As mentioned earlier this year I have a Kindle which has reignited a desire to read. Not that I have been reading non stop, or even close to that, but considering my book a year for the last couple of years, I am doing a hell of a lot better. This book was ranked pretty well in the Amazon bestsellers and it’s author Steven Levy is a pretty well known tech writer (Wired, Newsweek, NY Times, New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic). Levy actually spent a serious amount of time over two years interviewing Google employees and as such goes into a lot of detail about the company, its history, ethics, morals, values, methodology and almost religious belief in data. The way Google employees are recruited, treated, looked after and empowered is fascinating. The idea that engineers know best, not product managers is also interesting.
The book covers how Google moved from being a PHD project at Stanford to a startup in desperate need of venture capital, to a great search engine needing huge amounts of venture capital to figuring out how to make money on a massive scale and turning over millions then billions. A lot of the focus is on the areas of the company which did well, the people involved in creating the products and the areas which caused scandal or even bombed.
I am pretty into Google products on the whole myself. Gmail, calendar and reader are essential daily visits. Documents and Youtube are the other two big ones for me. As of late I have been getting into G+ too. Android is great too – I had a HTC Hero until I fell in love with BB, and going forward it will be very exciting. I love my Blackberry but unless RIM really pull their finger out and get back in the game, I can see myself moving back to Android. At the moment however I just do not really like their handsets and they need to create something with a battery that lasts a day.
The book is a great read for anyone who finds Google interesting, enjoys company biographies and success stories. If that isnt enough – Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google and current CEO, is a kitesurfer.