9 Biggest Takeways from “Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level” Book

Leander Kahney, the author of the bestselling Apple’s key persons book: Inside Steve’s Brain (Steven Jobs) & Jony Ive launched the new book that highlight Tim Cook’s journey who took Apple to the next level innovation. Here are 9 biggest takeways I learned from the way Tim Cook change the way we think about innovation.

1. Don’t Live Someone’s Else Life

It’s obviously difficult to replace one of the most iconic CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, who successfully change the world through his incredible taste of design, art, and technology. Meanwhile, Tim Cook chose not to live under the shadow of Steve Jobs and he successfully brought his own colour to make his own version of innovation which everyone know different from Steve Jobs’s way. Never try to be someone else because becoming the best version of yourself is better than copying someone’s best life.

2. Don’t Waste on Problems that Have Been Solved

Tim Cook decided to leave his comfort zone at Compaq and join Apple for these reason. “Don’t waste time on problems that have been solved, don’t get hung up for what other people say is practical, instead find a spots where the problems that seemed too big, it is in those places you will find your purpose, it’s there where you can make big contribution.” said Tim Cook, in Tulane University Commencement 2019. Tim Cook decided to join Apple because he believe on the bigger values and greater purpose to change the world with technology. Even tough Steve Jobs’s not there, Tim Cook intentionally chose to solve a lot of big problems at Apple.

3. It’s not about Spotlight, It’s about Doing Things Right Consistently

Tim Cook has always been a great Operation Team even under Steve Jobs who intelligently manage operation and distribution of Apple product supplies. Although in Steve Jobs era, many people did not realize it, Tim Cook chose to maintain his quality performance and work. His work might not under innovative spotlight, but his consistency of doing the right things shine in the right time when he lead Apple until now. Life might not appreciate you but don’t give up doing the right things.

4. Keep Trying No Matter What

When Tim Cook first led Apple, he did try a lot of stuff. From hiring to firing, a new approach to problems, supply chain initiatives, outsourcing, Tim Cook never gave up on trying to innovate. Yes, he failed. he was doubted. he made mistake. But, he did not stay in the status quo in the midst of Apple glamorous success and not stop growing and trying. as he said “Life always tell you that it’s better not to try. There is nothing beautiful, more worthwhile than trying.” at Tulane University.

5. Bring Humanity Forward through Equality & Diversity

The biggest of innovation in Apple under Tim Cook might not lies in Apple product but it’s in the way Apple fight for equality and diversity. He championed education initiatives that push the importance of coding education for everyone no matter people’s background. He also made accessibility as important focus to give equal right for people who have special needs to access technology. He also pushed workforce diversity as he believe “the people working on great Apple products are not only engineer and computer scientist, but also artists and musicians. It’s in this intersection of the liberal arts & humanities with technology that makes products that are magical.” Celebrating diversity & equality is the key of incredible team.

6. Sustainability is Now, not the Future

Many people always have a vision of Go Green for the sake of better future. Tim Cook made his love of environment become a huge part of Apple’s Culture and he wants people to know about it. Sustainable solution has successfully made this giant tech company become one of the greenest company who phase out plastics & styrofoam in all of its product packaging in favor of paper, a renewable resources. In April 2018, Apple announced that its facilities around the world were running on 100 percent renewable power which includes all data centers, retai stores, offices, and the giant new Apple Park campus.

7. Privacy is Everyone’s Right

Apple believe privacy is a fundamental human right and Tim Cook believes the how important this value for all Apple products even tough he’s in opposition of the rest of Silicon Valleys. Living in digital ages, where advertising and data collection seems normal, Tim Cook choose to believe in privacy and security of customer’s data. It’s proven through all his products and statement. When you believe something that is fundamentally right, don’t give up and stay silent. Dare to see things in new ways while no one see it. Say it. Do it.

8. Bring Extraordinary Result with Extraordinary Talent

Tim Cook believes music, sport, and media is an important part of our lives and has special place within the heart of Apple. That’s why he decided to bring together extraordinary teams to bring music, sport, and media to the next level. Now as you can see how Apple Music, Apple Watch, soon Apple TV+ & Apple News change the way we learn, listen, and do things. Sometimes many people want extraordinary result without the courage to invest, reward, and appreciate the best people who can do it. So don’t expect the best thing will happen to you unless you invest and appreciate talents/ I love how Tim Cook said to his talented music team and partners, “People like this aren’t born every day. They are very rare. They get music deeply. So we get an infusion in Apple of some great talent.”

9. Never Be Content with the Way that Things as They Are

“Be the last people to accept that the world we inherited today can’t be improved.”said Tim Cook on his Duke’s commencement. Be fearless and restless to challenge the status quo and think different. “Fearlessness means taking the first step, even if you don’t know where it will take you.” From the book, we can see how Apple under Tim Cook reimagine the better ways to do things for the future through the next gen iPhone X, Apple Park, Apple Watch & Healthcare, Project Titan. A lot of exciting things coming if you keep looking so don’t just live for current era, fight for better future!


Steven is a life long learner and multi-award educational technology coach with international certifications from Google, Apple, National Geographic, TED Ed, Google Earth Education, EdTech Team, EduTECH Asia, Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative, US Embassy, Tech in Asia, and many international and local institutions.

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