In The Plex - Steven Levy

In The Plex

By Steven Levy

  • Publication Date: 2011-04-12
  • Genre: Business & Personal Finance
4 Score: 4 (From 98 Ratings)

Book Overview

Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers.

Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.

While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more.

The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire.

But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?

No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.

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Users Reviews

  • Very informative and captivating

    4
    By FirstRateTechie
    This book kept me engaged from beginning to end. I now have a complete understanding how Google thinks and works from the inside. Even though I have been a Google user since the beginning of the company, I have a better understanding of their products as well after reading this book.. Very inspirational story in pursuing what you want, overcoming hardships and simply asking "why not?" Would recommend this book to anyone. Chris Hobbick New York, NY
  • Revealing look at Google and a Data Driven Organization

    4
    By Screaming98
    This is a very interesting look into the nature and operations of Google. It presents some of the character and business model of Google. It also is a look at the nature and uses of data collected on the internet. The story about the uses of data mining to help translation services clearly demonstrates some of the surprising aspects of artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, the later sections of the book do not keep up with the expectations set by the first half. This may be a reflection of the changing environment that Google and we find ourselves in. I find this book complementary to "The Search: How Google and it's Rival Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture" by John Battelle.
  • Puff piece

    2
    By Lngtones
    This book is a Google fan's dream come true. Every Google failure is billed as something the public is just not ready for. How can you write a book about Google and not describe how TERRIBLE the search results have become as people have learned to game the system. The massive fraud in their ads. Google has become a giant malware distribution system, and none if that is even mentioned. The writing quality is excellent, but the philosophy and premises are gag worthy.
  • Great book

    4
    By Drepell
    Great book! The author left me feeling like he wrote an authentic piece while maintaining a healthy admiration for google! It gave some great management lessons but really makes you understand what all these guys - gates, jobs and all their second generation kids have. Persistence and passion. Nice book I highly recommend it!