I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59

Douglas Edwards, Author
Douglas Edwards. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (432p) ISBN 978-0-547-41699-1
Reviewed on: 04/11/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-241-95655-7
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-1-84614-512-4
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-547-73739-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-8394-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-8356-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-8434-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-8473-5
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-547-54903-3
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-1-84614-513-1
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An affectionate, compulsively readable recounting of the early years (1999–2005) of Google from Edwards, its first marketing executive. Accustomed to a traditional corporate environment, Edwards found himself over his head when he came on board at Google, stymied by the hierarchy-free flat company that boasted about 50 employees (working at desks consisting of large wooden doors mounted on metal sawhorses) whose engine was doing 11 million searches a day, barely a blip against Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. The author describes the meteoric rise of a company where all assumptions were challenged, where every problem was viewed as solvable and skirmishes sprang from convictions, not ego, and where an idiosyncratic corporate culture (in-house massages and doctors, bacchanalian parties) reigned from its earliest days. The book's real strength is its evenhandedness; though the author notes the weaknesses of Google 1.0, the occasional mishandling of its own relationships with openness and disclosure, and founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's overweening confidence in their convictions—he also speaks with great warmth and respect about the evolution of a legendary company. This lively, thoughtful business memoir is more entertaining than it really has any right to be, and should be required reading for startup aficionados. (July)
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