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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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,355 ratings  ·  314 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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Todd N
Jun 28, 2011 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
Jul 11, 2011 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
Apr 16, 2014 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
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun look at the early years of Google. Very informative, but it took me a while to get used to the memoir style.
Jun 18, 2011 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
Oct 10, 2011 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
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sharon Orlopp
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book about Google during their startup years! Douglas Edwards is an incredible writer as he takes readers on the wild startup roller coaster ride!

Fantastic leadership lessons, insights on hiring the best engineering talent, cultural norms, and being phenomenally resourceful.

Strongly recommend!
Dec 19, 2014 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

Nov 23, 2011 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. ...more
Feb 28, 2013 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 03, 2013 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.
Chouba Nabil
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When product lacks behind competition, that’s when branding becomes useful

Someone join from Oracle : asking is ok to implement standards and not reinvent le wheel, Sergey absolutely not, we want to be completely different: optimise, best work place, function over forms.

You need to stop worrying about future obstacles, and should figure-out how get things done.

Debates are done only if they are backed with numbers.

Best way evaluate a person and see his true colours coming out : is to play with
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m Feeling lucky is autobiographical book about a Brand marketing manager during an early 6 years in the life of He writes his memories of the corporate atmosphere, and the personnel that helped grow and develop one of the fastest growing technology company. The book is written in the view not directly involved in the computer science engineering of Google and is not filled down with technical details of how the technical company works.

Edwards was hired in 1999 as a brand manager i
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I figure there are three main points of interest for this book...if you have a basic knowledge of MARKETING (I do have a few years work experience in so I got that part) ENGINEERING (most words seemed like many foreign languages all mixed together), and/or BUSINESS ORGANIZATION (major snoozefest to me) then you might enjoy it too. I would love an engineer to read this book and tell me their thoughts on it!

It is fascinating to read the jouney of a startup Silicon Valley search company that litera
June Ding
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book I read about google and 4 years later after the first book, google stories continue kept me inspired. The first book “In the plex” covered a longer time span and gave higher level account of google by one of the best technology writers of today. This book was written by an early employee who was Google’s marketing manager/director at its start. It gave detailed insider account of how google worked and its growth within the first 5 years from a few persons start up to a pu ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating look at Google from startup through IPO through the eyes of one of its original employees. Doug Edwards gave up a solid career at the Mercury News to join a start-up that barely had a mission statement much less a business plan. But Edwards knew marketing and he believed he could help them change all that. He didn't know Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Under the adage that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks Edwards had to unlearn and rethink everything he knew about marketing ...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
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 is a great read about the beginning of Google from an internal marketing perspective and the personal perspective of Douglass Edwards, also known as Google Employee Number 59. For anyone who is interested in how Google started or anyone like me who has been using Google as long as they can remember it is a fascinating read. Although I think anyone who wanted to read this book would enjoy it, I think the 30 and 40 somethings that hav ...more
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The book reveals the early years of Google indeed but I find it very badly written. It is not about marketing, management, technology nor even about the people who started the company. It touches on many facts of the company life but somehow the threads that keep the story together are few and not so interesting. At times it goes into long citations of names or events with no apparent value to the reader. The interesting parts on the other hand could have been elaborated and explored better - th ...more
Jul 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Thoroughly enjoyed the insights of how Google started and ended up where they were 5 years later. Edwards had been one of the earliest employees when Google first started up, and this amusing recount of Google's meteoric rise is a recommended read for anyone who has ever wondered how Google and many of its services came to be.

I may not always agree with Google's assertion that they would "Do no evil" (I still have privacy issues to take up with Google and question the sustainability of all these
Rich Maloy
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I've learned that I don't really go in for memoirs, but for whatever reason this one appealed to me. It was written by one of Google's first marketing people. It's a wild story that covers a lot of ground with Google: multiple offices, expansion after expansion, and plenty of internal political battles. The author is a great writer, and he does own up to at least one mistake. He also clearly had no love lost for Marissa Mayer. The only reason this isn't a four-star for me is because I prefer bus ...more
Tim Brady
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read! I wouldn't call it a "How to do Business" kind of book, but it was an entertaining glimpse into the early beginning of Google from the author's perspective. There was much about the start of Google I didn't previously know, and it was fun to learn about the super early years (1999-2002) as they fought to stay relevant and earn a seat at the table. The co-founders, Larry and Sergey, sound fascinating and now I plan to read more material about their lives and passions. I would ...more
Jul 17, 2021 rated it liked it
It is written by one of the first non-technical persons to be hired by the small tech startup in 1999. It tells the story from his perspective in marketing of Google from the beginnings to a large extremely successful company in 2005. It speaks of the genius of its founders and the high standards and brilliance of those they hired in solving the many startup problems along the way. The author highlights his own contributions and missteps and the way Google is different from any other company. Th ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic read. Although we know the outcome of Google being a start up that didn't stop me being hooked on Edward's every word! Reading about the people involved and how their creations flourished or flopped, as well as Edward's struggle to bend to new laws within a strange work world was fascinating. It was intelligent whilst remaining user friendly, and filled with so many amazing anecdotes. I would absolutely recommend anyone with even the slightest interest in technology should r ...more
Roberta Westwood
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
The early days of Google, from an insider
I enjoyed this account of the early days of Google, from one of the earliest hired employees. It was a stage of the company's history that could only be told by someone who worked there at the time. Douglas Edwards was well suited to the task, as he is both a writer and a non-engineer, enabling him to give the rest of us non-engineer types a sense of the happenings. As one of those set up for life from IPO, I appreciated the time he took to tell the story
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Glorifies Google a bit but gives you a good inside scoop on the rise of Google. Odd that Many things it wouldn’t do before it is doing now, so much for don’t be evil.

Eg tracking users and entire first screens being ads rather than results, which the book pointed out its competitors were doing (overture/goto/etc) that it wouldn’t do as that provides biased results by those that have money to advertise only. The reason they can do it is not because the ads are superior but because users don’t not
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This book took me a while to get through. It felt like “heavy” reading and I typically could only read smaller chunks of it at a time. Regardless, it was still a fascinating look into the first couple of years at Google.

I read this book on my eReader. I probably would have found it easier in paper form, because being able to access the Timeline that appeared at the end of the book would have been helpful. The book is not particularly written in linear fashion. It is based on particular stories
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very well written book and provided a great overview of Google in the early years. A non-technical biography of a tech company. A lot has changed since then and it was interesting to see how this little start up focused solely on search started to become giant corporation. The vision of its leaders was clearly a major reason Google has become so successful. It sounds like the author worked many overtime days and he certainly indicates that he "made his fortune" because of it ...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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