How Google Works Book Review

Plus some of my favourite quotes from the book

Although the title may suggest this is a book about how the Google search engine works, it is actually a book about business culture and how Google as a business operates. And it’s a really good one at that.


I find business books tend to be a bit hit-and-miss; they are often either too ambitious to apply to your company, or just too corny to take seriously. But How Google Works gets it just right - providing insights on business practices used at Google as well as take-away examples which are easily relatable to any modern business.

“They are a new kind of animal, a type we call a ‘smart creative’, and they are the key to achieving success in the internet century.”

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the strong emphasis on how to treat employees right - particularly what Google like to call ‘smart creatives’ - the determined internet generation we find working in modern companies. There are many things I could relate back to from this, (although I wouldn’t say I’m as intelligent as some of Google’s product engineers) I understand that employees in modern companies must be treated differently to traditional companies; particularly when it comes to free reign and contribution. Your company must be rife with letting smart creative types have opportunity and choice, or they will quite frankly get bored and leave.

“Innovative people do not need to be told to do it. They need to be allowed to do it.” - Udi Manber

Which brings me on to my next point: innovation is a big focus of the book, and this is excellent. There are many practical examples of how to encourage innovation from employees in the workplace, something which we all know Google does extremely well.

“Giving the customer what he wants is less important than giving him what he doesn’t yet know he wants.”

The book also gives Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg the opportunity to admit some of their mistakes, which are honest and funny, but fundamentally are learning tools.

How Google Works is a primer for any modern business looking to succeed - particularly in the technology sector - and whether you’re a manager or an employee, I highly recommend you read it.