Jony Ive book looks good, just lighten up on the marketing

I think the world of Jony Ive. When I heard that Leander Kahney was working on a book about Sir Jonathan, I got excited. But this marketing approach is over the top. Watch the video trailer below. It ends with this line:

Did we give credit to the wrong guy?

Yeesh. Big splash of cold water. The book deserves better than this.



  • huh? deserves better how? looks to me it’s designed for apple enthusiasts — black and white, simple background, simple but classy music, indicators of precision, and a tame hook at the end.

  • The Unknown Citizen

    I thought the last line meant to imply if credit was given to the wrong guy (read Steve Jobs) and not discredit Jony Ive because it categorically says in the beginning that he (Jony Ive) never got any credit for the work…

    • rogifan

      Yes but Kahney’s basically swapping out Jobs with Ive when we know one person alone does not deserve all the credit.

      • Prasad Tiruvalluri

        Actually you are right. Credit should be given to all the designers from whom these guys copied (per Steve). Unfortunately this guy was caught copying when iOS 7 was released. All the previous ones were just not so obvious..

  • CJ

    I don’t read anything by Leander Kahney. I stop at the word “Cult.” I’m not interested in the opinions of a guy who calls Mac users a cult.

    • It’s a joke!

      • CJ

        I’d reply to this, but I didn’t read it. Because, you know, Leander Kahney…

      • Moeskido

        A joke that critics happily take at face value.

  • rogifan

    I read the book (it’s a quick read) and it’s not very good. For one thing there was obviously zero involvement with Ive or Apple. And since very few people have left Ive’s design team basically all the “exclusive” information came from the one person who had left and was willing to talk.

    Basically not a lot of new or insightful information once Ive goes to Apple. Only tidbit I found interesting was that members of the ID team often bring their children to the studio but Ive never does. Which is interesting considering how much influence Ive’s father had on him growing up.

    Ive comes off very well in the book but it seems like that was the authors goal from the start rather than just objectively ending up there. Though considering the low turnover on his ID team (reportedly only 5 people over 15 years and several of them due to deaths) one has to assume he’s well respected within his team.

    I think one of Ive’s biggest legacies at Apple will be the advanced manufacturing techniques they use to build products. I wish the book would have focused on this more. But most of all I wish the book was more of a biography than following the Walter Isaacson model of designing chapters around products.

    • when i read the Jobs bio, i recall it being fairly linear — from his youth to his death. was i reading it wrong?

  • mvcmendes

    “Did we give credit to the wrong guy?” That was a cheap shot.

    • I really don’t think that was meant as a cheap shot. More like a cheap ploy.

  • studuncan

    One thing I learned was how to pronounce his name. In my head, I’ve always rhymed it. As in Johnie Ivie. Or I guess Jony Ivy.

  • Stu Mark

    This is a fine example of why I ignore all marketing (as best I can). As a writer for a well-known company, I was never so repulsed as I was when I’d witness the marketing folks reveal their lack of tact and empathy and sensibility and taste and intellect on a daily basis, as though they were actually proud of their behavior. Ugh.

  • Well, that was cheesy. No one element of the ad was bad, but as a whole, it was trying too hard to ape Ive’s appearance in Apple promotional videos, right down to the accent of the voice-over.

  • They’re leaving you wanting to find out more by….buying the book. How better to do it than with a controversial statement? 🙂

    Many have long mentioned Ive not getting the credit he deserves. Whether he was the genius and Jobs the visionary is beyond my pay grade but it sounds like an interesting book, if they did it right.

    • Blinx182

      John C. Bland II: always playing devil’s advocate.

      • In this case, yeah. I’m not a ‘yes man’ so I just speak my mind. 😉

    • “Many have long mentioned Ive not getting the credit he deserves.”

      Yeah – that knighthood doesn’t mean a damn thing.

      • The knighthood is awesome but perception is reality and non-techies don’t know Jony Ive.

        Jobs is credited with bringing us all of the products and the public knows Jobs.

        • Your reasoning is suspect. If “non-techies” don’t know Ive, why the hell would they care about this book?

          Saying “Ive doesn’t get enough credit” is silly as Jobs himself gave him plenty. Cook gives him plenty. The design industry gives him plenty. The Tech media give him plenty. And, again, he’s shown he doesn’t need or want much of the credit.

          Only Ive can tell you if he gets “the credit he deserves”. It’s certainly not up to Kahney or his offensive marketing people to decide that.

          I’ve spoken to the man – he’s not a credit whore.

          • Who said I believe they should care about this book? I surely didn’t suggest anything of the sort. I also don’t believe he seeks credit. Personally I like his behind-the-scenes approach.

            Congrats on speaking to The Man.

          • Moeskido

            Congrats on abandoning your devil’s advocacy at the bottom of yet another rabbit hole.

          • You try. I really do give you credit for consistency but you keep failing to be relevant with remarks like these in discussions; aside from lame attempts at provoking arguments.

            For your pleasure, here is my response to your troll: In no way did I abandon my original comment.

          • agreed — Ive gets tons of industry accolades. John Q. Public knows Jobs because one of his jobs was to be the public front man for the company.

  • Leander here. I’m with @johncblandii:disqus The trailer was designed to get people talking. TBH, I wasn’t totally comfortable with it, but I was persuaded that this was the “mechanism” that gets people talking. And right or wrong, the folks that made the trailer were right, as evidenced by this post and the comments.

    I certainly don’t want to disparage Steve Jobs. I hold him the highest regard. But in the mass media he’s given all the credit. The mass media thinks Apple is doomed without him. While researching the book, I discovered how much of Apple’s success was due to Jony Ive and his team of designers. What was amazing about Jobs was the system he set up, first for the original iMac, and then the same system produced the iMac, iPod, iPhone and so on.

    Oh, and @rogifan:disqus I talked to a bunch of engineers and other staffers, including some of the executives. No, I didn’t get Jony’s help, but I honestly believe I got better access to the inner workings than anyone else so far. That one designer was a huge coup. He peeled back the curtain like no one has done before. He was at the center of the action the entire time, and had an amazing involvement in all the iconic products. Walter Isaacson’s book about Jobs was a towering achievement, but the one thing a lot of Apple fans complained about was that it was light on the details of how he worked; how he helped develop so many groundbreaking products. And that was why I specifically concentrated on the products and their development. I think ultimately that is what is readers are interested in.

    • Well said sir and thx for the clarity.

    • “But in the mass media he’s given all the credit.”

      Bull. Ive gets plenty of credit. You’re just using that hook to pimp the book.

      And it should be obvious to anyone with more brain cells than a sea slug that Ive DOESN’T SEEK OUT CREDIT.

    • Moeskido

      What Apple fans complained about Isaacson’s book was its light grasp on a technical understanding of Jobs’ work. It was a pleasant biography as long as you weren’t looking at the software or hardware history.

      • perhaps, but to be fair a biography about his life is not going to be a white paper. remember, when Jobs hired Isaacson he said he wanted something for his children to know him better by. going into iterative design process isn’t that.

        for this reason i really enjoyed the bio.

        • Moeskido

          I enjoyed it to the degree that it described the boy who became the man.

          Insofar as the man devoted so much of his waking life to a single company, it’s not difficult to picture a kid wondering what it was that took his or her dad away from home so often. I’m not talking about the “iterative design process.” I’m talking about a decades-long devotion to another figurative family, and to the technology-based decision-making that drove the guy.

          Perhaps the sorts of things Jobs’ children might want to know about him will differ throughout their lives. The cliché about business executives who raise children who don’t know their parents very well is real.

  • Moeskido

    While at the shore a couple of years ago, I found Leander Kahney’s “Inside Steve’s Brain” in a bargain bin and figured I’d give it a few hours of my time.

    It turned out to be sloppy rubbish, written by someone who appears to have been educated within a system that encourages short attention spans. Ideas were presented without development, and later returned to without context. Rumor and hearsay were given almost equal weight with documented facts.

    The one good thing about the book was its bibliography, but that wasn’t enough to make me want to keep it. Ive and his work deserve a better writer than this gossip columnist, and so do we. Steven Levy comes to mind.

    • Arnoud van Houwelingen

      Leander Kahney isn’t a gossip columnist. I find it rather insulting!

      • Moeskido

        Cult of Mac is a rumor mill. Keep those standards high, Arnoud.

  • JDSoCal

    Jony Ive was languishing in anonymity at Apple until Jobs came back and immediately recognized his genius.

    So no, you didn’t give credit to the wrong guy. Marketing douchebags.

    • rogifan

      Robert Brunner deserves to share in the credit. He hired Ive and recommended that Ive should lead the design group when he quit.