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Surprise! Apple's Tim Cook is both scary and caring, says new book

In an excerpt from a new book about Apple after Steve Jobs, little emerges that many hadn't already suspected.

The power of silence? CNET

So much time, effort, and emotion are expended on analyzing everything at Apple that it's a wonder surprises still manage to emerge.

But on hearing that a new book called "Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs" was to emerge, some felt a tinge of excitement.

Written by former Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane, it promised (at least in some imaginations) to reveal secrets of Cupertino life.

An excerpt from the book was published Friday in the Journal and the revelations are few.

If you'd imagined that Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't have quite the same style as Steve Jobs, this excerpt confirms it. He is described as not having "the quasi-religious authority that Jobs had radiated."

He is also described as "arguably a better manager than Jobs."

There are many of the already received wisdoms about Cook being more practical, more pragmatic, more orderly, more disciplined, and more modest.

Thankfully, he is still described as being scary. "He could strike terror in the hearts of his subordinates," says the book. That's a relief. It would be awful if Apple had suddenly turned into a holiday camp for the indolent.

There are levels of scary, however. Jobs, so the legend goes, could make people quake with his temper, insults, and obsession with detail. Cook, on the other hand, apparently describes himself as "The Attila the Hun of inventory." Which sounds all too much like the Rasputin of socks.

Instead of using the rant to communicate displeasure, Cook apparently uses the power of silence -- a silence that is only broken by him opening an energy bar.

He is said to live as ascetic life, with no known close friends, no conversation about his personal life, and a modest style of living. (Yes, his first sports car was a used Boxster. The shame of it.)

There is also evidence of his generosity. He volunteered at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, as well as giving away his air miles as Christmas gifts. He also instituted a charity program at Apple, the lack of which Jobs was criticized for.

It may well be that more shocking, salacious, surprising things might still emerge from this book, due to be published March 18.

From this excerpt, though, it's hard not to conclude that Cook is running what is now a slightly different company from the one Jobs propelled.

In order to do that successfully, he has to think different. This kind of different simply may not be as exciting as the last.