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What Would Google Do ?: What Would Google Do? Mass Market Paperback – 20 Nov 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (20 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062063359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062063359
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.7 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

“Google is not just a company, it is an entirely new way of thinking about understanding who we are and what we want. Jarvis has done something really important: extend that approach to business and culture, revealing just how revolutionary it is.” (Chris Anderson, Author of The Long TailChris Anderson, author of The Long Tail)

“What Would Google Do? is an exceptional book that captures the massive changes the internet is effecting in our culture, in marketing, and in advertising.” (Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist)

“Jeff Jarvis has written an indispensable guide to the business logic of the networked era, because he sees the opportunities in giving the people control, and understands the risks in letting your competitors get there first.” (Clay Shirky, Author of Here Comes Everybody)

“Jeff Jarvis’s What Would Google Do? is a divining rod for anyone looking for ways to hit real paydirt in the new territory of Web 2.0 marketing. Jarvis has a sharp eye for what is relevant, real, and actionable. Isn’t that what we all need today?” (Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com)

“Most of Jarvis’s points—about customer influence, user-driven innovation, the death of middlemen—are by now axiomatic. And yet he manages to make the revolution feel newly revolutionary. . . . the book exudes credibility.” (Inc.)

“[Jarvis’s] bold thinking and prodigious faith results in a rollicking sermon on reinvention and reinvigoration.” (Miami Herald)

“[Jarvis] is an intelligent observer of technology and the media and has intellectual scruples.... [T]here are lessons to be learnt from Google and its single-minded determination to change how business is done.” (Financial Times)

“Jarvis, proprietor of the influential media blog BuzzMachine, gleans maxims from Google’s successful strategies that occasionally sound like doublespeak (Free is a business model! Abundance is the new scarcity! Correcting yourself enhances credibility!). But they boil down to practical suggestions.” (Time magazine)

“Blogger/columnist Jeff Jarvis’s treatise on how—and why—companies should think and act like Google brings to mind several trite words from the world of literary criticism: eye-opening, thought-provoking and enlightening.” (USA Today)

“[Jarvis’s] observations are worth reading....We’re never going to unplug the Internet, so read this book with the long view in mind. Mr. Jarvis’s rules don’t all apply to you, but they’re all true enough for someone” (Wall Street Journal)

“For those who haven’t thought much about how radically, rapidly and irreversibly the Internet has empowered us and changed our culture, “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis will be revelatory. It is a stimulating exercise in thinking really, really big. “ (San Jose Mercury News)

From the Back Cover

A bold and vital book that asks and answers the most urgent question of today: What Would Google Do?

In a book that's one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual, internet impresario and blogging pioneer Jeff Jarvis reverse-engineers Google—the fastest-growing company in history—to discover forty clear and straightforward rules to manage and live by. At the same time, he illuminates the new worldview of the internet generation: how it challenges and destroys, but also opens up vast new opportunities. His findings are counterintuitive, imaginative, practical, and above all visionary, giving readers a glimpse of how everyone and everything—from corporations to governments, nations to individuals—must evolve in the Google era.

Along the way, he looks under the hood of a car designed by its drivers, ponders a worldwide university where the students design their curriculum, envisions an airline fueled by a social network, imagines the open-source restaurant, and examines a series of industries and institutions that will soon benefit from this book's central question.

The result is an astonishing, mind-opening book that, in the end, is not about Google. It's about you.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title of Jeff Jarvis's What Would Google Do? book is a deliberate echo of the American phrase, "What would Jesus do?" Whilst for Christians asking what Jesus would do in particular situations makes sense, does Google have a similar role of authority over everyone's business lives for Jeff Jarvis's question to make sense?

At first, it may appear that the answer is obvious. Google is hugely successful. Google is very different from many companies that have gone before. Lots of firms talk about wanting to be the next Google. Google makes lots of money. Google has lots of users. And so on. So surely trying to learn from Google makes sense?

But probe into that question more deeply and the situation is rather more complicated.

First, there's the traditional outlier issue. Google is unusually large and profitable. So is it a rare exception from which the rest of us therefore cannot learn that much or is it really the path-breaker for the rest of us to follow?

Second, there's the question of permanence. There have been many firms who have briefly been top of the pile, widely admired and the focus of numerous books telling people how to be like them. In the computing and internet area, there have been several waves with the previous dominant companies usually disappearing from the scene. Microsoft is highly unusual in having stayed on top for so long. IBM and Apple both soared and crashed and soared again. All three in their different ways have stood the test of time, whilst Google is sitll a relative newbie. So if you want to learn lessons for the future, why not turn to Microsoft, IBM and Apple instead or at least in addition to Google?

Therein lie both the best and the most frustrating aspects of Jeff Jarvis's book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think that title of the book was probably not the first choice from the author.

The first title Jarvis probably thought of was "The cultural difference between Americans and Brits". The first few chapters are full of example stories of how Jarvis bought a Dell computer, complained, and ended up interviewing Michael Dell (the founder of Dell) himself, and how Jarvis have advised most of the biggest companies on the Internet in ways they could improve.

Jarvis is one of those people who always seems know someone at every company in the World, and probably worked there (sorry, advised them to make them better) at some stage too.

If you (and I'm talking to Brits here) can stand those types of bold claims and self promotion, of which I'm not disputing the accuracy of the claims -- just how liberally they're used through the book; you'll move on to the second part. This part deals with the actual title - how would Google run a restaurant, a hospital, a law firm, and many other industries.

Jarvis is quite creative with his thoughts, although if you any of the industries you can't help but admire his naivety at lack of understanding that industry. That naivety is precisely at the core of how Jarvis thinks Google approach any industry though - they reinvent it specifically without wanting to understand how it's been done before.

The final part of the book is a long essay into what Jarvis thinks is good and bad about the Internet, and full of promotion about his blog - why he blogs, how he blogs, why he's so great - and then we're back to that same American style which is probably admired in USAland and sneered at in the UK.

WWGD (as Jarvis calls the book) is an OK read.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book Jeff Jarvis attempts to dissect why Google has become the fastest growing company in the history of the planet. He studies their laws and ethos and then applies it to other industries, showing how they can `googlify' themselves for the post internet world. To many extents this book succeeds, except for a couple of major failings.

I regularly listen to Jeff on Leo Laporte's Twit (This Week in Tech) network which is worth seeking out if you're not aware of it, where he shows he is the right author for this book. He has years of experience in the entertainment and internet industry and has a deep understanding of Google's methods.

I had high hopes for this title, that I would walk away enlightened, with new business ideas. I did. However I'm not as sure of them as I perhaps should be. You see Jeff explains why `everything should be searchable and linkable', why `you can't beat free', why `atoms are the old method, internet is the new'. So why is Jeff publishing this as a book, not a free, advert supported eBook or a website? Money, that's why. He says it himself in the book. So if you can't practice what you preach (and it's very preachy), why should I believe your other advice Jeff? Is your book not available free online because that method doesn't work? Because it isn't viable?

Jeff talks about web content and how the mass of niches will beat the old system - being able to find what you want rather than being told. Which is accurate, but he largely ignores the argument of quality over quantity, that the mass of niches will only work if great content is produced and wins out. For the most part he ignores that the reason Google succeeds is because they make great quality products for free. How many people can afford to do that?
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