How Google Works 2nd Ed.

The Rules for Success in the Internet Century

Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle

Publisher: John Murray Press, 2017, 286 pages

ISBN: 978-1-444-79249-2

Keywords: Biography, Management

Last modified: May 9, 2020, 10:16 a.m.

How Google Works is an entertaining, page-turning primer containing lessons that Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg have learned while helping grow Google from a young start-up to a global icon. Using anecdotes from Google's corporate history, How Google Works covers everything that managers need to know to be successful in the digital age:

  • corporate culture
  • strategy
  • talent
  • decision-making
  • communication
  • innovation
  • dealing with disruption

Schmidt and Rosenberg explain how technology — the internet, mobile and cloud computing — has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers. The companies that will thrive in this ever-changing landscape will be the ones that create superior products and attract a new breed of employees whom the authors dub 'smart creatives'.

    • How Alphabet Works
  • Introduction — Lessons Learned from the Front Row
    • "Just go talk to the engineers"
    • The Finland plan
    • When astonishing isn't
    • Speed
    • The "smart creative"
    • A fun project for the two of us
    • Pyramids unbuilt
  • Culture — Believe Your Own Slogans
    • Keep them crowded
    • Work, eat, and live together
    • Your parents were wrong — messiness is a virtue
    • Don't listen to the HiPPOs
    • The rule of seven
    • Every tub (not) on its own bottom
    • Do all reorgs in a day
    • The Bezos two-pizza rule
    • Organize the company around the people whose impact is the highest
    • Exile knaves but fight for divas
    • Overworked in a good way
    • Establish a culture of yes
    • fun, not Fun
    • You must wear something
    • Ah'cha'rye
    • Don't be evil
  • Strategy — Your Plan Is Wrong
    • Bet on technical insights, not market research
    • A period of combinatorial innovation
    • Don't look for faster horses
    • Optimize for growth
    • Coase and the nature of the firm
    • Specialize
    • Default to open, not closed
    • Default to open, except when …
    • Don't follow competition
      • Eric's Notes for a Strategy Meeting
  • Talent — Hiring Is the Most Important Thing You Do
    • The herd effect
    • Passionate people don't use the word
    • Hire learning animals
    • The LAX test
    • Insight that can't be taught
    • Expand the aperture
    • Everyone knows someone great
    • Interviewing is the most important skill
    • Schedule interviews for thirty minutes
    • Have an opinion
    • Friends don't let friends hire (or promote) friends
    • Urgency of the role isn't sufficiently important to compromise quality in hiring
    • Disproportionate rewards
    • Trade the M&Ms, keep the raisins
    • If you love them, let them go (but only after taking these steps)
    • Firing sucks
      • Google's Hiring Dos and Don'ts
      • Career — Choose the F-16
        • Treat your career like you are surfing
        • Always listen for those who get technology
        • Plan your career
        • Statistics is the new plastics
        • Read
        • Know your elevator pitch
        • Go abroad
        • Combine passion with contribution
  • Decisions — The True Meaning of Consensus
    • Decide with data
    • Beware the bobblehead yes
    • Know when to ring the bell
    • Make fewer decisions
    • Meet every day
    • "You're both right"
    • Every meeting needs an owner
    • Horseback law
    • Spend 80 percent of your time on 80 percent of your revenue
    • Have a succession plan
      • The World's Best Athletes Need Coaches, and You Don't?
  • Communications — Be a Damn Good Router
    • Default to open
    • Know the details
    • It must be safe to tell the truth
    • Start the conversation
    • Repetition doesn't spoil the prayer
    • How was London?
    • Review yourself
    • Email wisdom
    • Have a playbook
    • Relationships, not hierarchy
  • Innovation — Create the Primordial Ooze
    • What is innovation?
    • Understand your context
    • The CEO needs to be the CIO
    • Focus on the user …
    • Think big
    • Set (almost) unattainable goals
    • 70/20/10
    • 20 percent time
      • Jonathan's Favorite 20 Percent Project
    • Ideas come from anywhere
    • Ship and iterate
    • Fail well
    • It's not about money
  • Conclusion — Imagine the Unimaginable
    • From Downton Abbey to
    • Who succeeds and who fails in a world of platforms?
    • The emergence of the social web (and a start-up called Facebook)
    • Ask the hardest questions
    • The role of government
    • Big problems are information problems
    • The future's so bright …
    • The next smart creative.


How Google Works

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: June 30, 2020, 12:37 a.m.

Interesting book about Google from some of the extreme insiders.

With that said, doesn't say anything that haven't been said by other authors (which they acknowledge in the book as well) and in more depth.

If you're curious about Google/Alphabet, you can read it, but there is no great insights in. Decently, if somewhat boringly written.


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