FORTUNE -- Yukari Iwatani Kane has written what is likely to be the most talked-about Apple (AAPL) book of the year.
Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs is scheduled to land on March 18, but the Wall Street Journal, which tied up first serial rights for everything including the Author's Note, began dishing it out on Saturday.
The first chunk, timed to cap off an extraordinarily high-profile week for Apple's low-profile CEO, is a close look at Tim Cook: who he is, where he came from, and how tough a hand he was dealt when he was tapped by Steve Jobs to succeed him.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber found the excerpt "pretty much empty," but that doesn't do justice to Kane's reporting, which takes us deeper into Apple's inner circles than we've been since Jobs died.
On the other hand, I'm not sure Kane's portrait of Cook, based on unnamed sources who all seem to be terrified of him, does him justice. From the far end of the conference table, Cook comes across as part robot and part Attila the Hun:
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...
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.
Cook also knew the power of silence. He could do more with a pause than Jobs ever could with an epithet. 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. Unperturbed, Cook didn't move a finger as he focused his eyes on his squirming target. Sometimes he would take an energy bar from his pocket while he waited for an answer, and the hush would be broken only by the crackling of the wrapper.
Even in Apple's unrelenting culture, Cook's meetings stood out as harsh. On one occasion, a manager from another group who was sitting in was shocked to hear Cook tell an underling, "That number is wrong. Get out of here."
Tells shareholders who oppose Apple's sustainability efforts to "get out of the stock."
FORTUNE -- Of the roomful of investors and journalists who heard Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook lose his southern cool during the Q&A portion of the company's annual stockholders meeting Friday, The Mac Observer's Brian Chaffin tells it best:
[A] self-described conservative think tank was pushing a shareholder proposal that would have required Apple to disclose the costs of its sustainability MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 1, 2014 6:27 AM ET
Cook's hometown paper has unearthed a trove of unflattering yearbook pictures.
FORTUNE -- According to the Mobile Press-Register, Tim Cook played trombone, sold ads for the yearbook, and was the second-best student in his Robertsdale High School graduating class. The valedictorian, Teresa Prochaska Huntsman, works as an application developer analyst in Boise, Idaho.
More photos and bioperse: Tim Cook -- Apple CEO and Robertsdale's favorite sonPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 25, 2014 11:17 AM ET
Could Apple do business in a state that sanctions discrimination against gays?
FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) has confirmed that it urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer over the weekend to veto a bill that would allow business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays and lesbians.
Since the Arizona statehouse passed the measure last Thursday, Gov. Brewer has faced growing pressure to kill the bill that opponents characterize as "state-sanctioned discrimination."
Three state senators MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 25, 2014 8:37 AM ET
Daniel Eran Dilger rips into lazy journalism on the iOS v. Android beat.
FORTUNE -- If you like your pro-Apple agitprop straight -- right out of the bottle, no ice, no water -- Daniel Eran Dilger is your man.
Dilger, if you're not familiar with the byline, is Apple's (AAPL) fiercest defender at AppleInsider, one of the Internet's most prominent Apple news and rumor websites.
He was on a tear Saturday, ripping into the tech MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 16, 2014 7:12 AM ET
He writes in an open letter to Apple shareholders that he sees "no reason to persist."
FORTUNE -- On Monday, four and a half months after Carl Icahn tweeted that he had "pushed hard" for Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook to use his company's entire cash holdings to buy its own "extremely underpriced" shares, Wall Street's most feared and admired corporate-raider-turned-activist-investor backed down.
Icahn's announcement, made in an open letter to Apple MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 10, 2014 10:06 AM ET
Words to remember in advance of the Feb. 28 vote on Carl Icahn's shareholder proposal.
FORTUNE -- It's not exactly on point, but reading Ben Popper's piece on Carl Icahn in the Verge this weekend brought to mind a Steve Jobs Q&A from May 1997 -- a few months after his return to Apple (AAPL) -- when someone asked: "Steve, what do we do about the press?"
Jobs spoke for nearly two minutes before he MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 9, 2014 3:55 PM ET
But his definition of a growth company is not exactly canonical.
FORTUNE -- A growth company, according to Investopedia, is defined as follows:
Any firm whose business generates significant positive cash flows or earnings, which increase at significantly faster rates than the overall economy. A growth company tends to have very profitable reinvestment opportunities for its own retained earnings. Thus, it typically pays little to no dividends to stockholders, opting instead to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 8, 2014 6:40 AM ET
While the Street was dumping Apple, Cook -- and Carl Icahn -- were snapping up shares.
FORTUNE -- Tim Cook's interview in Friday's Wall Street Journal puts the attached Apple (AAPL) stock chart in a new light.
What looked to human day traders and computer algorithms on Jan. 27 like a signal to sell, Cook saw as a buying opportunity.
He was surprised, he told the Journal, that Apple's share price fell 8% after the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 7, 2014 7:56 AM ET
"The whole sensor field," Tim Cook said last spring, "is going to explode."
FORTUNE -- I was reading up on wireless pulse oximetry over the weekend when it occurred to me that we might be looking at Apple's (AAPL) so-called iWatch project from the wrong angle.
Because CEO Tim Cook is a health nut who hits the treadmill every morning, wears a Nike Fuel Band and sits on Nike's (NKE) board of directors, everybody MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 3, 2014 12:11 PM ET
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