In a book that's one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual, Internet impresario and blogging pioneer Jeff Jarvis reverse-engineers Google, the fastest-growing company in history, to discover 40 clear and straightforward rules to manage and live by.
At the same time, he illuminates the new worldview of the internet generation: how it challenges and destroys, but also opens up vast new opportunities. His findings are counterintuitive, imaginative, practical, and above all, visionary, giving readers a glimpse of how everyone and everything, from corporations to governments, nations to individuals, must evolve in the Google era.
Along the way, he looks under the hood of a car designed by its drivers, ponders a worldwide university where the students design their curriculum, envisions an airline fueled by a social network, imagines the open-source restaurant, and examines a series of industries and institutions that will soon benefit from this book's central question.
The result is an astonishing, mind-opening book that, in the end, is not about Google. It's about you.
©2009 Jeff Jarvis; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"Overall I would definitely recommend this book. I say overall, because there are times where I am just amazed at some of the revelations and correlation he builds with reference to Google and new social based business models. Other times, I flat out want to ask him if he has lost his mind.
This book opens up a plethora (word of the day) of other books related to the Internet, up-and-coming social technologies and new business concepts such as "Free as a business model". Based on Jeff's recommendations and references of sources, I now want to research and read them based on what is covered in this book. At the very least, this book is a great starting point for learning more about the future of the Internet and web based social networking."
As the internet has emerged, some of us have been pretty on-the-ball in regards to education and knowledge. Something I found incredibly worthwhile with this book was how it speaks in such a way that both daily internet users and designers can benefit/pull info from this AND also small business owners who have basically been in the dark about the thing called the "internet"! I have had several people listen to this with me who have absolutely no idea about the internet and walked away with a much better idea of what they could do for their smaller businesses.
I recommend readers look elsewhere to learn about Google and internet strategies for business. The premise of the book is built on the idea that Google is a successful company and if you mimic them, with Jeff Jarvis as a guide you will be successful too. Unfortunately, there is little fact or reason in the book about when the strategies are appropriate.
I had hoped for more exploration of the case studies, rather than, what felt like cherry picking only cases that agreed with the author. As it stands, the book takes the tact of a cure-all prescription for whatever ails a business.
This book, while it does seem to be an exercise in what could be, is hopelessly one-sided throughout toward Google, has little to no counterpoints, and very little understanding of the business realities underneath some of these industries and why they do what they do.
It is written like a series of blog posts that are great for retweeted or sharable headline links. If you're looking for one-sided "Google is perfect" to reinforce your thought process, buy it. If you're looking for critical or thorough commentary or thoughtful writing, skip. I shoulda listened to the guy who wrote the first review.
"It seems that no company truly knows how to prosper in the internet age, except Google."
These are the opening lines of the book, and so the tone of the book continues: Google is perfect, the rest of the world sucks.
Any internet user with even a little knowledge knows that the reality of the situation is different: Google does some things well (search and monetising search) and have struggled in achieving traction with their other products.
Not worth the effort - I suggest reading "The Google Story" instead.
The Holistic Business Guy
The author does not have any hands-on experience inside Google, however he does put together an intriguing set of ideas around how Google and its peers (Facebook, Craig's List, etc.) will change our industries. He is very insightful and can see many things that I, being in the technology industry, never even imagined. For instance, what will happen to ad agencies? Are they toast? And if so, why don't they seem to be worried? What would a restaurant do if it approached its market like Google? Would its menu list the number of people who've ordered each dish? Would you see things like "people who liked this dish also seemed to like this one." This book changed my thinking about all industries and especially my own, IT consulting. I strongly suggest reading / listening to it.
A Business Analyst by trade, my professional portfolio includes new business concepts, technology, strategy, social business and digital disruption. On a personal side I dabble in a little physics, network science and crime thrillers. A 70-80 book a year listener.
Jeff Jarvis provides an educated and enlightening depiction of modern economics. A shift in business thought where Google has become a leading players. It will be interesting to review the book in 5 years time and see whether some his ideas have gained traction.
The book had a good compendium of facts and examples of ways that Google and working with Google has created tremendous value. In the same time, however, the author dismissed any other business model. I am not one to argue with success, but in the same time the world is full with other success stories which the author simply does not see fit to include. Even as he urges us all to be as open as possible and share every bit of information with the rest of the world, he never acknowledges that Google is often reclusive about its own methods (algorithms, strategies, etc). They urge customers and consumers to be open and make it easy for them in a variety of ways, including creating open APIs and infrastructure - after all Google makes money by essentially publishing other people's content. But in the same time when it comes to the real core knowledge and IP - they can be as closed as a Big Pharma.
All this is not to say that Google is not a revolutionary business from which anyone can lear a lot. This book, however is way too biased, skipping over problems and snags when the basic premisse is to be contradicted. Maybe it should be called Google Can Do No Wrong.
Becoming a data driven company benefits those who are smart enough to analyze the data and act on it. This is the (very, very) basic concept of the book. Jarvis shows what many types of businesses would look like if Google was in charge.
Very eye opening.
Jarvis starts off strong and finishes well. The middle is a bit boring though... he wanders off into some examples that didn't keep my interest. Regardless, this book is well worth listening to. It provides a great overview of Google's impact on the business world and ways that we can adopt these principles in our own interaction with those around us.
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