Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: How Google Works

What was life like before Google again, I asked myself when I sat down to read Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg's new book How Google Works (Grand Central). As I read through it, I realized just how many Google services I use. This blog runs on the company's Blogger, as does its feed manager, Feedburner. I search via Google, use the Chrome browser despite having Safari built into my Mac, use Gmail and once briefly flirted with the idea of having an Android smartphone, but thankfully, the iPhone became available on Verizon and that was that. The point is, so much of our lives has been impacted by the company that started out as a search engine with the colorful logo (does anybody even remember the early internet search days of Excite? AltaVista?)

There has been some debate and consternation online from early reviewers who were disappointed by the title, assuming it was about how Google compiles its search results or how the company came up with systems like Google Maps. I will emphasize that How Google Works is about how Google is managed and would be right at home in the business book section. Where the book excelled is explaining strategies of what makes Google successful. The sections on the company's "Don't be evil" mantra and the breakdown of the "smart creative" were particularly useful. As someone who works in a more creative industry, I read the sections that involved how to manage creatives with keen interest.

The book is a solid addition to the business book canon and does peel back the curtain slightly on the inner-workings of the Silicon Valley giant.

Rating: 3/5 stars. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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