Book Review: How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

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When my Dad gifted me book vouchers of a popular bookstore for my birthday last month, I was itching to buy some interesting non-fiction books. While browsing through the store, I noticed a white book titled ‘How Google Works’ under the section of newly released books and ended up buying it without a second thought. The book turned out to be exactly what I’d hoped it would be-insightful and engaging with many stories from Google’s journey and bits of humour and sarcasm in between.

Contrary to what one might initially assume, the book is not about the technology that Google uses to power its many products (search engine, Gmail, YouTube, Drive and so on), but how the organisation functions. Written by Google’s ex CEO and now Executive Chairman, Schmidt and former Senior Vice President Rosenberg, this book is divided into sections about hiring, creating a work culture, decision making and innovation.

As a Business Studies student, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the unique principles and factors that have shaped the way the company runs; factors that make it so successful and a company that thousands hope to join one day.

The one principle that stands out the most and is stressed on repeatedly is how important a company’s employees and work culture truly is. Google is known to have one of the best work cultures in the world (the book even mentions how one of the early engineers wanted to bring his pet ferret to the office and was told to go right ahead) and a very rigorous hiring process to ensure they hire what is referred to in the book, as a ‘Smart Creative’, each time. Google aspirants would find this chapter particularly useful as it roughly outlines the four categories used for evaluation of candidates; Leadership, Role related knowledge, General cognitive ability and ‘Googleyness’.

Another theme common to all sections in the book is the importance of data while making any decision, whether it’s about hiring, solving a problem, creating a strategy or starting a new product.

The chapter on Innovation was my favourite part of the book. It only makes sense for a company like Google to talk about such a factor, what with its ambitious projects of building self-driving cars and Project Loon, which hopes to provide wireless broadband service to the world through huge hot air balloon like devices.

All in all, whether you’re hoping to join Google one day or are just simply curious about the foresight and culture required to build a quality product and team, How Google Works should be next on your reading list for sure.

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wants to live in a world where afternoon naps are completely acceptable, regardless of age and work profile. The Editor around here, she's currently studying Bachelor of Business Studies at DDUC. Now that she's in her final year, she looks forward to making fucchas do all her work. Drop her an email at [email protected]; for questions, feedback or just to say hello!

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