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Publisher's Summary

Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg came to Google over a decade ago as proven technology executives. At the time, the company was already well-known for doing things differently, reflecting the visionary - and frequently contrarian - principles of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. If Eric and Jonathan were going to succeed, they realized they would have to relearn everything they thought they knew about management and business.

Today, Google is a global icon that regularly pushes the boundaries of innovation in a variety of fields. How Google Works is an entertaining, pause-resistant primer containing lessons that Eric and Jonathan learned as they helped build the company. The authors explain how technology has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers, and that the only way to succeed in this ever-changing landscape is to create superior products and attract a new breed of multifaceted employees whom Eric and Jonathan dub "smart creatives". Covering topics including corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption, the authors illustrate management maxims ("Consensus requires dissension", "Exile knaves but fight for divas", "Think 10X, not 10%") with numerous insider anecdotes from Google's history, many of which are shared here for the first time.

In an era when everything is speeding up, the best way for businesses to succeed is to attract smart-creative people and give them an environment where they can thrive at scale. How Google Works explains how to do just that.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg (P)2014 Hachette

What listeners say about How Google Works

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Painfully ignorant

What disappointed you about How Google Works?

When Internet users think of Google they typically associate the label 'search engine' with the company. But that does not classify Google as a corporation. With almost all of Google's revenue deriving from placing ad copy on its search result pages and third party websites (Pay-Per-Click (PPC)), Google Inc. is without a doubt an advertising company. The combined revenues Google receives from non-advertising products would likely not sustain Google's workforce of currently 52,000 employees for more than a few weeks or finance money-loosing experiments such as self-driving cars.

Google solely works on PPC. Take that away and there is no Google.

Has How Google Works turned you off from other books in this genre?

The book was surprisingly unorganized. More painfully though was the apparent ignorance of the authors. Or maybe they are just disingenuous.

Google also did not invent Pay-Per-Click (PPC) as the authors insinuate over and over again. The patent to PPC belongs to Yahoo who acquired it when it bought Overture. After getting sued for patent right infringements in 2004 Google paid Yahoo 2.7Million shares of common stock in addition to 5.5Million shares Yahoo already owned.

How could the performance have been better?

Just be honest. - Google is largely responsible for the degradation of the world wide web to the Commercial Web.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How Google Works?

All but that last couple of sentences.

Any additional comments?

Google claims that its mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful. At first look this seems to be a valuable goal. However, it is important to keep in mind that this mission is subordinate to the primary goal of any company which is to increase the wealth of its owners (shareholders) by paying dividends and/or causing the stock price to increase. Plagued by this paradigm Google Inc. adapted a business model in form of the AdWords and AdSense advertising programs that in its consequence led to the development of an entirely new industry: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which in its various forms – such as content farms – has caused an explosion of digital content that is essentially marketing copy disguised as information. In short: Google consequently organizes mostly the world’s ad copy rather than the world’s information. It is hence an utterly failed attempt to effectively organize information. Unless the search giant is willing to radically change its business model there seems no way out of the corner the company painted itself into.

24 people found this helpful

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Beautiful yet a lot of bragging and inflated ego

The book is wow. It has so many tips and useful ideas. Also, it will explain Google's philosophy about things people don't really understand and MIS interpret such as all the free coffee, food and snacks. Also, one can understand different team sizes setup and what worked with them. Plus, organizing 1:1s and coaching CEOs. If you are opening your own business, this book is an inspirational.

Few things are annoying in the book:
*) toooo long and can easily be shortened.
*) a lot of bragging about values they claim to have such as "be no evil" and other idealistic values they don't fulfill. We know they work with NSA, so please spear the irony. Also, they make you feel that the company has no goals to collect money and increase wealth and hide it behind things like changing the world.

20 people found this helpful

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There are useful ideas in this book

I would say 20% of the book can be put to use in any business. 30% of the rest of the book can be considered useful and explored to be put to use in any business. Rest is about interesting stuff at Google. Well 50% useful is a terrific for a book like this. There are some examples on hiring and unleashing creativity which are awesome.

19 people found this helpful

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Non-traditional corporate culture that works

Would you listen to How Google Works again? Why?

Yes I will listen to this book again. This well-narrated book provides an excellent summary of Google's culture to a non-Googler such as myself. How Google Works has inspired me to find my inner "smart creative" that has thus far been suppressed by corporate politics and meaningless buzzwords. I will listen to this book again because it describes a successful business strategy in the fast-paced market of software and platforms. This book is highly informative, well written, and expertly narrated.

19 people found this helpful

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An excellent and thought provoking book.

Where does How Google Works rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top 5 of >180.

What other book might you compare How Google Works to and why?

Predictably irrational by Dan Ariely because it makes you think about every day things in a counter intuitive way.

Which character – as performed by Holter Graham and Jonathan Rosenberg – was your favorite?

Both were equally good. Well read and "performed".

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No.

Any additional comments?

A good read. Once this book is read go back and read What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis and In The Plex by Steven Levy.

17 people found this helpful

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Embrace this Culture!

Would you listen to How Google Works again? Why?

I gained so much from this book, If you are in leadership or simply want to be someday this book will do wonders for how you work and lead people. If I could get just half of the great things discussed in this book instituted I believe it would transform my own operations. I will listen to this a few more times so I can be reminded of how greatness is achieved by paying attention to your companies best assets....The people!

What did you like best about this story?

All of the points on building a great culture.

13 people found this helpful

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A Disapointment

No insight as to how Google really works. Very simplistic read on management "best practices." I don't need a book to tell me how to write or read corporate emails. The narrator reads Like Capt. Kirk on Quaaludes. A disappointment overall.

10 people found this helpful

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Must read for ALL product & business people!!!

Where does How Google Works rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the best audio book I have listened to so far! I found myself sitting in the parking lot at work just so I could hear more.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How Google Works?

I believe the story that I remember most was how Jonathan Rosenberg diverted from economic theories in his interview with Serge to "Courtship" with his future wife. Brilliant!

What does Holter Graham and Jonathan Rosenberg bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Jonathan brings a great enthusiasm with his reading of the intro. It is fun to hear it from the source. Holter does a great job making you hear and feel what the writers were trying to convey.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I ended up getting through the entire thing in just 4-5 days of commute time to and from work. I also listened to it while at the gym in the mornings. I found myself often losing track of my workout because I was deep in the story.

Any additional comments?

I hope they write a follow-up!

5 people found this helpful

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Not bad, but not great

One needs to read the book just because it's about Google and because it does contain an occasional interesting story or tip.
But I felt the book was poorly done.
I was hoping to get more information on the difficult decisions Googlers had to make, their thinking and choices they made, their reflections on how it worked out, things they wish they did, things they wish they didn't do, and words of wisdom for future generations of entrepreneurs.
I wanted to hear more about Google Plus. Why it didn't take off they predicted it would. I wanted to hear more about Google Video, and how it later was merged with YouTube. I wanted to hear more about the monetisation models they tried, what worked, what didn't, and why what they have now eventually succeeded.
There was some of it, but very little.
Too much focus on how great Google is and only a discussion of successful outcomes.
Not a complete waste of time, some good info on how Google hires people (though mentioned their sting with riddles only briefly). But I expected much more.

3 people found this helpful

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Exceeded expectations

There are so many details and data I ingested while reading this book, I find that I can't wait to action them. Between recruiting, hiring, promoting, building a culture, product development, and platform strategy, I am eager to put these learnings to use... and to read this book all over again.

3 people found this helpful

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