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I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  3,014 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
Comparing Google to an ordinary business is like comparing a rocket to an Edsel. No academic analysis or bystander’s account can capture it. Now Doug Edwards, Employee Number 59, offers the first inside view of Google, giving readers a chance to fully experience the bizarre mix of camaraderie and competition at this phenomenal company. Edwards, Google’s first director of m ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2011)
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In the Plex by Steven LevyI'm Feeling Lucky by Douglas EdwardsHow Google Tests Software by James A. WhittakerThe Googlization of Everything by Siva VaidhyanathanAre You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone
Books About Google
2nd out of 17 books — 17 voters
Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonHackers by Steven LevyGhost in the Wires by Kevin D. MitnickThe Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford StollSteve Jobs by J.T. Owens
Silicon Valley
57th out of 180 books — 364 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Todd N
Jun 28, 2011 Todd N rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I've been eagerly waiting for this book after reading about it on the ex-Googler mailing list and reading similar stories on the Xoogler blog.

I only met Mr. Edwards once during my 6 or so years at Google. It was at the end of my first week, when I was introduced along with the rest of the "Nooglers" at that week's TGIF. This was the first week that Google had the Nooglers wear beanies with propellors on them, so he ran over at the end of the meeting to see what we all thought about wearing them.
Mark Rice
Feb 14, 2012 Mark Rice rated it really liked it
If you were entranced watching the stratospheric rise of Google from fringe search engine to one of the largest economies on Earth, you'll enjoy many happy hours immersed in the pages of I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59. If you appreciate Google's dogged insistence on creating a search engine that actually works (rather than simply looking flashy), this book will resonate with you. If you consider the term 'computer nerd' a compliment rather than a put-down, you'll ...more
Amy L. Campbell
Note: Review copy provided via Netgalley.

I am going to assume that a few of the things I will mention in my review have been fixed. However, given the expedited publishing schedule (one of the downsides of epublishing, I suppose), I kind of doubt it.

First off, I'm going to fix the subtitle. "I'm Feeling Lucky: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My Marketing Mojo and Let the Engineers Experiment." There we go, much more salacious and it even better depicts the contents of the book... which i
Oct 10, 2011 Nicolemauerman rated it liked it
A couple of months ago I finished the book Malled and wasn’t a huge fan. I just hated reading a book where a woman complained about her job the whole time. I was a little hesitant to read I Am Feeling Lucky because I didn’t want the same experience. I found I was pleasantly surprised. Edwards writes about his time spent as the brand manager for the new start-up Google. Basically a bunch of kids running a company who hate marketing, making Edward’s job really tough and stressful. One thought coul ...more
Sep 20, 2014 Joodith rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Everyone who has a computer knows what Google is. I use it at least once a day, and as a regular user I've often wondered how they got started, what and who, came first, how it was all put together and by whom etc. Because of this curiosity I chose to read and review what I hoped would be a light, interesting, informative and amusing tale, especially given the blurb about the book. I can only assume Mr Edwards marketing skills are better than his writing skills (not that it's badly written; it i ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
I think you might need to be at least a little interested in computers in order to enjoy what this book has to offer. It is the story of the first 5 years of told from the perspective of employee no 59 – Douglas Edwards. A fascinating story it is too. I’m sure, like me, barely a day passes without seeking some help and guidance from Google – mostly these days though with irritation, as it rarely seems to bring me what I really want.

The story is told from the perspective of ‘the voice
Brian Reed
Oct 06, 2016 Brian Reed rated it really liked it
This is an interesting read especially with the detailed insight on the inside view of Google from one of its earliest employee. The book gives a clear view of Google’s culture of creativity and innovation from the very beginning. It is important to note that the book is more of a historical background story of Google based on a real life experience. This book is fit for any age as its theme revolves around showing people how one of the biggest organizations in the world was improved from a gara ...more
Jul 19, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
Fascinating! In the tech world, Google has always had an air of mystery about it, and this insider's view of the company in the early years reveals some of the secrets. It isn't a strategic business manual, but rather a memoir of the happenings of the first few years of the Silicon Valley powerhouse. The author was Google's first director of marketing, so his perspective is interesting, since so much of the company is focused around engineering and product development and NOT marketing. A primar ...more
May 24, 2015 Nikolay rated it really liked it
The early Google story from the point of view of one of their first marketing people. I remember three key points:

* high pressure for performance, often not sustainable for long periods of time for mortals
* an organization built around outstanding engineering is totally different than one built around other values, some trade-offs started showing in recent years
* a ton of luck, even though they earned most of it; they would've been successful otherwise, too, just an order of magnitude less

Rogue Reader
Apr 06, 2014 Rogue Reader rated it it was amazing
Shelves: digital
Douglas Edwards is Google Employee Number 59, and I'm Feeling Lucky is the story of his six years at the new startup. He was brought in because of his journalism background, to help shape Google's user interface and communications strategy.

Edwards is older than most Googlers, more organized and more experienced. During those early days he worked hard to bring some order to the chaos, some method to the mad genius that Page and Brin wrought. Towards the end of his six year term, Edwards was marg
Bill Nelson
Mar 01, 2015 Bill Nelson rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with Google’s products over 10 years ago but never knew the story behind the story – that is until I read this book. Doug Edwards was one of Google’s earliest employees and reveals an insight into the every day life of a mega-startup. Told from the perspective of someone in marketing made this an easy to read, yet informative look into one of the world’s largest technology companies – before they became the giant they are today.

I could relate to Doug’s situation in moving from a w
Mar 26, 2016 EagerLearner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book entails the rise of Google from a small company having 50 employees to the launch of its IPO in 2004. The Author who was also known as the "Voice of Google" within the company because of his poweress with words has written a completely engrossing, captivating account. It is laced with humor and rich vocabulary (atleast I got to know some new words).

The prose is fluid and the book is unput-downable. You're thrilled by reading the untraditional style of working of Google, their wacky and
Feb 28, 2013 Lain rated it liked it
Really enjoyed this sneak peek behind the scenes at Google. I lived through this era in Silicon Valley, so it was fun to see what was really going on at the Googleplex. There were also some good lessons for a growing entrepreneur like me. I took several pages of notes to use for my business plans.
Jul 11, 2016 Caleb rated it it was ok
Just okay memoir by an early Google employee. It's a good read in seeing the challenges of exponential growth within a company and showing what can be done by intensely bright people committed to working insane hours. The writing quality itself is a big miss. Too many chapters rely on weak cliffhangers and the general tone didn't resonate with me. Parts were also inside baseball in terms of discussing the mechanics of search. Perhaps a techie would have known this but I didn't immediately unders ...more
Dec 06, 2013 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved this book!

A very interesting inside look at the early growth of Google.

I particularly appreciate Doug's perspective as he transitions from a traditional business culture to Google's very nontraditional corporate culture.
Nov 23, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it
This was a really fun read that gave a vivid description of what life was like inside Google in the time prior to going public. Great description of the evolution of the advertising models that drove Google's growth.
Ulf Valentin
Sep 01, 2013 Ulf Valentin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Es fängt sehr spannend an und es macht Spaß sich die Google-Welt genauer an zu schauen. Leider wiederholt sich der Autor nach der Hälfte nur noch und es nervt. Habe das Buch nach 3/4 weggelegt - das passiert selten.
Jun 13, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
I'm not quite sure how to rate this as I have mixed feelings about it. However in the end I'm glad I read it and I enjoyed it so I'll go for 4 stars even though it probably doesn't quite deserve it. I really did enjoy getting a glimpse at the early days of Google and I found the author likeable and engaging. My problem is that book read like the author read through his old email and interviewed a bunch of his old co-workers and then wrote down the combination of that and whatever he could rememb ...more
Anna Masrud
Oct 12, 2014 Anna Masrud rated it really liked it
I had the pleasure of choosing this book to read for a school assignment. Google has been a primary use in my day-to-day life; I've known about it since my teenage years (right around the time Yahoo Search declined in popularity). In fact, I assume everyone knows about Google in some way, shape, or form. From apps on phones and the basic search function to Google Translate, Google Maps, and Google Documents, Google is a widely-used source of tracking down information on the Internet. So of cours ...more
Oct 11, 2014 Topher rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In Aaron Swartz's review of this book, he makes an excellent point: to paraphrase, "I can't believe he got all of this out of the interviews he did, especially since there were google minders there the whole time". I think he was one of many people, a group I'm about to join, who state that Edwards did a great job of explaining just what it'd be like in a startup for the common person. He was not a tech, and is not a tech, but worked in one of the biggest and most successful startups.

Rocky Sunico
Jan 20, 2016 Rocky Sunico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing read both as an insider's view of the early years of Google as a company but also as a narrative of a marketer's continued efforts to build and develop a brand. Douglas Edwards is a master wordsmith whose account is more than just a factual dictation of events but is a colorful tale that is amusing, entertaining and as lively as the same text that he wrote for Google's various pages.

Douglas truly is the voice of Google in more ways than one and it was a pleasure to "hear" him
Gareth Otton
Nov 22, 2014 Gareth Otton rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, technology
This book is the first book I have read about the early years of Google and as expected from a company that has done so much in so little time, it is a truly interesting read. Google's impossible growth from obscurity to one of the largest companies ever created was never going to be dull and this book which chronicles its early years certainly proves that.

One of the things that Google is famous for is the way it treats its staff and its approach to its work. The Google offices have been infamou
Wow, this was a LONG one. I listened to it on audio and it was over 16 hours; it's a good thing that the narrator was good or I would have given up on it long ago.

I liked the story overall, but there was nothing astounding about it. This told the story from the perspective of the author, who was a marketing employee at Google. I get the trials of being a non-engineer in an engineering company, as I have been in that situation before. There were many sections that I found extremely interesting, s
May 18, 2011 D.w. rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I like books on the tech industry, with a historical perspective of how a company is formed and really starts. I have read a great deal, of these and so snagged a copy of Douglas Edwards book through Amazon Vine's program when it was offered.

Where do I start in this review is also probably a question Mr. Edwards should have thought about himself when he started to write this book. Do be fair, he starts with his hiring at Google and his motivation, and even has a timeline in the back of the book
Simon Lipson
Aug 22, 2012 Simon Lipson rated it it was amazing
Douglas Edwards was a by-the-book steady-Eddie marketing guy who took a punt on a small start-up dotcom company run by two idealistic geniuses. Larry Page and Sergey Brin believed internet search had to be relevant, fast and accurate, none of which qualities, they believed, were offered by the search engines of the late 1990s. So, armed only with their unique search algorithm, they set up Google and built a company employing the hottest, youngest, most prolifically gifted tech engineers in the c ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Jim rated it it was ok
Most marketeers manage to hide a mass of insecurities about their profession behind a slick sheen of pretence that they are the strategic heart of any business. Fundamentally, is Apple primarily a fantastic hardware company supported by good branding, or a fantastic brand supported by good hardware? The debate will rage forever, and won't be solved by reading this book. The suspicion is that most great brands built themselves on the back of a quality reputation - Nike, Sony, Coke, Disney - and c ...more
Maya Panika
Jul 21, 2011 Maya Panika rated it liked it
This is a fine, detailed, solidly crafted, if a little unexciting, account of what it was like to be in at the start of the Google phenomenon.

I admit my feelings were coloured by the fact that this is not the book I expected to read. From the cover blurb, I anticipated an amusing, satirical romp through the "Google Experience", something more along the lines of Mike Daisey's '21 Dog Years'. This is definitely not that.

I'm Feeling Lucky is an intermittently funny, sometimes very funny, factual a
Jul 14, 2011 Sheila rated it it was amazing
The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 is a more personal and intimate account of what happened as Google ascended to the top of the Search business. The book, entitled I'm Feeling Lucky by Douglas Edwards is entertaining, insightful and educational in ways I didn't expect.
There are a lot of books out now about Google that are a bit more analytical in nature and though there are bits of analysis discussions here and there throughout this book the author's voice and tale is more about his
Sky Thibedeau
Feb 22, 2012 Sky Thibedeau rated it liked it
Douglas Edwards was employee number 59 at a little silicon valley startup called Google. Doug was a traditional marketing guy who had worked for the San Jose Mercury News who decided to get involved in an Internet Startup.

He was surprised when he showed up for his interview and Google co founder Sergy Brin who showed up wearing Roller Hockey gear. Douglas knew right away that this was not your normal staid business model.

Douglas found that the marketing of 'Search' is totally different than that
Feb 24, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it
I usually like reading books based on major internet trends. Oddly, this book was too old for my general liking. Look how fast we are now moving when something around 10 years old is considered out of date! This story is written by someone who used to work for Google, back when it was first starting. Maybe I didn't care too much because I didn't start using google until I got Gmail and oddly, that really kicked in after this employee left. Gmail was "invented" around 2004 and this employee left ...more
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From 1999 to 2005 I was director of consumer marketing and brand management for Google. Before that I was online brand manager for the San Jose Mercury News, communications director for KQED FM in San Francisco, an ad agency copywriter, an admission officer for Brown University, and the Novosibirsk correspondent for the public radio program Marketplace. During that last gig, I got involved in a dr ...more
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“In search," Urs (Hölzle) believed, "the discussion was really, How can we outdistance our current system and make it look laughable? That's the best definition of success: if a new system comes out and everyone says, 'Wow, I can't believe we put up with that old thing because it was so primitive and limited compared to this.” 1 likes
“Google hires really bright, insecure people and then applies sufficient pressure that no matter how hard they work, they're never able to consider themselves successful. Look at all the kids in my group who work absurd hours and still feel they're not keeping up with everyone else.” 0 likes
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