How Google Works

by Eric Schmidt , Jonathan Rosenberg

Number of pages: 304

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

BBB Library: Corporate Success, Operations Management

ISBN: 9781455582341

About the Authors

Eric Schmidt : Eric served as Google's CEO from 2001 to 2011. During that


Jonathan Rosenberg : Jonathan joined Google in 2002 and managed the design and development


Editorial Review

In an era when everything is speeding up, the best way for businesses to succeed is to attract smart-creative people and give them an environment where they can thrive at scale. HOW GOOGLE WORKS is a book that explains how to do just that.

Book Reviews

"How Google Works is not about the technical functioning of its search or email services, but how the company is managed. The promise is that if you too run a company (or aspire to do so), you will learn the secrets of Google's success." The Guardian

"In “How Google Works,” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg offer a firsthand account of how they and their inner circle created Google’s early management techniques by applying algorithmic precision to often complex challenges." The Wall Street Journal

"“How Google Works” is a breezily written and occasionally insightful guidebook for running companies in an age of rapid technological change. It is not, as that exceedingly lame footnote shows, an especially revealing look into the influential juggernaut that has changed the way we learn about one another and the world. Despite the overweening title, there is little information here about how Google actually works — how its co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and their brilliant colleagues have built an online service of almost unlimited intelligence and surprising prescience and in the process overturned the media landscape." The New York Times

"How Google Works comes at a time when we have access to an Alexandrian library of information at the click of a mouse. Google is the web's lodestar, a driving light in the murky skies of the net. Although it might not delve deep into the philosophy of the company, or provide us with its world view in any depth, what it does do is provide us with a blinking view of what it is to work at one of the world's most successful companies. For that voyeuristic reason alone, it is worth reading." Independent

"In a new book, How Google Works, written with Google’s director of communications, Alan Eagle, Schmidt and Rosenberg distill several insights they’ve developed for setting strategies and hiring, motivating, and directing employees." MIT Technology Review

"Now two of Google’s architects have analysed what they think worked and why. Eric Schmidt, the current chairman and former chief executive (and also a board director of The Economist Group, this newspaper’s parent company), and Jonathan Rosenberg, a former senior manager, decrypt the firm’s methods for other business leaders to learn from." The Economist

"In How Google Works, a new book to be published later this month, chairman Eric Schmidt and exec adviser Jonathan Rosenberg pull back the curtain to reveal how the company created its unique culture of workplace innovation." Fortune

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

Hire only when you’ve found a great candidate.

Don’t hire people who are political or manipulative.

Don’t hire people who only live to work.

Don’t hire people who just want a job.

Hire people who will add value to the product and your culture.

Don’t hire people you can’t learn from or be challenged by.

Hire people who are smarter and more knowledgeable than you are.

If you focus on your competition, you will never deliver anything truly innovative.

If you attend the meeting, attend the meeting. Multitasking doesn’t work. If you are in a meeting and using your laptop or phone for something not related to the meeting, it’s obvious your time is better spent elsewhere.

Attendance at meetings is not a badge of importance: if you aren’t needed, leave, or better yet, excuse yourself ahead of time.

Meetings should be manageable in size: no more than eight people, ten at a stretch. If more people need to know the result of the meeting, make sure you have a process for communicating it rather than bringing them in as observers, which lowers the quality of the meeting and the people’s ability to talk openly.

Any meeting should have a purpose, and if that purpose isn’t well defined or if the meeting fails to achieve that purpose, maybe the meeting should go away.

Scenario questions are often helpful, but more so when interviewing more senior people, because they can reveal how a person will use or trust their own staff.

Being a good interviewer requires understanding the role, reading the résumé, and—most important—considering your questions.

The résumé tells you that a person got high grades in an elite school while majoring in computer science and running track; the interview tells you that the person is a boring grind who hasn’t had an original idea in years.

In a peer-based hiring process, the emphasis is on people, not organization. The smart creatives matter more than the role; the company matters more than the manager.

Hiring should be peer-based, not hierarchical, with decisions made by committees, and it should be focused on bringing the best people into the company, even if their experience might not match one of the open roles.

From the outset, Google’s founders understood that to consistently hire the best people possible, the model to follow wasn’t that of corporate America, but that of academia.

There are a lot of factors that made Google Search so much better than the competition when it launched, but the heart of the product’s advantage consisted of this single technical insight about using the web’s link structure as a roadmap to the best answer.

This is another way to kill facilities envy among smart creatives: Be very generous with the resources they need to their work. Be stingy with the stuff that doesn’t matter, like fancy furniture and big offices, but invest in the stuff that does.

Messiness is not an objective in itself, but since it is a frequent by-product of self-expression and innovation, it’s usually a good sign. And squashing it, which we’ve seen in so many companies, can have a surprisingly powerful negative effect. It’s OK to let your office be one hot mess.

“Googlers” are not knowledge workers, at least not in the traditional sense. They are a new kind of employee, a type we call a “smart creative,” and they are key to achieving success in the Internet Century.