Excerpt From New Book Offers Look at Tim Cook's Management Style

tim_cook_time_photoThe Wall Street Journal today published a new excerpt from former WSJ reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane's new book Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs, offering a new look into the management style of Tim Cook.

Kane notes that when Cook started at Apple in 1998, he set high expectations for everyone working for him, asking them to act like Apple was a $20 billion company when they were a $6 billion company and to procure the best yields, delivery and prices on components.

To some, Cook was a machine; to others, he was riveting. He could strike terror in the hearts of his subordinates, but he could also motivate them to toil from dawn to midnight for just a word of praise.

Cook ran his operations meetings in an orderly and disciplined fashion, going through every item and finding any possible error in meetings that could last up to six hours long. These meetings, according to Kane, could sometimes be terrifying for employees.

Meetings with Cook could be terrifying. He exuded a Zenlike calm and didn't waste words. "Talk about your numbers. Put your spreadsheet up," he'd say as he nursed a Mountain Dew. (Some staffers wondered why he wasn't bouncing off the walls from the caffeine.) When Cook turned the spotlight on someone, he hammered them with questions until he was satisfied. "Why is that?" "What do you mean?" "I don't understand. Why are you not making it clear?" He was known to ask the same exact question 10 times in a row.

Unlike Jobs, Cook apparently used deafening silence when he wasn't happy with something. For instance, the excerpt explains an incident where someone was unable to answer one of Cook's questions so Cook didn't say a word and let the silence fester, causing everyone in the room to stare at the table. The atmosphere of the room would grow to intense levels as Cook kept his eyes on the person who wasn't able to answer until Cook pulled out an energy bar from his pocket to eat as he waited for an answer.

However, once Cook became CEO he made moves to make Apple feel more open internally than it had under Jobs. He opted to communicate with employees more often via emails and town-hall meetings. And, unlike Jobs, who opted to have lunch with Jony Ive, Cook would have lunch at the cafeteria and introduce himself to employees he didn't know and ask to eat with them.

Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs will be published on March 18.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
103 months ago
In that picture, Cook looks like a badass walking away from an explosion without turning back.

Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kingtj Avatar
103 months ago
Yeah, basically ....

I don't find any of these intimidation tactics impressive in the least.

Didn't like the stuff Jobs used to pull (yelling at people, etc.) and don't care for this either.

I mean, look -- the person who can't answer your question satisfactorily in a meeting already gets it; he screwed up. How much productivity is going to happen in the meeting during long periods of awkward silence?

Classic bitch move of a mid-level manager.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dulcimer Avatar
103 months ago
Assuming these stories are true, Cook sounds like a great leader. As clear and directed as Jobs. Of course, he doesn't have the same charisma as Jobs, so all the SJ-loving fanboys on here hate him.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Atlantico Avatar
103 months ago
Assuming these stories are true, Cook sounds like a great leader. As clear and directed as Jobs. Of course, he doesn't have the same charisma as Jobs, so all the SJ-loving fanboys on here hate him.

Quite the contrary, assuming those stories are true, Cook sounds like a terrible leader.

Why ask the same question 10 times? Does Apple hire idiots?

Why treat people with "deafening silence" when he is not pleased with them? A sign of a great leader or communicator?

Why make people "toil from dawn to midnight" just for a praise. Not a raise, a praise.

Why were his meetings with employees often "terrifying" for said employees? Were they incompetent? Does Apple hire incompetent people?

This guy sounds like a lot of douchbags that somehow become executives. Terrible boss.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Catalyx Avatar
103 months ago
Really not much of a shocker. He is more focused on the business side and less on what makes Macs "Macs." Watch the Ballmerization of Apple continue.

Are you implying that Steve Ballmer's strength is business management?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
euphemus Avatar
103 months ago
The atmosphere of the room would grow to intense levels as Cook kept his eyes on the person who wasn't able to answer until Cook pulled out an energy bar from his pocket to eat as he waited for an answer.

Classic bitch move of a mid-level manager.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...