Smedley recalls. It also turns out, which I think is nice and respectful, that she is to be a consultant for its rebooted version. There were Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, who were these funny characters who lived over the hill and far away.

The book is insightful into what the author is doing now for the reboot, but also in her memories of what it was like to be part of the production and some of the things behind the scenes, such as a certain clause makes for stark reading and makes you feel sorry for the cast of actors. It’s a real eye-opener into what one would assume was something that happened pre-90s.

She reminisces about what it took to get the part and then to be Laa-Laa, to create that character and truly embody her, costume and all on set in the countryside. She lifts the lid on what looks easy and perfect on-screen had its challenges to make it look accomplished. Then she regales the merchandise, of which there was loads.

With the success came extended contracts in 1999, which is when I first heard about it. It had been filmed for 3 years and at the end of the run, more series were wanted, despite some criticism along the way.

There is also an interesting look into life after Teletubbies for Smedley and the others who played the other Teletubbies and what became of them as it all came to an end in 2002.

It’s also interesting what being in Teletubbies meant to her and her lifestyle. The book is so down to earth, with concerns, happiness, sadness that is relatable on some level to people in and out-with show-biz. If you’ve heard of The Teletubbies or watched it in your youth, this is actually worth reading and more so than I originally anticipated.

#Review By Lou of Indoor Green – How to care for your houseplants for beginners By Joe Swift @Collins_Ref #IndoorGreen #NonFiction #Hobbies #HousePlants #GardenersWorld

Joe’s Expert Gardening Guide
Create Your Own Indoor Green
How to care for your houseplants
By Joe Swift

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bring a bit of the outdoors, indoors with this new book that has everything you need to know about indoor plants. Joe Swift is well known on our tv screens for Gardener’s World and many other programmes, and books, imparting his garden expertise. In this book, he encourages, even beginners, to create their indoor green space with house plants. Thanks to the publisher, Collins Reference (Collins), I have a review for you.

Blurb

Transform your home with tips from expert gardener Joe Swift.

Indoor plants brighten our homes, connect us with the natural world and improve our physical and mental health. If you want to turn your living space into an Indoor Green haven, expert gardener Joe Swift shows you how with practical, easy-to-follow advice.

Joe’s no-nonsense approach covers everything you need to know from choosing and buying plants to placing them where they’ll be happiest. He then guides you through caring for them including watering, feeding, re-potting, and combatting common plant problems.

In this book Joe covers a vast range of wonderful, varied and exotic plants from all over the world including flowering and foliage plants, palms, succulents, cacti, bonsai and citrus.

He demonstrates how to put them together in impactful and innovative ways whether they’re grown in an old tin can, a classic pot, a glass terrarium, or part of an ambitious interior green wall!

Joe also explains how to propagate plants to save you money, increase your collection and transform your home further into an Indoor Green paradise!

Joe Swift is an author, TV presenter and garden designer. He makes regular appearances on BBC’s Gardener’s World and the RHS Flower Shows.

Review

Creating your own indoor green, using this book as a guide, is not as daunting as it first may seem, even for beginners. It is an easy to follow book with full instructions and tips for various plants. I feel this would be the book to guide people into becoming more confident in growing indoor plants, whatever their space is. It is so well laid-out and with demonstrations to show off your plants in the best possible way and how to get creative with them, in their pots. Whether you consider yourself green-fingered or not, Joe Swift in this book shows that people can learn something new and makes it easy and inspiring to give it a go, with practical advice and solutions for when there is a problem.

It feels like Joe Swift is almost holding your hand and gently easing you in and guiding you through, so it is far from daunting and instead something for a new project/hobby that can become enjoyable very quickly as well as making your home look lovely and being good for your health. It doesn’t need to be expensive either as he demonstrates within the book how to get more plants from one for your buck/money.

This book, even though, aimed at beginners, could also be useful for those who have already started to create a green indoor space because it is also packed full of ideas and there’s always something new that can be learnt.

This is an exciting and wonderful book that I recommend as it really does cover everything you need to know in an easy to follow, easy to understand way.

Life & Death Decisions By Dr. Lachlan McIver @lachlan_mciver @Octopus_Books #RandomTTours #Autobiography #Memoir #LifeAndDeathDecisions

Life & Death Decisions
By Dr. Lachlan McIver 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour of non-fiction book – Life and Death Decisions. A fascinating book about delivering medicine and care in challenging climates and topical subjects, including climate change and over-prescribing antibiotics. It also goes into the human toll too. Find out more in the blurb and my review below.

 

Blurb

Lachlan was sixteen when he found his father dead
 
on the side of a dirt road in North Queensland, Australia. He had suffered a sudden heart attack and died alone. It was this
tragedy that motivated Lachlan to train as a doctor specialising in providing medical care
for people living in remote, resource-deprived locations.
 
Lachlan’s work with the World Health Organization and Me´decins Sans Frontie`res has taken him to some of the world’s most extreme environments from the sinking islands of the Pacific to epidemics and war zones in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
In this no-holds-barred memoir, Lachlan recounts his experiences treating patients ravaged by tropical diseases, managing war wounds with drug-resistant infections, delivering babies by the light of a head torch, dealing with the devastating effects of climate change and narrowly avoiding being kidnapped by militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
Tackling such impossible problems day in and day out inevitably takes a personal toll.
Lachlan is ultimately forced to face his own battles with depression, alcohol abuse and bankruptcy.
 
Life and Death Decisions is a deeply human look at the personal cost of our broken global health system and a vital call to action.
 

Review

Many people are fascinated by medical stories and what’s happening globally. The number of books published and tv documentaries show this and here is another book to add to readers list.
 
This book takes readers to Australia and into the life of Dr. Lachlan McIver. It is pretty well paced and starts with an event and a bit of encouragement that perhaps led to him becoming a medical doctor in the first place.
 
It is interesting reading about the life and death decisions he had to make and all the challenges and obstacles that present themselves from illness, people and environment and the places he goes to. It is also interesting reading about the mental and financial tolls taken on his own life and the drive to continue to survive and to continue to heal others.

The book, in fact covers such a wide range of subjects , all that are well-written and gives great insight into the world through medicine and Lachlan’s journey, but is written in “lay-man’s” terms, so anyone can pick up this book and not be flummoxed by it, instead can learn from it.

 
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#Review By Lou Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse @LoveBooksTours #Memoir #NonFiction #Books #BlogTour

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Women Like Us
By

Amanda Prowse

 

Today I am on the blog tour for the non-fiction book – Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse, where she sheds light and insight into her life, which many women will be able to relate to or understand, perhaps more than they may first expect. Find the blurb and review below. Thanks to Love Book Tours for the invite to review and to Amanda Prowse for sending me a signed copy of her book.

Blurb

Amanda Prowse has built a bestselling career on the lives of fictional women. Now she turns the pen on her own life.

I guess the first question to ask is, what kind of woman am I? Well, you know those women who saunter into a room, immaculately coiffed and primped from head to toe?

If you look behind her, you’ll see me.

From her childhood, where there was no blueprint for success, to building a career as a bestselling novelist against all odds, Amanda Prowse explores what it means to be a woman in a world where popularity, slimness, beauty and youth are currency—and how she overcame all of that to forge her own path to happiness.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side.

One of the most candid memoirs you’re ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible—against the odds—to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success, from a woman who’s done it all, and then some.

Review

This is an interesting and compelling memoir by Amanda Prowse, a prolific author who writes many characters lives, but this time she opens the door as it were, to give insight into her life and one of adversity but also one of successful times too.
She allows readers to delve into a light side of her life and into a darker side.

When trying to break through as a writer, which nearly didn’t happen and into her family life. She is a woman with a love of Duran, Duran, plants, fizzy juice/pop. All in all, she sounds down to earth.

She had a job at 14, which she informs her readers of what that entailed and what was to come next is something pretty dark.

The book is unflinchingly honest at times, but also, surprisingly has an almost upbeat mode to it too as it shows success and love for her family.

It does shows that behind the page is a woman who has a lot of life experience and not always plain-sailing as her son battles depression (there is a very good book about this) and there are the medical conditions to live through, including surgery and more… but still, it just seems honest and as exposing as she wants it to be. It shows a woman who has been through a lot but it is far from a doom and gloom read as life in a way throws a more positive light at times too.