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

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,025 ratings  ·  244 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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I'm Feeling Lucky by Douglas EdwardsIn the Plex by Steven LevyHow Google Tests Software by James A. WhittakerThe Googlization of Everything by Siva VaidhyanathanAre You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone
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1st out of 16 books — 13 voters
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63rd out of 155 books — 255 voters

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Mark Rice
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
Todd N
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.
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
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
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
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

Ashland Mystery Oregon
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.

Gareth Otton
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
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
Hans de Zwart
This is a very very long description of the first five year's of Google existence from the perspective of a non-engineer. Some reviewers seemed to think this was a hilarious book, but it never really made me laugh. What do I take away at the end of it:
- Larry and Sergey are quite visionary and love doing things differently than others.
- Google is quintessentially American and thus would be a very hard place to work for most people with more European sensibilities (ouch, what a gross over-genera
Simon Lipson
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
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
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
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
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
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
This book gets 5 stars because it's such a great story, covering Google from the time it hired its 59th employee (the author) in 1999 until its IPO in 2005, when the author, then wealthy, quit. What makes the story so engaging is that the author is not an engineer, he's a marketing type.

Here's a little snippet from the book showing what he is up against:

--start of snippet--
"I have a good idea," [Google founder] Sergey informed Susan Wojcicki a couple of weeks after I started. "Why don't we take
Russell Atkinson
This appears to be the most authentic, or perhaps the only, insider account of the creation and rise of Google. That alone makes it worth reading. The author write well enough, but much of the content is only of interest to engineers, financial analysts, or journalists whose jobs are directly or at least tangentially related to Google or the Silicon Valley scene. He spent more time than I would have liked on the personalities and small fiefdom battles. For those of us not in the business it is d ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I thought this might be just another book about Google. It is not. The lessons are amazing. And here are examples. A first illustration comes from a conversation between Douglas and Larry Page: “I realize that more often than not you’ve been right about things. I feel like I’m learning a lot and I appreciate your patience as I go through that process.” […] “More often than not?” [Larry] asked me. “When were we ever wrong?” he didn’t smile as he asked his question or arch an eyebrow to signify an ...more
To read my review in Spanish; click here:
Working for Google is rewarding; but not near as romantic as it sounds. It sucks the life out of its employees and makes them feel guilty for not giving even more. People there work typically between sixteen and eighteen hours a day; they do not have weekends; they sure have free lunch and dinner; and at some point they also had free massages. They have endless milk; naked juice; cereal; etc. But Google expects mor
My daughter started using Google before I did. I was using Yahoo to search the internet.

I asked her what it was she liked about Google. She showed it to me and said she liked

the simplicity and the speed.

Google Employee Number 59 was Douglas Edwards. In this book, I learn that he wasn't the typical Googler. He was a Marketer and he got hired by a company that didn't use marketing. He had a family and worked at a place with a lot of young single college grads. The founders of Google would hire
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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
“Great food also had the ability to attract great talent. "I don't know what to do," senior engineer Luiz Barroso moaned to Jeff Dean the night he had to decide whether to join VMWare or Google. "I've made these lists. I've assigned points to all the pros and cons, and it's tied at 112 to 112." Jeff knew that the day of Luiz's interview at Google, Charlie had served creme brulee for lunch. "Did you factor in the creme brulee?" he asked. "Because I know you really like creme brulee." "Oh no! I didn't consider that," Luiz admitted. The next morning he accepted Google's offer.” 0 likes
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