Cover image for Creative selection : inside Apple's design process during the golden age of Steve Jobs / Ken Kocienda.
Creative selection : inside Apple's design process during the golden age of Steve Jobs / Ken Kocienda.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.

Physical Description:
291 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
004.2 KOC Book Adult General Collection

On Order




An insider's account of Apple's creative process during the golden years of Steve Jobs.

Hundreds of millions of people use Apple products every day; several thousand work on Apple's campus in Cupertino, California; but only a handful sit at the drawing board. Creative Selection recounts the life of one of the few who worked behind the scenes, a highly-respected software engineer who worked in the final years of the Steve Jobs era--the Golden Age of Apple.

Ken Kocienda offers an inside look at Apple's creative process. For fifteen years, he was on the ground floor of the company as a specialist, directly responsible for experimenting with novel user interface concepts and writing powerful, easy-to-use software for products including the iPhone, the iPad, and the Safari web browser. His stories explain the symbiotic relationship between software and product development for those who have never dreamed of programming a computer, and reveal whatit was like to work on the cutting edge of technology at one of the world's most admired companies.

Kocienda shares moments of struggle and success, crisis and collaboration, illuminating each with lessons learned over his Apple career. He introduces the essential elements of innovation--inspiration, collaboration, craft, diligence, decisiveness, taste, and empathy--and uses these as a lens through which to understand productive work culture.

An insider's tale of creativity and innovation at Apple, Creative Selection shows readers how a small group of people developed an evolutionary design model, and how they used this methodology to make groundbreaking and intuitive software which countless millions use every day.

Author Notes

Ken Kocienda was a software engineer and designer at Apple for over fifteen years. After graduating from Yale, he fixed motorcycles, worked in the editorial library of a newspaper, taught English in Japan, and made fine art photographs. Eventually, he discovered the internet, taught himself computer programming, and made his way through a succession of dot-com-era startups, before landing at Apple in 2001, where he worked on the software teams that created the Safari web browser, iPhone, iPad, and AppleWatch. Ken lives in San Jose, California with his wife.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Anyone curious about the roots of Apple's status as the first trillion-dollar company would be well advised to pick up this book. Kocienda, former principal engineer of iPhone software for Apple, ably explains the company's development philosophy through a series of vignettes covering the creation of the Safari web browser and the design of the on-screen keyboards for the iPhone and iPad. Starting by listing "seven essential elements to Apple's software success" (including collaboration, decisiveness, and taste), Kocienda immediately cautions the reader that "there weren't any signs affixed to the walls of our Cupertino campus exhorting us to 'Collaborate!' On the contrary, we felt, on an instinctive level, that a fixed methodology might snuff out the innovation we were seeking." This flexible approach, Kocienda shows, was key to the success of Apple's tightly integrated combination of hardware and software. He also emphasizes Steve Jobs's insistence that the company "make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, so that they really fit the users." Kocienda's account of how, painstakingly, this goal was achieved will be of deep interest to software engineers as well as the casual computer buff keen on gaining insight into Apple's unprecedented success. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 The Demop. 7
2 The Crystal Ballp. 39
3 The Black Slabp. 67
4 One Simple Rulep. 91
5 The Hardest Problemp. 113
6 The Keyboard Derbyp. 131
7 Qwertyp. 159
8 Convergencep. 191
9 The Intersectionp. 221
10 At This Pointp. 253
Epiloguep. 263
Acknowledgmentsp. 265
Notesp. 267
Indexp. 279