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Apple Looks Even Crazier in New Tell-All Book

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Earlier this month, Fortune Magazine released its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. And Google (GOOG) -- replete with bocce ball courts, bowling alley, gym, pool, and ping pong tables at its sunny Mountain View campus -- topped the list for the third year in a row. Unsurprisingly, with perks that tap into the rambunctious child deep within its staff members, Google's a tough one to beat on jubilant employment.

But conspicuously absent on Fortune's list: Apple (AAPL). While a competitor like Microsoft (MSFT) nabbed a spot for its high pay and organic spa, Cupertino couldn't even crack the top 100 for a company with a pleasant atmosphere.

We were already aware of the stomach-churning tension that filled the air whenever Steve Jobs entered an elevator. And how nerve-racking NDAs and CIA-level security "dissuaded" any type of internal leaks and how Apple goons came down hard whenever something did travel beyond its borders. And how Apple Store geniuses have felt so mistreated that they've threatened to unionize.

But as chilling, bizarre, and covert as Apple sounded before, it's hit a whole new level with Adam Lashinsky's new tell-all book Inside Apple.

Speaking with many former and current members of Apple's flock, the Fortune editor aimed to provide a glimpse behind the curtain. Lashinsky compared Inside Apple to the acclaimed Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, praising the biography. But unlike Isaacson's work, Inside Apple is unauthorized.

"You get what you expect from an authorized biography," Lashinsky told the Washington Post, referring to Isaacson's book. However, he wanted to get the inside dirt at Cupertino. "I quote people by name in the book whom I expect neither Steve Jobs nor Walter Isaacson have even heard of, in addition to a lot of people that they would have heard of."

Lashinsky described the Apple offices as "incredibly demanding," leading to an almost paranoid atmosphere. "It's not a play-oriented workplace. There're no bean bags and lava lamps," he said -- an obvious reference to Google, but also one to Apple's fun-loving animated studio, Pixar.

The author even spins Apple as something of a totalitarian dictatorship, where employees "check [their] ego at the door" and work for "the greater good and glory of Apple." Lanshinsky repeats an internal joke that staffers share with one another: "Everybody on the outside wants in, and everybody on the inside wants out."


Of the many unusual practices performed on-site, Lanshinsky said new employees are routinely given "dummy projects" to see if they can be trusted. Only after they've shown drive, intuition, and -- most importantly -- loyalty will they be signed on to work on actual products. This was confirmed during an interview and Q&A with Lanshinsky at LinkedIn's headquarters.

The interview gives a fascinating peek at Lanshinsky's work and not only confirms our conceptions of Apple's notoriously clandestine operations, it exceeds them. Check out the 50-minute talk below and have your mind blown.

(See also: RIM CEO Backpedals on 'No Change Needed' Claims and iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)

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POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.