New Apple Book on Tim Cook: From ‘Mister Rogers’ to ‘Attila the Hun’

tim cook appleNew details about CEO Tim Cook’s leadership style and personality were revealed in an excerpt from a soon-to-be-released book about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) that was recently published by the Wall Street Journal. The upcoming book by Yukari Kane is titled, Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs and it describes Apple’s corporate culture following the death of legendary CEO Steve Jobs.

In the book excerpt, Cook comes across as a pragmatic and hard-working CEO who is meticulous about every detail of Apple’s business. Cook’s detail-oriented management style appears to mesh perfectly with Apple’s work culture. On the other hand, there are far fewer details about Cook’s personal life. The Apple CEO is intensely private and employees knew very little about him when he assumed control of the company after Jobs’s death.

“The new CEO was a mystery,” wrote Kane in a book excerpt published by the Wall Street Journal. “Some colleagues called him a blank slate. As far as anyone could tell, Cook had no close friends, never socialized and rarely talked about his personal life.”

According to Kane, employees who casually knew Cook perceived him as a kindly “Mister Rogers” character. However, Cook was also a demanding operations chief and referred to himself as the “Attila the Hun of inventory.” He was known for using his naturally calm and quiet demeanor to intimidate employees that he felt were not meeting his exacting standards.

“He could do more with a pause than Jobs ever could with an epithet,” wrote Kane via the Wall Street Journal. “When someone was unable to answer a question, Cook would sit without a word while people stared at the table and shifted in their seats. The silence would be so intense and uncomfortable that everyone in the room wanted to back away.”

However, Kane’s profile of Cook also revealed a person who is as charitable as he is intense. While Jobs considered the creation of jobs through Apple as his contribution to society, Cook is a dedicated philanthropist who instituted a corporate charity program soon after taking the reins at Apple. “My objective — one day — is to totally help others,” said Cook via the Wall Street Journal. “To me, that’s real success, when you can say, ‘I don’t need it anymore. I’m going to do something else.’”

Cook’s penchant for helping those less fortunate was recently made apparent by his reaction to an investor’s question at the annual shareholders meeting. As reported by the MacObserver, a representative from conservative think-tank National Center for Public Policy Research asked Cook if he would be willing to commit to only implementing policies that were profitable to the company. Cook’s response to the question reflected the CEO’s commitment to charitable causes.

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI [return on investment],” said Cook according to MacObserver. “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kane’s book on Apple will be published in full by HarperBusiness on March 18. Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.

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