This is a fantastic book that gives you a completely new view of Google. By understanding more of its origins, I have a clearer understanding of their future and how some recent decisions/products (self-driving cars, glasses, etc) now make more sense in the context of a greater mission. Very well researched - highly recommend this book.
Former Marine 4321, former State Department public diplomacy officer. Current USAF Public Affairs Specialist
This book has taken me through a series of fascinating internal debates, no only within Google, but within my own mind. The book details how the people working in and around Google have debated issues of privacy, human rights and corporate culture, among others.
While we all enjoy the advantages of finding any factoid in milliseconds, the book details horror stories from the complaints department of Google that a former abusive spouse was able to catch up with a person who had hoped to hide from them forever. This is a side of search I'd never considered. Of course, the book goes deeply into the debates around restrictions requested on the Internet by various countries, but which countries and why is surprising.
Most of all, I was captivating by the idea of creating a non-hierarchical leadership structure without chaos. I served 13 years in the Marine Corps and have worked in universities and embassies, both as a part of the State Department and as a local hire. Historically, militaries, universities and embassies from any country have been top-down hierarchical structures. However, when the Marine Corps put me in Staff Academy, a four-week mid-level management training course, we were all the same rank of staff sergeant. In that scenario, various people in the 23-man group volunteered to lead various segments of our course according to their unique expertise. I came away from that course amazed by how fluid and operationally effective this technique was. However, until In The Plex, I had never believed it possible to implement this concept on a broader scale.
Google appears to have intentionally made its program managers new, inexperienced members who had to collect data and appeal to the logic of their ... uh, subordinate? engineers with more experience both in Google and in the business. Subsequently decisions were made more on data than on power struggles. Like so many aspects of the Google story, this seems too idealistic to be true. If I didn't have the all staff sergeant Marine experience, I wouldn't have believed it possible. But I lived it once and I think that thick-skinned people who are openly honest with themselves and their teammates about their abilities really could revolutionize what has been corporate culture in the United States since Ford. I'd like to see that.
This is a great thought-provoking book.The voice quality and sound production is solid.
This book was a good, clear book that showed how the company Google thinks about it's mission, works on the inside, and affects our lives, as the subtitle says. Some bits here and there delve into technical aspects but was simplified well. As a programmer and someone who follows the tech industry this book shed a little light on why Google has done the things it did.
I have been reading since before I started school. I am not sitting in front of a book someone is reading it to me!
Interesting to see the way google works. Not something that I would read again. Once is enough.
Yes, I would recommend everyone listens to this book as you will gain insight to why and how Google makes its choices.
The subject matter and in depth information.
This book was exciting to me. To hear about the beginning of the company and then the shear innovativeness was great.
I highly recommend this book if you are interested in what Google is doing and how the do it or excited by stories of innovation and perseverance.
The book is more than a little sympathetic to Google, but it really puts the impact that Google has had on the Internet and society into sharp focus. You almost forget what life was like before Google. Like them or love them, Googlers have changed the way the world works.
I received part 2 twice. The so called part 1 download was really part 2. And the part 2 download was part 2. So I have part 2 of the book two times and part 1 zero times.
A well researched and excellent perspective on the thinking driving a company and technology that is and will shape our world. I thought I was aware of google, but realize I saw only some of the surface of the water. But the deeper dive into not just what its done, but what was and is possible makes for a fascinating understanding of this remarkable technology and how it can, and most likely will be used...and a sobering reflection on the challenging societal questions of whether we're comfortable with going there.