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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
26
3.9 out of 5 stars

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on 19 December 2005
This is a moderately entertaining read but I found it rather lightweight with few real insights. I was hoping to learn something about how Google managed their very rapid growth, how they kept control of things and how they kept their people on board (beyond having a good cook and plenty of toys!). The book, I think, overemphasises lawsuits, battles with Microsoft and the value of Google stock. It also irritatingly oscillates between calling the Google founders by their first names and then their surnames for no apparent reason. To be fair, the way they financed the start up did provide some interesting reading.
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on 22 October 2006
In my view this book sits alongside Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson for inspiration and honesty - mistakes and all! It's a must for any budding or armchair entrepreneur and demonstrates the 100% focus required to start up and maintain a multi-billion dollar company, whilst fiercly defending an original ethos. The culture within the Googleplex is discussed at length and it's clear that this was how they recruited and retained their staff. However, although it was not overtly mentioned in the book it was clear that Brin and Page demonstrated a inpeneterable partnership and strong leadership, even Schmidt was an outsider. If this leadership was not present from the beginning the story may have been different - a lesson for many organisations, I think. A brilliant book my Mr Vise, thanks.
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on 24 May 2014
This book is very disappointing - another reviewer uses the word "fanboy" and I agree.
There is little, if any, attempt to provide any significant critical perspective of the founders or of Google itself.
Whole sections of the book in fact read like public relations puff and the parts on the rivalry with Microsoft are very one-sided.
All in all, it's a very disappointing read !!
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A very interesting book. The writer starts off in a very sycophantic manner, praising Google as if the sun shines out of their HQ. Later in the book the writer covers some more of dodgy practices that Google partake in.

I get the feeling that the reader is being taken on the same journey as the writer; From "Do No Evil" to "Do Lots of Good, but turn a blind eye if it makes Google lots of money".

In 2007 it could do with some updates to do with the latest news, but gives a great history of internet search as well as Google

Ultimately a very good book, let down from 5 stars by some repetition from chapter to chapter
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I picked this up when it was going cheap in Zavvi's sale. It's a good account of the rise of Google: how they recognized search as the most crucial component of the web and made their money by adding targeted advertising to their search results. I was somewhat disappointed at the paucity of technical detail beyond some journalistic hand-waving about a "seamless blend of hardware and software at ... a massive scale", and the fact that Google's servers are assembled from commodity PCs. This, it's somewhat breathlessly announced on page 2, is "perhaps Google's best-kept secret", which sounds rather self-contradictory. However, given the general audience that the book is written for (and the many details of their architecture that really *are* secret - even down to the number of servers they employ), perhaps this isn't too surprising - though I'm pretty sure that even a general reader wouldn't need to be told (p35) who Midas was.

There's also some degree of repetition across the chapters, which makes them read more like self-contained magazine articles instead of pieces of a coherent whole. But in general, I found this an entertaining read, and an interesting story about how Google has changed the world over the past couple of decades. On a personal note, I was also surprised to discover from this book that one of my (vanishingly tenuously linked) associates from the field of computer graphics in the early 90's had shared an office with Google's founders at Stanford. It's a small, joined-up world.
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on 24 November 2006
Ok, so we all know a fair bit about Google. Their search tool is the most popular and their brand is like gold - but what goes on inside the Googleplex? This book is a fascinating insight into the creation and growth of a truly unique and engaging workplace. Whatever your industry and whatever the history of your organisation, there are lessons to be learned here about the economic benefits to your business of having a highly engaged and productive workforce and some thoughts on how to get there.
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on 14 May 2015
The book that basically tells the story on how Google came about. Since it’s been release back in 2005, it covers the period from late 90’s until events of 2005. You will find out more about founders themselves – Sergey Brin and Larry Page, how they met and how they managed to end up with the search engine that is being used by millions people very day. My favourite part of the story was how both of them managed to get an investment of 25 million USD from two competing capital venture companies. How they managed to keep the company private for as long as possible, so competition do not find out how well they are doing and they more or less dictated their own rules when preparing to go public and float on the stock market.

The book also covers on how they hired their first CEO, how Doodle, Google News and Gmail came about. A famous Google head chef Charlie Ayers is mentioned in the book as well. And some of the final chapters describe some of the legal cases Google faced, the plans to scan every single book out there, competition from Microsoft, China and much more.
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on 28 May 2013
The story of Google is very interesting, hence four stars, but the author is a bit too much in awe of the founders for my taste. I think a more critical eye on Google, privacy issues etc. would have made for a more well-rounded reading. Too much of a hagiography for my taste.
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on 25 July 2014
The book is interesting. It couldn't be otherwise since the topic is one of the most popular and profitable companies in the world. The structure is clear and each chapter interesting. I was expecting something different though, something where Google was idolized. I believe there are some aspects that could be described deeper, such as life at Google, but I understand it is not easy to tell the story of a company. I finished the book feeling that something was missing.

Overall is a good book and worth reading
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on 16 March 2015
I was very disappointed with this book, in the main it's pretty badly written and not enjoyable to read which makes it hard-going.

My main frustration was that it repeats most things you already know about Googles history and practices if you're already in the digital/tech industry or have had a slight interest in Googles foundations.

If you're completely new to Googles past, then this book may be more interesting - but it could have still been written much better.
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