Chris Boette's Reviews > In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

In the Plex by Steven Levy
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Apr 28, 2012

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Read from April 28 to May 14, 2012

This book had me at the Oxford comma on the cover.

Seriously, though, I picked it up from the library because I wanted to learn more about a company to which I was applying for employment. Levy was in a fortuitous position for writing this book, as he had been profiling the company, along with its ruling troika, for over a decade. The book relayed much in the way of history, development processes, corporate culture, and ruling personalities. For charting a company's rise and trials, the book was solid. Some of the metaphors and similes were warranted, while others were incongruous and jolted me from reading:

The internal transparency was especially startling because Google had a phobia about leaks that rivaled that of the Nixon White House. [p. 164]


versus

There was a cloak-and-dagger element to the procedure, soured by a clandestine taint, like ducking out of a 1950s nightclub to smoke weed. [p. 354]


Jolting, I say.

Takeaways

Engineers rule everything...
...except for data, which rules the engineers.
It's hard staying nimble.


There are two sections in particular that will be cited in other texts for years to come — the development and implementation of AdWords & Google in China. If you're only interested in how the internet got to be how it is, or in the technological growth of the world's largest economy [circa 2025], read this book.
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