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

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,434 ratings  ·  223 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. WhittakerAre You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William PoundstoneThe Googlization of Everything by Siva Vaidhyanathan
Books About Google
2nd out of 14 books — 10 voters
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Killer Rabbit
Google vs Legoland
Freshly minted college grads are currently choosing where to start their careers. Employee #59 makes Google sound like a fun place to work. But then again, The Lego Movie makes Legoland seem like an awesome alternative. Here's a short quiz to help you pick the best fit for you:

1) What is the best slogan?
a. "Don't be evil." (Unfortunately, according to employee #59, it's just a slogan. Google is AOK with minor evils like censorship, so long as it is for a good cause, such as exp...more
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...more
Todd Nemet
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....more
Nicolemauerman
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
Michael
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 Google.com 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...more
Joodith
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
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...more
Lain
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.
Ron
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.
Karen
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
Jami
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...more
D.w.
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...more
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...more
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
Jim
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...more
Readersentertainment
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...more
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...more
Rebecca
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
Mike
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...more
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
Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Herve
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
Ariadna73
To read my review in Spanish; click here: http://lunairereadings.blogspot.com/2...
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...more
Ken
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...more
Lord Nouda
4.5 Stars.

I'm Feeling Lucky' is the story of the marketing director who led the charge to humanize what was otherwise a faceless search company that eventually grew to become the foremost industry leader. Google as perceived by the public, with its oft-repeated mantra; 'Don't Be Evil' was due to the effort of one man, who strived to shape user perception through sheer word of mouth, partly because the Google Founders Larry and Sergey were too cheap to spend millions on marketing firms and partl...more
Deirdre
I got an advanced reading copy. I was giddy, like a kid in a candy store. I read it. ON MY VACATION. I loved it.

Okay, the serious review.

Doug Edwards gives a thorough overview of what it was like in the early days of Google, his acclimation and assimilation into all things "Googley," giving witness and words to Google's rise, covering epic events in our lives, and sharing funny asides that make the book worth every minute.

I enjoyed the personal accounts of the April Fools pages(and only confirm...more
Cornmaven
This is a fascinating memoir of someone who worked at Google for 5 years, in its early days. Full disclosure first: I love using Google, like Picasa, Gmail, YouTube (some of it), and other Google products. So imagine my dismay to find at the end of reading this that I am pretty much ashamed to support this company.

Edwards' description of Google's founders had me searching for words: immature, schizophrenic, lazy, disingenuous, paranoid (one that Edwards often uses when talking about Larry Page),...more
Matt
Dilemma: Do I normalize the number of stars I give my reviews over all genres? How does a really interesting book on Google compare with A Tale of Two Cities? The answer is obvious. It doesn't. So my four stars is in the context of the business and technologies "shelves" (tags) I've applied.

Douglas Edwards provided an interesting and fun read through the Googleplex from it's infancy to adolescence (IPO). Edwards is candid, clear and works hard at being objective even with the people and decisio...more
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4325674
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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Google-Mitarbeiter Nr. 59: Der erste Insider-Bericht aus dem Weltkonzern Properties Starting a Web Design Business Cowboy Religion Properties

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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
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