Do you really know Tim Cook as well as you THINK you do?

On Sunday, August ­­11, 2011­­, Tim Cook got a call that would change his life. When he picked up the phone, Steve Jobs was on the other end, asking him to come to his home in Palo Alto. When he arrived, Jobs told Cook that he wanted him to take over as CEO of Apple. The plan was for Jobs to step down as CEO, go into semiretirement, and become the chairman of Apple’s board.

As CEO, Tim Cook took Apple to the next lever. Here are a few interesting facts about him!


Cook was a shadowy figure. He’d never appeared in any product videos and had presented at Apple’s product launches on only a few occasions when Jobs was ill. He had given almost no interviews over his career and had been the subject of only a smattering of magazine articles (none of which he participated in). He was largely unknown.

~

Cook had stepped in when Jobs took two leaves of absence, in 2009 and 2011, after his initial pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2003. While Jobs was away, Cook ran Apple as chief executive, overseeing the company’s day- to- day operations.

~

Cook wanted to create a sense of company camaraderie, which was lacking when Jobs was at the helm, so he took to sending more companywide emails, in which he addressed the Apple employees as “Team.” One of his earliest such messages as CEO, in August 2011­­, struck a reassuring tone.

~

Cook’s reputation initially worked against him— he was certainly a master of operations, but many thought him to be a colorless, unimaginative drone. He had none of the charisma and driving personality of his former boss, which was what people had grown to expect from Apple’s CEO.

~

Timothy Donald Cook was born on November ­1, 1960, in Mobile, Alabama, a port city on the Gulf coast and the state’s third- biggest city. He was the second of three sons born to Don and Geraldine Cook. Both of his parents were rural Alabama natives.

~

The Cook family was religious, leading Tim to become religious himself. He has made references to his Christian belief throughout his career.

~

Cook excelled at subjects like algebra, geometry, and trigonometry— anything with an analytical edge. In all six years of middle and high school, he was voted the “most studious,” and in 1978 he earned the second- highest grades of his year, becoming salutatorian of his graduating class.

~

The hatred and discrimination Cook witnessed during his childhood would stick with him throughout his life, influencing the way he acts in life and in business.

~

Cook’s support of marginalized minority groups was influenced too by his experience growing up gay in the South.

~

After graduating from high school in ­, Cook left Robertsdale to attend Auburn University, where he pursued a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering, one of his long- term goals.


Drawing on access with several Apple insiders, Kahney tells the inspiring story of how one man attempted to replace someone irreplaceable, and–through strong, humane leadership, supply chain savvy, and a commitment to his values–succeeded more than anyone had thought possible. Get your copy here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *