"He Wears Black and Has a Beard"

Book Review: I'm Feeling Lucky

Toby Roworth

Dec 17, 2012

A few months back, a large change to my daily routine happened, changing the very fabric of my daily commute. It caused a broadening of my horizons, a deepening of my understanding and an escape for laughter, trapped in the body of a grumpy London commuter. The resulting journey, made of many smaller journeys has been one I can only look back on with gratitude.
I gave up the Metro!
In short, I was so tired of the quality (or lack thereof) of reporting in the Metro, and the content of the news in general, that I decided (with help from one who I'll call Rabbit, Racoon or Rattlesnake) to stop reading the Metro, and start reading books.
So far I've read Danny Wallace at the Centre of the Universe, some of The Geek Manifesto, The Colour of Magic, all interspersed with bits from the ESV Study Bible. And I've just finished "I'm Feeling Lucky, confessions of Google employee number 59"
Take a look at "I'm Feeling Lucky"
I keep it no secret that I like Google as a company - I have great admiration for how they do business, how they treat employees and how well their products work. As such, a book about their inside secrets could only be good, right...
Doug Edwards begins by painting a confusing picture of Larry and Sergey (Google's founders) in the early days of the business, in which he shows both respect for their extraordinary ability to be intelligent and annoyance at how they work. This portrait is rolled into the narrative of his experiences trying to, as a corporate marketing guy, fit into a small startup, who refused to do things the normal way.
As the book continues he frolicks about the first few years of Google, covering everything from product launches to the food.
Despite his primarily non-technical roles in the company there's still enough meaty tech to keep the geeks happy. There's also plenty of talk about relationships within the company, where you start to see how not all in Google is as rosy as it seems.
The book is quite revealing and honest in nature, but still leaves you thinking Google are at least as great as you thought at the start, which I wouldn't have though through the first couple of chapters. The book also makes a good guide, or at least reading material, for anyone beginning their own business - many people could learn a lot from how Google do things, and if every company were like Google the world could be a better place.
I leave you with the message that comes out of the book stronger than any other: don't be evil.
And read this book...