Both Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg came to Google as seasoned Silicon Valley business executives, but over the course of a decade they came to see the wisdom in Coach John Wooden's observation that 'it's what you learn after you know it all that counts'. As they helped grow Google from a young start-up to a global icon, they relearned everything they knew about management. How Google Works is the sum of those experiences distilled into a fun, easy-to-read primer on corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption.
The authors explain how the confluence of three seismic changes - the internet, mobile, and cloud computing - has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers. The companies that will thrive in this ever-changing landscape will be the ones that create superior products and attract a new breed of multifaceted employees whom the authors dub 'smart creatives'. The management maxims ('Consensus requires dissension', 'Exile knaves but fight for divas', 'Think 10X, not 10%') are illustrated with previously unreported anecdotes from Google's corporate history.
'Back in 2010, Eric and I created an internal class for Google managers,' says Rosenberg. 'The class slides all read 'Google confidential' until an employee suggested we uphold the spirit of openness and share them with the world. This book codifies the recipe for our secret sauce: how Google innovates and how it empowers employees to succeed.'
Data-loving, diva-accepting, knave-hating smart creatives out to save the world and rescue us from the evil incumbents. Ready to hear that again and again? Good, because if there's one message the authors of "How Google Works" actually adhere to, it's that "repetition doesn't spoil the prayer" (even when it does).
For all the talk of pithy, to-the-point meetings, messages, and culture, this book sure is long. A 3-year, 260 page effort that could (and should) have been condensed into a book half its size. Chapters and their included sections feel disjointed and commonly rehash the same topics, only differing in what witty footnotes and CS puns they choose to add for flavor.
The writing feels more patronizing than anything, and at the end of the day I'm not sure I actually learned too much. The authors paint an idealized picture of not only Google, but of this concept of a "smart creative" that's so extreme it borders on absurdity. They exaggerate the core values of the company (e.g. "Don't be evil") to comical proportions, and write as though every single action ever taken by the company has been entirely altruistic. It's pandering, plain and simple. With the recent NSA scandal and omnipresent net-neutrality litigation, it's not enough to say "we're working on self-driving cars, we're the good guys." That's not substance.
When it comes to discussing, well, how Google works, don't expect much beyond surface-level generics. Worse, any mention of an interior struggle/problem is purely perfunctory, intended to tease that coy humility while being quickly dismissed with a tone of "our weakness is our strength" that's so poignant it's impossible to miss the irony.
The book is not without its merits, however. It does a great job describing Google's early years, especially with regard to the impact of Larry Page. The discussion around the interview process is also enlightening, and had me sitting there with a pen and paper trying to reason out one of the commonly-asked riddles. These sections, while great, are just ultimately too sparse.
Google has done some amazing things, there's no discounting that. But the title of this book is "How Google Works," not "Google: We're awesome and here's why." So between the pom-pom waving and pats on the back, I was left trying to connect what substance I could to how I (as a user, Google) perceive the company. Below is an example of that.
In the latter half of the book, the authors discuss the importance of cutting the lifeline on products that aren't working. They allude to an instance where a website moved the front-page location of a failing section to a more prominent position in order to make up for its shortcomings. Makes sense why this is bad, but I couldn't get Google+ out of my mind. From the outset it seems to betray one of their core axioms: get it into the hands of the users ASAP; well, we all know how that private beta turned out. Not only that, but they're now doing exactly what they advised against by making it an integral part of their much more successful Youtube (to many users' distaste). Maybe I'm wrong, but that's exactly what I'd like to hear from the book! Teach me, please! That's why I'm reading your book!
I don't know why I wrote that much, or why I'm this upset. I got the book as a gift and thought I'd learn some cool new things about a company that's made such a huge and often positive impact on our world. It's a shame because there was so much they could have talked about, but instead opted for something just short of a propaganda piece.
Oh, and don't get me started on the substitution of the singular generic pronoun "he" with "she". Using "he" generically does not imply gender in colloquial English, and the switch just comes off as pretentious.
A decent book about Google from it's former CEO and head of product. I am only giving it 3 stars because a lot of it was too vague to be useful or stuff I already knew. However every 5 or 10 pages there was a nugget, or reminder of something I knew but that was good to think about. Also good to see a lot of this all written down in one place. So worthwhile overall, though it did take me a while to plow through.
Eric spent a lot of time talking about product excellence. In todays crowded market, products that are better than the rest are the ones that succeed. Better design, functionality, even speed.
There was also a lot of discussion about how to lead a engineering and product led organization - which is absolutely critical in a technology company. Also discussion how to scale a company and hire smart people. Eric used the prhase "smart creatives" to describe the kind of people who will be successful in a technology company - though I'm not so sure they are such a new breed as he makes out. But anyways: identify smart creative people who like tech. Then find those who have the biggest impact and give them more to do, and lots of autonomy.
The below was another obvious-yet-interesting-to-think about philosophy of Google's. A good question to ask in any new product or feature is always what technical innovation it has.
Other good tips: * keep details about projects people are doing in your phone address book so you can easily look them up anywhere. * Once a year write a self-review and share it with the people you work with. * Clean out your inbox down to 5 emails or less each day. * In a fast paced business the best/only way to get things done is relationships, so pay attention to those. * OKR's and why it's good to stretch yourself, and make them public. * 70/20/10 for resource allocation: 70% on the core business, 20% on emerging, 10% on new. * The way to improve a product is to challenge your smart people. Eg "these ads suck"
How Google Works is an examination of one of Silicon Valley’s tech giants: the company culture, processes and philosophies. I’m a long time user and fan of Google and was curious to check this book out. It was alluring but not groundbreaking.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Talent. There were some interesting points and I enjoyed reading the complex questions interviewers should consider asking instead of the all too common, standard scripted ones we’ve all been subjected to at one point or another.
A decent read if you have an interest in tech companies and business cultures.
There is no one across the globe who does not use this site…Wait ! Strike that out ! Let me rephrase this as : The search engine of Google and its associated products and services are used by a wide variety of people across the globe barring mainland China. The topic of Google in China is now a major case study and not one which this review can hope encompass. The focus is here is on this small yet extremely impressive book about some of the inner workings of Google as viewed by Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric Schmidt. Both of them have been long term Google employees yet still maintained their outsider POV’s. I should tell you upfront that my perspectives on this book are almost solely motivated by what I have seen, heard and experienced around me in the professional environ.
The book is an overview of the business, people management and innovation practices that Google preaches and practices. While we might not really understand how Google 'works’from these pages, we do get to understand how Googlers work and what keeps them ticking in a generic way. Eric and Jonathan touch some of the basic management aspects with reference to running any large corporation in a seamless way which include the company’s way of handling recruitment, performance management, rewards and recognitions and building a vibrant work culture. The key differentiator between Google and any other company in the technology space is the nature of its workforce. In Eric and Jonathan’s lingo, these are called the ‘Smart Creatives’- highly adaptable, intelligent and a dynamic set of people who form the core of the company. Being on a totally different plane of performance, it also tends to be equally important to manage these star performers in the right fashion. Any manager you know will tell you that managing a star performer is a very dicey affair and one you have to put a lot of planning into. So you can imagine what it would be to have a company full of such performers. In the process of hiring and working with such a creative set of people, Google has also given the World a fair share of technology leaders the likes of Kevin Systrom, Marissa Meyer, Sheryl Sandberg , Andy Rubin and Nikesh Arora to name a few. When you have such visionary individuals working for you, them wanting to move on to try something different is exceptionally high.
My personal favorites from this book are two aspects of running operations in a a technology company : recruitment and communication. Most organizations do not have a huge chunk of problems, most problems that they have are the ones they hire. A wrong person in the wrong role will be the death of business as we know it and there are examples galore for this. The companies who have a successful track record put in a lot of focus on the hiring process and this is where Google marks a different path too. They are known for the curveballs thrown at candidates during interviews which check the adaptability factor more than anything else. The checkpoints that the company has established in terms of the interview process and the review mechanisms ensure that the weeding out of the wrong person happens at the fastest possible time. This does not mean that they do not hire the wrong people but that the quantum of such wrong hires is not substantial enough to disrupt the company.
The second aspect of communication is even more important. I am a firm believer of the concept that there is no such thing as over communicating in a corporate environment. The practices that Google employs with regards to getting the leadership team in front of the people and answering questions for them is a practice that can be emulated (it does get emulated in a lot of firms) across a variety of corporate environments. There is no replacement to such dialog when it comes to boosting morale of the employees. Eric and Jonathan highlight the case of Google shutting down operations in China as an example of how a high-impact decision can be communicated well and to high acceptance to the workforce of the company. There are countless other anecdotes and case studies on innovation, rewards and general management scattered through this book.
This said, all the content of this book will need to be taken with a proverbial pinch of salt. Why ? Because it is Google telling us. Not that I hide any negative connotations behind that statement. It is just that a company who is a world leader can afford to do a lot of things that most others cannot afford. Let’s look at an example : If you have a firm that is struggling to meet its financial and revenue targets and is pretty much hobbling along, the first thing that gets flung out of the window is work culture. In a scenario where everyone rolls up their sleeves and enters the trenches for a bloody battle is no place for a highly work culture oriented place. While the example is slightly exaggerated, some of the aspects that the authors talk about here cannot be applied per se to other firms. What is needed is a careful introspection of the points they raise and how they can be tuned to best use in your corporate scenario. If you apply this as is, it will stick out like a sore thumb !
Don't waste your time, Go now, read this book twice - first time will be Aha! and the second time you will be underlining and thinking / assimilating. Give a copy to each of your direct reports irrespective of your industry, if they don't do so like-wise, fire them - there is no need to work with them!
If you are not convinced still, here are 5 reasons. 1. When the CEO of the Best Company to work for (Fortune 2013, 2014) writes about the Google Way of doing things, there must be something profound that we have missed. The message in the book was developed as an internal program for its Directors. They talk about hiring, culture, decision making, innovation etc. The closest that came to sharing on how Google runs, it was In the Plex by Steven Levy. This is 10X. 2. Google has developed & released several products in the last few years (and not released many more). The scalability of their products have been outstanding which means strength in design thinking, automation, user experience, test and releases etc. (Search, GMail, YouTube, Andoid, Maps, etc.). Co-Author Jonathan was the head of Engineering, he realized quickly that traditional product plans will not work, early in his interactions at Google. 3. Leading scientists / researchers with Ph.D's to their credit start as Software Engineers! The kick seems to be great talent attracts more such talented people and ability to work with infrastructure not available anywhere else. This book is about the environment for such talented folks to work & interact. 4. Google' products should already be used by most people in the planet - Android in Mobile, Search, GMail etc. Add to this what we know Glass, Loon for Internet connectivity, Driver-less cars, etc. I have not even listed Ads, which drive nearly all of Google revenues. What drives these smart creators and collaborators to the famed Moon-shot thinking? 5. '10 Things we know to be true' and 'Dont be Evil', while these have been publicized, how they are used everyday internally within the Organization.
A Must-read book equally for the new age employees and employers!
من از اشمیت هیچوقت خوشم نمیومده. و خب این کتاب هم یک ایراد خیلی خیلی بزرگ داره: و اون اینه که چیزهایی که منتج از موفقیت گوگل هستن رو به عنوان عامل موفقیت جا میزنه. فرهنگ دست و دل باز و بریز بپاشون گوگل ناشی از انحصاریه که بر بازار سرچ دارند و سود عجیبی که از اونجا بدست میآرن. در واقع بخش بزرگی از پروداکت هایی که در سراسر کتاب باهاشون فخر فروخته شد سود مستقیمی نزدیک به صفر برای گوگل دارند و حتا به شکل غیر مستقیم هم بود نبودشون چندان اثری بر بیزنس گوگل نداره. تنها عاملی که اجازه میده این محصولات وجود داشته باشند، حاشیه سود و امنیت بزرگیه که گوگل داره.
نکتهی دیگه اینه که اثر شانس هم خیلی دست پایین گرفته شده در کتاب. بخش بزرگی از انحصاری که گوگل بدست آورده بدلیل زمان ورودش به بازار هست که به جز شانس با هیچ عامل دیگهای توجیه نمیشه.
با همه این ها اما در کتاب ایدههای فوق العاده ای وجود داشت (کردیتی به اشمیت نمیرسه به نظرم چون اکثرا خلاقیت موسسان و تیم ها مهندسی بودن) به عنوان مثال در مورد رپید پروتوتایپینگ شاید به مدت یک هفته تحقیق کردم و کلی ایدهی جدید گرفتم. خیلی از فرایند های سازمانی گوگل مخصوصا اونها که کمتر باعث بریز بپاش میشند قابل اجرا در شرکتهایی که خودمون کار میکنیم یا ممکنه تاسیس کنیم هم هستند و از این نظر خوندن کتاب رو توصیه میکنم. خلاصه که مراقب اون چیزی که تو بند اول گفتم باشید حین خوندن کتاب. انجام دادن خیلی از کارهایی که گوگل انجام میده تو شرکتهای کوچیک منجربه ورشکستگی میشه احتمالا.
Книга о Google от генерального директора (CEO) Эрика Шмидта, который долгие годы закладывал вместе с основателями Брином и Пейджем те ценности которые сделали данного интернет гиганта таким крупным, вездесущим и превратили Google в ТОП ИТ-компанию мира.
Another thing that annoyed me was the use of the third person by the authors (or ghost author). There was no I/us in the book, which is not what I expected since most of the anecdotes involve the authors.
Interesting to see how Google handled things in the beginning. They were definitely big on people! Hire quirky, smart, open minded, creative people and let them do their thing, don't micromanage and give them time to research into random things, give them time to themselves to grow.
This book is very corporate-y though, not really for me but it's still neat to learn about.
This book shows how google takes its employee's satisfaction to top the chart by its unbeatable work procedure. Google's concept of work has to a lot to its productivity. When there is something, Google believes in talking to the developer directly rather than making it complicated. The ASL concepts is one of the best method google focuses in keeping the employee engaged. Building a team with number of people who can be fed with just 2 packs of pizza's is something which every organisation should follow as this empowers productivity by killing the time of politicking. Also, if you are good at work, you dont need a managers influence says another concept called HiPPO - Highly paid person's opinion. On the whole, How google works shows how companies should work.
Miss leading title I would say. Am disappointed as I had high expectations.
The book is nothing but general dos and don’ts of any Sofware business like Do everything that you possibly can to get the best people in your organisation (hiring), treat them exceptionally well and make your business a very difficult place to leave, except for few take aways which can be put in 2-3 pages the whole book is disappointing.
Few projects and products of google I came to know which were failure and were not known. Overall average book.
A great story about how the workflow is organized in Google. The main part of the book is devoted to such problems as selecting talented people, building work processes and communication, generating new ideas and creatively solving problems. ---------- Отличная история о том, как устроен рабочий процесс в компании Google. Основная часть книги посвящается таким проблемам, как подбор талантливых людей, построение рабочих процессов и коммуникации, генерации новых идей и творчески решению задач.
This book is neat and insightful in every aspect that tells how you should keep & manage your employees / products and make them grow creative. "2 Pizza team" is a great idea ripped from Amazon - Focusing to keep people in very small team and keep them work together discussing the culture and plans. "Smart Creative" - Transferring the new technology from products to the consumer and this makes your employee to bring more innovative products. Google just make it keeping the money aside."Grow Not Money" and don't follow your competitor just GROW is truly inspiring and paving a way to change innovation to creation. "Hippos are not always right" every employee should be open to default when it comes to communication we have the right to talk or discuss what are in our mind. "Hire a learning machine" - Recruit candidates who is willing to learn more and the great product and ideas comes form learning. This book also explain why Steve Jobs called as "father of innovation" - Steve's attention to detail for creating best innovative products is main key success for Apple and off course optimization is a important ingredient of innovation. 20% of time - collaborate with employees who work in other projects which will bring more innovative ideas. Ad-sense / G mail / Ad-words are the best examples which comes through these kinda ideas. Bottom-line this books tells you how an innovative company works.
I enjoyed this book. I think there are a lot of great takeaways from how Google runs their business. Some of my favorites had to do with interviewing candidates. The way they interview candidates stuck out to me because hiring the right people is absolutely key to having a successful business. Don't settle for a "B" candidate when you should be striving for the "A". I also liked what they had to say about making decisions. You don't get real buy in until all the choices have been discussed and to reach a real consensus, you need dissent. Not everyone should have the same opinion on a matter, if that's the case than you just have people who want to say yes because they believe that's what everyone else wants to hear. Finally, spending 80% of your time on 80% of your business. Exploring other opportunities makes sense too, but don't forget about what got you all this way.
Fajn knižka, ktorá dáva overview o tom ako bývalý CEO Googlu vidí fungovanie svojej firmy. Kniha je zameraná hlavne na manažérov a začínajúcich podnikateľov. Nachádza sa v nej využiteľných rád. No myslím, že by sa určite dala napísať na menej ako 300 strán. Takisto ma troška štvalo písanie v osobe Ghostwritera, kedže tam bolo veľa interných jokes, ktoré človek moc nevie kam zaradiť :D
Before reading the book, I have always been fascinated about the fact how google works and this book answers all. Was astonished to hear the basic prototype and the working model of Google glass was done within 90 mins. This shows how the smart creatives work. And another important take away is Hippo's aren't always right, and as an employee you should be able to rise your voice on your suggestion. And in Google Hippo's believe in the fact that their employees are right, so as we do here! 20% time to work on the projects you are interested in, is a great way for employees to pursue their thoughts. And the fact, Google Culture Institute was developed in 20% time. Ship and iterate,ship higher quality by limiting functionalities to the users and impress them, and give them functionalities later after the product established. This is one idea, that everyone has to follow, instead of working on many functionalities and holding it on our hand, let us ship to the users and see how it goes and iterate to add the functionalities. One good example they have is Chrome.
I've been a pretty big fan of Eric Schmidt for a while and have watched a lot of his talks - so in spite of this being familiar, this was still an excellent read.
I particularly enjoyed/learned from the parts where he talked about rating performance, organizing around goals and how those goals are data/number based. Probably the most concise explanation of 20% Time that I've read or listened to (even from previous talks he's given). Even portions that contradicted my own biases (home v. office, work-life balance), I found some pretty good gems to think about as far as how our organization functions.
I've heard him the 'smart creative' in past talks, but without context it's often reeked of elitism to me; however, at least as described in this book, it seems what they're talking about in wanting smart creatives are people that are willing to develop, learn and grow (he even referenced Carol Dweck at one point, which made me happy).
A must read book for everyone in an organisation and a great book for the HR bunch. I started reading this book with no interest but now I am in awe cos the kind of culture that Google exhibits is wonderful. Hire the best people. Give them extraordinary pay if they possess extraordinary talent. Pay should not be based on experience but should be based on talent. Everyone should be involved in recruiting not just the HR. Never put a B in yo hiring people and soon you will have only Bs Cs and Ds. While making big decisions, have everyone involved who matters and have a big shot of the company to judge the outcome. I also love the how they took on with the computer giants - Microsoft. That's the kind of attitude everyone should possess and that's why Google is what it is now. Give freedom to the best people and they will deliver the best.
Have you ever talked to someone with one kid who now knows everything about parenting? "Here's the secret to getting your baby to sleep through the night!" "Oh, your child is having tantrums? Just do x -- that will stop the tantrums right there!" That's how this book read: "We did x and it was a huge success! All companies should do x!" Never mind that different companies (and kids) have different needs and motivations and environments -- one size fits all really isn't a great approach.
I have always been a fan of Google and its products. Being able to see how the world best company works was extremely intersting and beneficial. I thought it would only be about Google itself, but the book is practical and gives direct solutions. The products stories they mentioned made the book inspiring and enjoyable. I would rarely read books that none of my friends read and reviewed, but it was listed as one of 2014 best books. If you are starting a company, this book should be the first in your list. If you would like to join Google, this book would make you want that even more.
It was a good and amusing read with some geeky humor interspersed along with raw wisdom.
But like many other books (mostly motivational and self help ones) reader should beware of the survivorship bias! This is how Google works, described as clearly and directly as possible, but this is not necessarily how Google turned into a billion(?) dollar company. Many other dead companies have had few or most of such traits but didn't succeed!
That's one fat ad for Google, that's devoid of anything new, and is full of stories and facts about Google only someone who has lived in a cave in the past decade wouldn't have known. Its value would come in a few decades as a historical account of how Google works, or to be precise, how the authors want others to know how it works!
Uno más de los muchos testimonios de "Cómo logramos ser tremendamente exitosos, pero está difícil que nos copies" que se publican año tras año. En este caso, la lectura resulta interesante por quién se trata, pues confirma mucho de lo que aparece en la red, como las fotos de sus oficinas y sus costumbres corporativas excéntricas. Entretenido sí que lo es; práctico... no estoy seguro.
An essential read for everyone who uses Google ;) No really. I think there's something quite special in a book where ex-CEO of the company has written it. In general, a big part of this book is an overlook to how Google did business and what kind of people and products did they have. Still, there are many interesting little facts that I found appealing.