Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives Hardcover – April 12, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Prepare for your professional certification with study guides and exam prep tools from Wiley. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
The contradictions of the Internet search behemoth are teased apart in this engaging, slightly starry-eyed business history. Wired magazine writer Levy (Hackers) insightfully recaps Google's groundbreaking search engine and fabulously profitable online ad–brokering business, and elucidates the cutting-edge research and hard-nosed cost-efficiencies underlying them. He also regales readers with the "Googley" corporate culture of hip techno-capitalism: the elitist focus on braininess, the campus game rooms, the countercultural rectitude of billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (which can read more like puerile arrogance as they roller-blade into meetings with business-suited squares). Levy's narrative updates a familiar portrait of the company, with breathless accounts of recent innovations. He offers a smart analysis of the tensions between Google's "âÇÿDon't Be Evil'" slogan and its censorship of its Chinese Web site and the privacy implications of its drive to sponge up all information—but he accepts Google's blinkered conception of e-ethics and its demands for huge tax breaks with too much complacency. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Levy is America’s premier technology journalist. . . . He has produced the most interesting book ever written about Google. He makes the biggest intellectual challenges of computer science seem endlessly fun and fascinating. . . . We can expect many more books about Google. But few will deliver the lively, idea-based journalism of In the Plex.”
—Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Washington Post
"Almost nothing can stop a remarkable idea executed well at the right time, as Steven Levy's brisk-but-detailed history of Google, In the Plex, convincingly proves. . . . makes obsolete previous books on the company."
—Jack Shafer, The San Francisco Chronicle
"The rise of Google is an engrossing story, and nobody's ever related it in such depth."
—Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe
"Dense, driven examination of the pioneering search engine that changed the face of the Internet.
Thoroughly versed in technology reporting, Wired senior writer Levy deliberates at great length about online behemoth Google and creatively documents the company’s genesis from a 'feisty start-up to a market-dominating giant.' The author capably describes Google’s founders, Stanford grads Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as sharp, user-focused and steadfastly intent on 'organizing all the world’s information.' Levy traces how Google’s intricately developed, intrepid beginnings and gradual ascent over a competitive marketplace birthed an advertising-fueled 'money machine' (especially following its IPO in 2004), and he follows the expansion and operation of the company’s liberal work campus ('Googleplex') and its distinctively selective hiring process (Page still signs off on every new hire). The author was afforded an opportunity to observe the company’s operations, development, culture and advertising model from within the infrastructure for two years with full managerial cooperation. From there, he performed hundreds of interviews with past and current employees and discovered the type of 'creative disorganization' that can either make or break a business. Though clearly in awe of Google’s crowning significance, Levy evenhandedly notes the company’s more glaring deficiencies, like the 2004 cyber-attack that forced the removal of the search engine from mainland China, a decision vehemently unsupported by co-founder Brin. Though the author offers plenty of well-known information, it’s his catbird-seat vantage point that really gets to the good stuff.
Outstanding reportage delivered in the upbeat, informative fashion for which Levy is well known."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"An instructive primer on how the minds behind the world's most influential internet company function."
—Richard Waters, The Wall Street Journal
"[Steven Levy] spent much of the past three years playing anthropologist at one of the Internet's most interesting villages and set of inhabitants -- the Googleplex and the tribue of Googlers who inhabit it. . . . A deep dive into Google's culture, history and technology."
--Mike Swift, San Jose Mercury News
"The wizards of Silicon Valley often hype their hardware/software breakthroughs as 'magical' for the products' ability to pull off dazzling stunts in the blink of an eye. And true to the magicians' code, these tech talents rarely let mere mortals peer behind the curtains. . . . That's what makes Levy's just-out tome so valuable."
—Jonathan Takiff, The Philadelphia Daily News
"The most comprehensive, intelligent and readable analysis of Google to date. Levy is particularly good on how those behind Google think and work. . . . What's more, his lucid introductions to Google's core technologies - the search engine and the company's data centres - are written in non-geek English and are rich with anecdotes and analysis. . . . In The Plex teems with original insight into Google's most controversial affairs."
—Andrew Keen, New Scientist
"Steven Levy's new account [of Google], In the Plex, is the most authoritative to date and in many ways the most entertaining."
—James Gleick, The New York Review of Books
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Even Google mistakes are cast in a positive upbeat light. No real discussion of blunders like the Logitech Google relation with Google TV.
Wasn't explicitly looking for the bad....but just looking for something truthful and insightful. Google and its founders success are obvious. They've done great things and the founders and employees have done excellent ground breaking work. And the book is written well in the sense that it's easy to read and conveys information in the form of stories versus more dry treatments. However, it reads only like something a fan would write about their idol...and there are discrete instances where I even cringed at how much of a fanboy book this was.
It's unfortunate but a reality that it's hard to obtain inside access to companies in order to write about them and then not write anything but a glowing story. Otherwise...no one else will let you in. Not to mention that it's written about contemporary living powerful people and a corporation...so it would be intimidating to write anything more blunt. It's no wonder that you see books on the likes of Ford and Edison long after their time that are more of an exposure of reality....and we will probably have to wait 50-100 years to hear what really makes Google tick, how the founders think, and how the company works. Which is a shame because it could be helpful to entrepreneurs who really would like to learn from such folks and not just be fed fluff. The real deal, warts and all, the good and bad, will have to wait.
One of my favorite writers, Steven Levy of Wired, gained what may be unprecedented access to the employees and upper management of Google in order explore the history, the work environment key management decisions of one of the most innovative and culturally-influential companies of all time. Google manages this with 24,000 employees who see Google as the perfect employer for them. Levy describes Google as a place for the "unspeakably brainy", a kind of "geek never-never land" - just the right kind of environment to maximize innovativeness. Among the perks is the requirement for every engineer to spend a share of their time on personal projects. And as daunting as it sounds, Levy says Co-founder Larry Page actually still signs off on every single hire.
The co-founders Sergey Brin and Page literally started Google from a garage. (The name was a misspelling of the mathematical term for 10 to the 100th power - Googol. But the name stuck.) Their big idea: efficient searches and how to make money at it by selling keywords. Levy then leads us through Google's history of fantastic growth and innovation focusing mainly on big decisions in the firm. Among them the mistakes of handling the special case of China where media access is more controlled than Google would prefer and where management style of the China-based executives were more like a stodgy, old IBM than the free-thinking Google. The company with the motto "Don't be Evil", ultimately decided to leave the China market.
The rapid growth of the firm was itself a major challenge. That many smart people with the freedom and resources to chase many ideas could spread themselves thin. Some of the ideas could be technically possible because of the clever solutions Google staff would develop, but some ideas had other obstacles the engineering-oriented firm didn't anticipate. For example, Google's plan to scan in millions of books and offer them online ran into what should have been entirely foreseeable legal obstacles from authors. But as Levy describes in the first pages of the book, "To Google, it was a boon to civilization." It is this story that frames much of the rest of the book: visionary and cash-rich but somewhat naïve technologists struggle with practical realities of the rest of the world.
Some of the employee perks are drying up as economic hard times have even hit Google. The sheer size of the firm has required some amount of long-avoided bureaucracy and rapid acquisitions of firms the engineers thought were cool has slowed down. As Levy says, even the "Don't Be Evil" motto is now used as ironic humor by Google's detractors. But Google, with a $180+ billion dollar market capitalization is an example of a massive creation of wealth from one of a few areas where US exports lead the world: world-changing innovation.
Levy's telling of the Google story is based on access no other author had and, as a result, it is the best story about Google written to date.