This book is simply great. It really paints a vivid a picture of Google and its founders. It held my interest throughout.
Well told story of about the biggest disruptor as of recent. Hopefully the company turns into a non-profit, or some other better organizational model.
This wasn't as well written as the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, but it is still worth a listen. We have all been living through a revolution as profound as the industrial revolution and all of these people and companies have impacted our lives in so many ways. It's fascinating to realize what has gone on behind the scenes with such things as Google maps, search, and Youtube. Similarly, the personalities needed to create these advances are equally interesting. My capsule summary: Bill Gates = businessman, Steve Jobs = artist, the Google founders, Sergei Brinn and Larry Page = engineers. All of them brilliant, of course, and visionaries. We're living in the world they imagine and it's good to know what they think.
The story and background are great. I really enjoy learning how "startups" like this are conceived and how they grow to be the global forces they are today. However, the author does not appear to have any distance between himself and the story. He is clearly enamored with the founders and spends countless pages telling us how "amazing" these guys are. I prefer the "Steve Jobs" book approach. In that book, the author sang the praises when due but also exposed the warts, pimples and just plain ugliness of the man/story. In the Plex makes you believe that these two had some grand plan and that each step was preplanned for maximum success. Reality is, they fell ass-backwards into a gold mine. Good for them ... but tell the story from some source other than the ego-driven Serge and Page.
Lots of useful information about Google. Bonus interview with Marissa Meyer.
Speaks clearly and at a good pace.
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.