How Google Works

  • by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle
  • Narrated by Holter Graham, Jonathan Rosenberg
  • 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg came to Google over a decade ago as proven technology executives. At the time, the company was already well-known for doing things differently, reflecting the visionary - and frequently contrarian - principles of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. If Eric and Jonathan were going to succeed, they realized they would have to relearn everything they thought they knew about management and business.
Today, Google is a global icon that regularly pushes the boundaries of innovation in a variety of fields. How Google Works is an entertaining, pause-resistant primer containing lessons that Eric and Jonathan learned as they helped build the company. The authors explain how technology has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers, and that the only way to succeed in this ever-changing landscape is to create superior products and attract a new breed of multifaceted employees whom Eric and Jonathan dub "smart creatives". Covering topics including corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption, the authors illustrate management maxims ("Consensus requires dissension", "Exile knaves but fight for divas", "Think 10X, not 10%") with numerous insider anecdotes from Google's history, many of which are shared here for the first time.
In an era when everything is speeding up, the best way for businesses to succeed is to attract smart-creative people and give them an environment where they can thrive at scale. How Google Works explains how to do just that.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Painfully ignorant

What disappointed you about How Google Works?

When Internet users think of Google they typically associate the label 'search engine' with the company. But that does not classify Google as a corporation. With almost all of Google's revenue deriving from placing ad copy on its search result pages and third party websites (Pay-Per-Click (PPC)), Google Inc. is without a doubt an advertising company. The combined revenues Google receives from non-advertising products would likely not sustain Google's workforce of currently 52,000 employees for more than a few weeks or finance money-loosing experiments such as self-driving cars.

Google solely works on PPC. Take that away and there is no Google.


Has How Google Works turned you off from other books in this genre?

The book was surprisingly unorganized. More painfully though was the apparent ignorance of the authors. Or maybe they are just disingenuous.

Google also did not invent Pay-Per-Click (PPC) as the authors insinuate over and over again. The patent to PPC belongs to Yahoo who acquired it when it bought Overture. After getting sued for patent right infringements in 2004 Google paid Yahoo 2.7Million shares of common stock in addition to 5.5Million shares Yahoo already owned.


How could the performance have been better?

Just be honest. - Google is largely responsible for the degradation of the world wide web to the Commercial Web.


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How Google Works?

All but that last couple of sentences.


Any additional comments?

Google claims that its mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful. At first look this seems to be a valuable goal. However, it is important to keep in mind that this mission is subordinate to the primary goal of any company which is to increase the wealth of its owners (shareholders) by paying dividends and/or causing the stock price to increase. Plagued by this paradigm Google Inc. adapted a business model in form of the AdWords and AdSense advertising programs that in its consequence led to the development of an entirely new industry: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which in its various forms – such as content farms – has caused an explosion of digital content that is essentially marketing copy disguised as information. In short: Google consequently organizes mostly the world’s ad copy rather than the world’s information. It is hence an utterly failed attempt to effectively organize information. Unless the search giant is willing to radically change its business model there seems no way out of the corner the company painted itself into.

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- kameir "Kameir"

Beautiful yet a lot of bragging and inflated ego

The book is wow. It has so many tips and useful ideas. Also, it will explain Google's philosophy about things people don't really understand and MIS interpret such as all the free coffee, food and snacks. Also, one can understand different team sizes setup and what worked with them. Plus, organizing 1:1s and coaching CEOs. If you are opening your own business, this book is an inspirational.

Few things are annoying in the book:
*) toooo long and can easily be shortened.
*) a lot of bragging about values they claim to have such as "be no evil" and other idealistic values they don't fulfill. We know they work with NSA, so please spear the irony. Also, they make you feel that the company has no goals to collect money and increase wealth and hide it behind things like changing the world.
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- Wael "Curious, love philosophy, reading, polictics, social and Islam. فضولي ، أحب الفلسفة ، القراءة ، السياسة ، علوم الاجتماع ، والاسلام ex-Microsoft, ex-KFUPM (SWE)."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-23-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio