Comparing Google to an ordinary business is like comparing a rocket to an Edsel. No academic analysis or bystander's account can capture it. Now Doug Edwards, Employee Number 59, offers the first inside view of Google, giving listeners a chance to fully experience the bizarre mix of camaraderie and competition at this phenomenal company.
Edwards, Google's first director of marketing and brand management, describes it as it happened. We see the first, pioneering steps of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the company's young, idiosyncratic partners; the evolution of the company's famously nonhierarchical structure (where every employee finds a problem to tackle or a feature to create and works independently); the development of brand identity; the races to develop and implement each new feature; and the many ideas that never came to pass. Above all, Edwards - a former journalist who knows how to write - captures the Google Experience, the rollercoaster ride of being part of a company creating itself in a whole new universe.
I'm Feeling Lucky captures for the first time the unique, self-invented, yet profoundly important culture of the world's most transformative corporation.
©2011 Douglas Edwards (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"This lively, thoughtful business memoir is more entertaining than it really has any right to be, and should be required reading for startup aficionados." (Publishers Weekly)
"Douglas Edwards is indeed lucky, sort of an accidental millionaire, a reluctant bystander in a sea of computer geniuses who changed the world. This is a rare look at what happened inside the building of the most important company of our time." (Seth Godin)
"Douglas Edwards recounts Google's stumble and rise with verve and humor and a generosity of spirit. He kept me turning the pages of this engrossing tale." (Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It)
“With a warm, approachable tone and perfect pacing, Edwards narrates his detailed account of his experiences as an early employee of Google, Inc….Edwards seems a natural as he provides a highly listenable audio performance….the listener walks away with a better understanding of how true organizational creativity and brilliant technical engineering can impact the human condition and world culture.” (AudioFile)
This follows the author from his hire when Google was a startup until the IPO. It's a parallel story of Google the company and his personal odyssey from being a key player at the beginning to slowly becoming marginalized, and finally shown the door.
Recounting successes and failures, it's fascinating to hear the accounts of when AOL and Yahoo! were the big fish, and Google had to swim carefully to keep from upsetting them.
It's also a fascinating account of being in a company when it's an infant and there are no walls, and watching the company become a corporation. Anyone who's been in an organization during a growth phase has been in the situation where it goes from being this wide open playing field and you can talk to the "big boys and girls" anytime you wish, to watching walls spring up, things start to divide, and finding yourself boxed on the wrong side of the wall. The previously friendly faces are replaced by new people that make power plays to take your authority and slide you into the outer circle until the day you sit across from some person you don't know, being informed you no longer have a place at the company where you were once a key player.
I don't know how much you'll learn about business from this book, except that the founders of Google believed strongly in certain things. They pushed hard for their beliefs, but as much as they tried, Google eventually became another corporate entity. It was still different in a lot of ways, and they challenged a lot of traditional business thinking.
There's more there, I think, than the author intended.
I have to admit that I was somewhat skeptical about this book. A marketing guy's perspective on Google? That's crazy, who cares about that, I thought. But I had just finished a couple other popular books on Google and thought that this might round out my perspective one of the most influential and successful companies of all time.
What I didn't realize was that I would be taken on a tour of Google, from it's childhood through adolescence, as though I were riding on the shoulders of the author. I would listen, mouth agape at the stupidity of running servers without cases on metal racks then marvel at the subtle and not-so-subtle genius exhibited by Googlers. I would learn how a quick hack could lead to billions of dollars of profits but I would also discover that my suspicions about chaotic product management were in fact correct.
"I'm Feeling Lucky" goes where no other Google book dares - it explores the intimately human aspect of a company often characterized as "The Borg." It reveals that Google engineers are not just single-dimensional geeks, but are creative people who share a passion for excellence and doing the "right" thing. But more importantly, it shows us a prime example of how a group of supremely confident and intelligent people can eschew tradition and change the world.
Watch out "Social Network" and "Pirates of Siicon Valley" the next great tech movie is contained within the pages this book. I also enjoyed to Jeff Jarvis's "WWGD" and "In the Plex" but this book has great personal drama as well as the interesting Google Story. You can relate the Doug as he takes you on his journey through the world of search, working hard to understand the Google Culture and create a better world. This guy is an awesome writer and a wonderful story teller. I can't wait to see the movie!! I've only written a few reviews but this book is so good I wanted to recommend it to others. This book is not the usual "yada-yada!" Awesome book! Highly recommended!!
One of the funniest books I've ever read. The style is witty, kind and down to earth. A must read for anyone who has ever worked at a start-up. Hearing the story from the author's own mouth adds to the personal feeling of the book. You'll be the lucky one if you take the time to listen to this book.
This is not just your yaddah yaddah tell all. I came away tremendously impressed by Google, Douglas Edwards, the Founders and a truly amazing cast of characters making their way in a world of opportunity on a rather bizzare silicon valley playing field. I admit that that I only understand some of technical issues a little better. Nevertheless, if, like me, you have used Google's growing arsenal of tools since its infancy, you will find this a particularly interesting history lesson, even though some of it is going to be over your head too.
Written from the insight you discover how google started and became what it is. It's an obliged reading if you want to fully understand google and probably it's future as well. It's well written and shows the human part behind the little box of search in the corner of your browser.
An entertaining, well written personal story of the career-choice of a lifetime. Highlights include the AOL-negotiations and the behind-the-curtain look at the googlers on the annual ski-trip. Edwards doesn't drop any huge bombs or surprises, except how blatantly he describes his sour relationship with Marissa Mayer who cannot be very pleased reading this book.
Entertaing and incitefull read from a person who worked inside google during it's startup period through it's major growth period.
I just have to say thank you for this book. One of the best business books I've ever read not because it's a business book but because of the insights, opinion, history and detail that was shared by Douglas Edwards about a amazing company that didn't just happen but was built.
Wow, this was a LONG one. I listened to it on audio and it was over 16 hours; it's a good thing that the narrator was good or I would have given up on it long ago.
I liked the story overall, but there was nothing astounding about it. This told the story from the perspective of the author, who was a marketing employee at Google. I get the trials of being a non-engineer in an engineering company, as I have been in that situation before. There were many sections that I found extremely interesting, such as the controversy over Google Doodles, April Fools jokes, the perks of working there, the magnitude of the operation, and everything that went into the development of the search function. I take it for granted when I go to Google that I will see the box, type in my request, and find what I am looking for. I never thought of it as this complex algorithm that is actually very highly developed. I also never thought of the scope of the manpower and physical equipment that is required to make this happen.
There were no great "confessions" in this book, so maybe I was expecting more of that based on the title. Rather, it was a history of the company and there was no real "dirt" revealed. I found that many names were mentioned and when they came back up again, I could not recall exactly who all of them were. There were also great details about some of the competitors and their skirmishes with Google that I felt went on for way too long. This book definitely would have benefited from editorial work in the area of shortening the story up. When I look back at the entire book, I'm glad that I persevered and finished it, although there were some points where I felt that it was never going to end. Maybe by now, as you are reading this, you are thinking that this review is never ending as well, so on that note, I will conclude!
"Interesting and insightful"
For anyone interested in Google or working at an internet based business this book is a must read/listen. Douglas gives a detailed account of his 6 or so years at Google as the business went from a small start up to the massive internet giant it is today. Douglas also reads it excellently and as it is his story you get a better feeling of his feelings about the different things that happened during his time there. Highly recommended.
"I was there"
By the end of the book I felt I had been there, and gone through this torturous yet adventurous journey with Douglas. Amazing narration with a surprisingly honesty and personal side to it.
"Excellent insight into one of our top start ups"
Well read story from the inside that gives a detailed picture of what it was like from the inside.
I loved it, a great read for anyone thinking of joining Google..... I want to know what he did next
"Pretty dull is all I can say"
I only got about 25% of the way through this... pretty dull story of how Google came to me. Very little (if any) drama, humour or excitement - just factual retelling of the events. I am not sure why it gets so many good reviews - perhaps the super geeks love it ?
Great story, well read and brilliantly written! Interesting for anyone who has started a business or even just knows who Google are! So that's everyone! Highly recommended!
"Pulling Back the Curtain"
Brilliant description of the development and evolution of Google.
Pulling back the curtain.
A true insider view of one of the world's most ambitious companies. I enjoyed that there appears to be no axe to grind, you get the feeling that this is how it happened.
"A Good Second Book On Google"
Three years ago, I read "In the Plex" an excellent book on the development of Google, and which I would recommend as a first book on Google.
But, once you've read a generalist book such as "In the Plex", and if you want to know more about Google, then I would really recommend reading "I'm Feeling Lucky". "I'm Feeling Lucky" is a personal retelling of one person's life at Google from 1999 to 2005 and as such it makes Google come alive as a "real person". One gets to see that all was not pristine' it had turf wars, office politics, and the 2 founders may certainly have been geniuses in many areas, but not definitely in people or organisational management, and one understands why the board forced them to get a CEO.
I would not recommend this as a first book on Google, but wholeheartedly as a follow-up book.
I wouldn't listen to the book again, that's not because I didn't enjoy it though, it's just because I don't listen too or read books twice.
Douglas Edwards! He was the star of the book as the book was written about his time at Google. He was an extremely interesting and very funny man too, he made the story of Google a lot more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
His humour and knowledge that wouldn't have come across to me if someone else had been reading the book
The ending as I didn't think it would end as abruptly as it did and in the manor that it did
Fantastic all round story with the narrator being the man who wrote the book!
"Wonderful book and well read!"
Best so far although only my third audiobook.
I really got a feel for what it would have been like to work at a company like Google in its start up days.
No just this one. The narration really Made this story for me. Having the author read his own story gives it a real personal touch that I love.
Yes, I often sat in my car at the end of my commute for an extra five minutes listening!
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