On the Firing Line

My 500 days at Apple

Gil Amelio, William L. Simon

Publisher: Capstone, 1998, 298 pages

ISBN: 1-900961-98-9

Keywords: Apple

Last modified: Nov. 4, 2008, 10 p.m.

Gil Amelio's hard-hitting and frank account of his life as CEO of Apple Computer begins with this astonishing, never-before-revealed encounter. Five hundred tumultuous days later, Jobs himself would play a prominent role in influencing Apple's board of directors to fire Amelio.

On the Firing Line is Gil Amelio's gripping and fast-paced recollection of what happened, told from his unique perspective as the occupant of Apple's hot seat. This is the revealing story of how a proven high-technology turnaround artist took on the biggest challenge of his career — and perhaps his life.

In his own words, Amelio exposes a company that continually undermines its own best efforts. Amelio gives credit where credit is due. But he also reaches beyond the damning headlines to candidly apportion blame for Apple's failures — even when the person to blame is himself.

On the Firing Line is an entertaining and shocking exposé of corporate folly and a remarkable insight into the enigma that is Apple.

  • Play On
  1. A Winter's Tale — I am Hired
  2. Tight-Fisted Homunculus — My Contract Goes Through Hell and So Do I
  3. Borrowes and Lenders — Solving the Cash Crunch
  4. A Tempest and a Brave New World — Some Bad Times and Good
  5. Measure for Measure — We Hammer Out a Strategy
  6. Tragedy of Errors — My Mistakes Begin to Pile Up
  7. Two Gentlemen in Redmond — I Call on Bill Gates
  8. Done Well If Done Quickly — Shaping My Executive Team
  9. Nerd's Labors Lost and Found — Solid Guidelines for New Products
  10. A Piece of Work — Launching the Quest for a New Operating System
  11. Crack of Doom — Dysfunctional Relationships
  12. Once More to the Breach — More Bad News, and We Compound the Sales Problem
  13. To Be or Not to Be — Whether 'Tis Nobler to Choose Be or NeXT
  14. Much Ado — MacWorlds Lamentable, Laudable, and Laughable
  15. Discontended Winter — A Reorganization I Don't Want But Must Do
  16. A Very Palpable Hit — Steve Jobs Reveals His Hand
  17. A Pound of Flesh — People Who Want a Piece of Apple
  18. Bullets Wrapped in Fire — I am Dismissed
  • Epilogue: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Alas, Poor Apple

Reviews

On the Firing Line

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: Nov. 4, 2008, 12:14 p.m.

Amelio's story about Apple. And you have to give the man credit, as what he did really made a difference at the turn-around that occured after he was ousted by Steve Jobs (and Steve took credit for instead).

All in all, a decent book that describes the tenure of a non-IT (and non-cult follower) CEO in the IT business. Could be written a lot funnier, but you may endure.

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