How Google Works Book Review

how-google-works-book-reviewShort Profile

Title: How Google Works – Updated With New Chapter
Author: Jonathan Rosenberg & Eric Schmidt
Year: 01/09/2007
Length: 286 pages
Genre: Business, Management
Short Description: Focus on the user and all else will follow. Even though this something really challenging in the current business environment, this is the only way to real success. How Google Works explains how the big G build not one, but multiple extremely successful products and service, which we are daily using.



A relaunch of the book “How Google Works” first issued in September 2014. The new version has a new chapter and updated cover – showing the new logo of Google.

The two masterminds behind Google search engine – Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric Schmidt – reveal to the world some of their techniques and strategies that are helping them run a billion-dollar business.

How Google Works, covers some of the most important topics to run and maintain a successful business – corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, planning, time management.


My Opinion

I bought it from the Miami airport on my way back after a WordPress conference. I didn’t have the time to visit a bookstore, on my visit there, but I wanted to buy a book so bad. Even though, before I buy a book I do some investigating – read reviews, see what is about, see how it will help me – I didn’t do any in this particular case. The Google logo was convincing enough.

At times, the book can become a bit hard to read. The writing style is mostly formal, which is quite normal for a business book and for people of this rank. I am just mentioning to have it in mind.

About the book itself – it offers really interesting insights from the founders of Google. If you are running a company or you are planning to start one in the near future, you should definitely read what  Mr. Rosenberg and Mr. Schmidt have to say. There are a lot of things you can “steal” and implement both in your business and also in your daily life. That’s right, the book itself can help you change your business, but also help you change your life in a positive and more productive direction.


Key Takeaways:

Here are some of the most insightful things I would really like to remember from this book:


Think Big, Act Small

Even though Google is an enterprise company with more than 60,000 employees – it still acts in a very humble model – thinking big and acting with small steps. And it actually makes a lot of sense.

Think Big – Think about solving big problems that will have a huge positive impact on people and humanity as a whole. Even if you are one man army, you can still act towards this thought. Yes, you probably won’t be able to impact billions of people, but that’s shouldn’t stop you. You can still help 10, 20, 100 people around you by teaching them how to make a tree house or how to start a blog, for example. As for companies, what best way to increase your productivity and map your future other than setting big goals?

Act small – we often get lost in the noise, sort to speak, and we start doing a shit load of things, thinking that we can go like this forever. Multitasking is an interesting word but something you should better avoid doing. Yes, you can start replying to an email, while speaking over the phone and chatting on Facebook and meanwhile, eating a donut. Eventually, you will notice that none of the things you’ve done are made good. Hell, even the donut didn’t taste that good.

Do stuff one step at a time and


What Could be True in 5 Years

The job of a CEO is not only to think about the core business but also the future. Most companies and people fail because they get too comfortable doing what they’ve always done. And that fatal today – page 251… to check again.  A great question to ask, if you are thinking of starting a new project, new product line, hire someone or simply thinking about quitting your current job and going to another place.

“I want to quit firm X and go work for firm Y. Ok, but what will be true in 5 years? In five years I want to have my own business. To accomplish this, I will need more time but If I join firm Y, I will be more busy with my new position. Thus, won’t have enough time starting my own company. I better stick with firm X for now and use the spare time establishing my own company.”

When you ask yourself the questions “What could be true in 5 years” you can really think about how things might change for that period of time. Think about different outcomes of the decision you are thinking of making now. This question alone will give you a lot of perspectives and things to think about.


Spend 80% of Your Time on 80% of Your Revenue

One of the most important decisions every person makes is how to spend his or hers time. No matter if you are running a billion dollar company with thousands of employees or you are a stay at home mom  – you have to be very strict with the things you allow to occupy your day.

If financial success is what you aim for, make everything possible to spend most of your time, around 80%, on your main income stream.

The other 20% of your time you can spend on new ideas, innovations, basically trying out things you’ve always wanted. The shiny new idea often sounds really interesting and it can be hard to resist ditching everything else and start that new blog, app or a video course.

However, choosing the new idea over the already established business is a really bad financial decision. Your main business, or job, is already there, making you money. You’ve put a lot of work to be where you are now and neglecting it won’t do you any good. You have to eat and pay the bills, right?


Review Yourself

The authors really got me thinking here.

One of the most basic rules Eric Schmidt has is this: make sure you would work for yourself. By that, he means reviewing your work and thinking about whether you will work for yourself if you were someone else.

If you are a bad manager, you as an employee will hate working for you. The same goes the other way around: if you are a bad employee, you as a manager will hate having you. If this is true, then you have a lot of work to do.

But that can be extended way more:

Self-reviewing your work, habits, how you communicate with others, eat, sleep, spend your day is probably the best thing that you as a person can do for yourself. Our lives are quite complexed and we interact with a lot of different people on a daily basis, thus there are a lot of things we can do differently, in order to improve ourselfs and become better.

At least once per year, or every 3 months, write a review about your own performance, but not only about your work performance, include your overall life performance. Are you satisfied with your personal relationship, habits, your work? Once ready, read it and see if you would want to be you. Additionally, you can share it with the people most close to you. This way you will give the other person freedom to be more honest and really share what are your downsides.


Focus on The User

If you are into SEO, like me, you will know that Google search algorithms are based on the user experience. Basically, if your website is optimized for the readers, you will have higher chance to appear on the first page of Google for a particular keyword.

Google focuses on the user regardless everything. They know that even if a particular change or a fix to the website may cause a temporary decrease in the income this will be for a short period of time. Later, this change will attract even more visitors, thus more income.

You can easily imagine this by visiting a website full of ads. Immediately after you access the site you are bombarded by different commercials about things you will never buy. When you try to leave the site it gets even worst, you can’t close the page because a pig pop-up is blocking you from leaving. The website clearly doesn’t care about his visitors. Yes, it might make some extra buck but from all the people trying to escape this joke but are accidentally clicking on ads. However, in the long run, the site won’t make it unless major updates are made. Unless the administrator of the site doesn’t understand that if want to make it you have to put yourself in the client’s shoes.

The above applies for basically every business. Client trust is most important thing in the current century. This happens by always thinking about your end user and whether what you do, or don’t do, will resonate with their needs.


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