This is great read on the history of Google, it's founders (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), and search technology. In the early days of the internet if you had typed in "newspaper," you would not have gotten "New York Times" or "LA Times" because they didn't have "newspaper" in its title. You had to know exactly what key words would generate the results you wanted. It's amazing to think how far search engines have come -- as you type, they predict what you want and populate key words for you. It is due to Google's extreme focus on technology and goals (speed, measurement, refinement, and openness). And there are many more amazing Google technologies that work seamlessly into our lives, which I have forgotten about -- Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Translate....
There is a lot of reference to "Googley" people and culture and the company's motto of "don't be evil." I think some readers will find it as a bias towards Google. I think it simply describes a workforce obsessively dedicated to doing what they love. For example, many might argue that Google's entry into China was a major stumble and the book doesn't place much accountability on the executives of Google. I think it was daring that Google did that. Selling technology in China is a high-risk proposition. Corruption and copyright infringements turn many companies away from China. Google had to know failure was very likely. Google took a chance to do something for the people of China. Although they censored results as required by the Chinese government, the users were informed on the page whenever results were censored. It was a small step... but an important step to reflect the value of openness -- the Chinese people were told when they weren't getting everything they wanted to see because the government was censoring it.
The beginning of the book provides useful information on spotting lies -- identifying baseline behavior and noting "tells" and cluster of behaviors when a person is lying. It is followed with chapters that diverge somewhat from lie spotting, such as negotiation techniques and conducting a deception audit at work. The information is still useful in that the reader can apply the techniques to build trusting relationships and avoid dishonest people. I think the reason why the book hasn't received higher ratings is because the author's TED Talk and the book description give the impression that this book can help the reader become an expert on spotting lies. It is not case. It provides an overview and basic techniques to practice.
I would skip the first two chapters, which give the backstory of how the author became a waiter. The rest of the book is fun and amusing, probably more so for people in the restaurant business and people who dine out often.
If you've read the author's other book "What Every BODY Is Saying," you'll find some repetition in the beginning of this book. This book is exactly what its title purport it to be - take your career from average to exceptional. Many of the observations that the author makes about businesses and individuals are obvious, like customers get upset when there's only one cashier to handle a long line and when another worker is called, the worker strolls to his station. Managers should be training their workers to be more responsive to customers if they want to keep their business. I think this book is still worth reading. Even if there is only a few good suggestions that you would apply, practicing some good work habits would improve your performance.
The book is engaging, particularly towards the end... that's if you lasted through the 500+ pages. The only drawback is the torture scenes toward the end. It would not be a book for pre-teens. The story is good and the characters are well developed, particularly Richard Cypher who is the Seeker of Truth. As with a typical quest, they encounter impossible challenges. The author does a great job of reframing the challenges to slowly reveal it is possible to overcome them all while the Seeker remains truthful.
If you like their other books "Freakonomics" and "SuperFreakonomics," you'll like this one. However, if you've listened to the Freakonomics podcasts, most of the topics have already been covered. Since the podcasts are free, I don't mind paying for the book and reading the few additional topics and stories that weren't covered.
This book is for fans of the TV series "Castle." Nathan Fillion plays fiction writer Richard Castle, who is riding along with Detective Kate Beckett for research for his next book series. It is amusing to watch the episodes (i.e., "real life") and then read the book (where most of the people in the TV series have a counterpart in the book). It can be confusing to keep track of who is "real" and who is fake -- Richard Castle is the writer in the TV episodes who is riding along with Detective Beckett. Jameson Rook is the writer in the book who is riding along with Detective Nikki Heat. If you watched Season 1 before reading this book, you'll start thinking about the details from "real life" TV episodes and comparing them to the book.
The book on its own reads like a pulp crime story, which probably would not appeal to many readers except fans of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The high rating is for tie-in to "Castle" and adding a unique dimension to the show -- as if Richard Castle is real and he wrote this book.
This is a great book for someone interested in being a writer and even someone interested in just knowing how writers are able to create page turners. David Morrell is known for writing "First Blood," which is often mistakenly referred to as "Rambo." The tone is conversational and even modest for someone who has written bestsellers. Th book is filled with useful advice and humorous stories.
If you know something about Big Data, this is the next book to read. The authors are knowledgeable and engrossed in technology and convey well how we're entering an age of personalized technology (e.g., your phone knows when you're home and reminds you of your tasks). I would skip the last chapter, which is fanciful thinking from the authors of what they expect to see in the year 2038.
I'm a fan of Isaac Asimov and just read "The Currents of Space" the second time. Years ago when I read all of Asimov's books, I thought the Galactic Empire series were not as good as the others. I later read somewhere (maybe in Asimov's memoir) that this series had a different publisher, and he accepted much of their changes despite his better judgment. This included changing the book titles (The Stars, like Dust; The Currents of Space; and Pebble in the Sky), which is why this series is slightly different from the rest of his books (Robot series and Foundation series).
If you like Isaac Asimov, read the books in chronological order (Robot, Galactic Empire, and Foundation). The Galactic Empire series is still good. Since it's been so long when I last read this book, I have forgotten the plot. In the usual Asimov's style, the reader is left guessing until the end. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that I think the pace is slow.
The author calls it "organizational health." I prefer to think of it as an authentic organization. Health gives the impression that it's a matter of following a regiment of good habits. Whereas authentic implies that it has to come from within the individuals. The book applies to leaders of an organization, not so much to workers. If you're not a manager, you would not even get to practice the first discipline of building a cohesive team (build trust, work through conflicts, commit to decisions, be accountable, and focus on results). The other three disciplines really need to come the top leadership of the organization - create clarity in purpose and direction of the organization, over communicate that message, and reinforce that message.
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