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Google Speaks: Secrets of the World's Greatest Billionaire Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page Hardcover – May 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In many ways, Google is the prototype of a successful twenty-first-century company. It uses technology in new ways to make information universally accessible; promotes a corporate culture that encourages creativity among its employees; and takes its role as a corporate citizen very seriously, investing in green initiatives and developing the largest corporate foundation in the United States.

Following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett Speaks and Jack Welch Speaks—which contain a conversational style that successfully captures the essence of these business leaders—Google Speaks reveals the amazing story behind one of the most important new companies of our time by exploring the people and philosophies that have made it a global phenomenon in less than fifteen years.

Written by bestselling author Janet Lowe, this book offers an engaging look at how Google's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, transformed their vision of a better Internet search engine into a business colossus with about $16 billion in annual revenue. Lowe discusses the values that drive Brin and Page-for example, how they both live fairly modest lives, despite each having a net worth in excess of $15.9 billion-and details how they have created a culture that fosters fun while, at the same time, keeping Google at the forefront of technology through relentless R&D investments and imaginative partnerships with organizations such as NASA.

In addition to examining Google's breakthrough business strategies and new business models-which have transformed online advertising and changed the way we look at corporate responsibility and employee relations-Lowe explains why Google may be a harbinger of where corporate America is headed. She also addresses controversies surrounding Google, such as copyright infringement, antitrust concerns, and personal privacy and poses the question almost every successful company must face: as Google grows, can it hold on to its entrepreneurial spirit as well as its informal motto, "Don't do evil"?

What started out as a university research project conducted by Sergey Brin and Larry Page has ended up revolutionizing the world we live in. Google Speaks puts these incredible entrepreneurs in perspective and shows you how their drive and determination have allowed them to create one of today's most powerful companies.

About the Author

Janet Lowe is the author of the bestselling Warren Buffett Speaks, Jack Welch Speaks, and Bill Gates Speaks, all from Wiley. Her articles have appeared in such publications as Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047039854X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470398548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,602,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janet Lowe's career as a writer has included everything from freelance feature writer to technical writer, poet, reporter, editor, media spokesperson and author of 18 books and audiotapes.

The "Speaks" series -- small, carefully researched biographies of American leaders including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and the founders of Google -- are her best-known books. Among her full-length biographies is Damn Right: The Story of Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger.

Lowe is a leading authority on the value investing theory. Her books on that subject include Benjamin Graham on Value Investing, Value Investing Made Easy and others.

Her books have been reviewed by USAToday, Newsweek, Barron's, and dozens of other national publications. She has been a guest on Jim Lehrer's News Hour, the PBS Nightly Business Report, CNN, CNBC and many national and local televisions shows.

Lowe's freelance articles have appeared in more than 100 publications including Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Modern Maturity, Planning Magazine and others.

A popular public speaker, Janet has addressed investment seminars in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. She has appeared before audiences at the University of Nebraska and University of Nevada at Las Vegas business schools. She has been a guest speaker at the New York City Financial Analyst's Society and has been asked to speak to private companies such as Brandes Investment Partners in Del Mar, California.

Lowe grew up in California and Nevada, attended Las Vegas High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Economics from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She earned her Master's Degree in Mass Communications from San Diego State University. She completed a Wharton Business School fellowship and has a lifetime teaching certificate in California.

Janet has been a San Diego YMCA Woman of Achievement. She is past president of both the San Diego County Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists. She was named San Diego Press Club's Journalist of the Year in 2000 and again in 2007.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Micky Lee on July 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The usefulness of this book depends on how much the readers know about Google. To readers who think Google is nothing but a search engine, this book can be passed as informative. To readers who have read other Google books and know quite a lot about the company, this book does not add much. In fact, I doubt the writer knows much about the technology of Google. She seems to have some difficulties with explaining what PageRank and AdSense are.

The content organisation is terrible. In one chapter, the author spends great length reciting the origin of the name Google, the logo, and doodle. In another chapter, she tries to cover all the legal cases against Google. It may make sense to spend at least one chapter on intellectual property; another on free speech, etc.

The conclusion? Well, if you possess the qualities of Brin and Page, and Buffet and Oprah, perhaps you will succeed too! But I bet that Brin and Page did not waste their valuable time on books like this one at Stanford.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Olson on December 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed in this book. I actually bought it from Borders, the local bookstore, instead of online so I could get a head-start at reading it. I got through the first two chapters with a lot of difficulty. The content skips around in a haphazard way and was very hard to follow. It seems like a lot of juicy information, but so disorganized that I could not move on. I did skim the rest of the book, and the first few paragraphs of each chapter followed suit. I ended up returning it to the bookstore for a full refund. I recommend searching for articles and videos on Google, as a company, online before buying this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The "good news" is that just about anything about Google is at least somewhat interesting - including "Google Speaks"; the "bad news" is that the book is sloppy and superficial. Sloppy because it has a few misspelled words (inexcusable in this day of spell-checking), obvious misstatements (eg. company value rose to "$100 million" (billion), inferring that the company laid off 10,000 during the 2008 downturn, and claiming the firm has 6,000 PCs (other sources suggest many more);superficial because it lacks clear structure, and provides few, if any, details about its Dutch auction IPO, click fraud, pornography revenues, and the business plan for digitizing all/most books and Street View. In addition, the book lacks any breakout of revenues by product line, information on its anti-trust vulnerability, and conflict of interest vs. Apple (two overlapping board members).

Yet, there's still interesting material eg. both Larry Page and Sergey Brin are sons of scientists, are Jewish, received a Montessori School education as children, and both attended Standford to pursue a PhD in computing science. Google just catalogued its one trillionth Web page, has expanded from just the two of them to 20,000 (more or less), and latest advertising revenues (about $16 billion, with $4.2 billion net) are almost as great as the four major TV networks - combined.

Their initial attempts to obtain funding were rebuffed, partly because there already were 37 search engines at the time, partly because they had no business plan. Lucky for Google's founders. Google is used over 200 million times/day, and has a 71.7% market share (76^ of search-engine revenues). Google provides its search engine for AOL and Mozilla Firefox.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J.R. Sedivy on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Google Speaks is the first "Speaks" book I have read, apparently there are two others - Warren Buffett Speaks and Jack Welch Speaks, both of which I plan on reading after having read this book. The style is conversational which makes it accessible for technologists and the general population alike. This book basically traces the roots of Google back to the childhood of the company's founders through the eyes of the founders, family, friends, colleagues, investors, and employees, which in total provide a comprehensive picture of Google and the culture within that company.

Google Speaks is really rare in that it was over 300 pages, but felt like a short book as it is so engaging and conversational. What I really enjoyed about this book it that it felt very fair - at some points the company and it's leadership are praised, while at other times it is critical. The good, bad, and ugly are all presented here. There is much valuable content here - the Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and cloud computing personally stand out for me, as well as the glossary which provides a nice resource of Web (and Google specific) definitions.

Great book for those interested in Google, a motivating success story, Internet search and advertising, or just a good, engaging story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edwinder Singh on September 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The read was certainly interesting and enlightening. Considering that I'm already a fan of Google, and somewhat know their journey of growth and fame. It contained things that were already well known to me, but some smaller facts which I found quite interesting. The whole book suddenly discredited itself when I found a simple factual blunder, which simply discredited any other facts that may have been in there. Janet Lowe is suddenly discredited as just another author who's out there to make a quick buck by not researching extensively. Extremely disappointing especially when she probably 'goggled' everything else to write this book.

Flickr was acquired by Yahoo, not Google.
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Google Speaks: Secrets of the World's Greatest Billionaire Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page
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