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I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 Hardcover – Jul 12 2011


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I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 + In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (July 12 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547416997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547416991
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.1 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #463,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

 "[A] highly entertaining new memoir...I’m Feeling Lucky is at its best, and most hilarious, in its account of the company’s earliest days."
-Bloomberg News

"Edwards does an excellent job of telling his story with a fun, outsider-insider voice. The writing is sharp and takes full advantage of the fact that Edwards was in a unique position to gauge Google’s strengths and weaknesses, coming as he did from an "old-media’’ background...Part of what makes the book so rewarding is Edwards’s endlessly nuanced take on his former company and its employees"
-Boston Globe

"Affectionate, compulsively readable. . . . This lively, thoughtful business memoir is more entertaining than it really has any right to be, and should be required reading for startup aficionados."
Publishers Weekly

"Although there have been many journalistic examinations of the world’s most valuable Internet brand, this is the first to capture the process and the feeling of what it was like to be there in the early days."
-Booklist

"[Edwards's] perspective as an early employee is valuable and unique...the former 'voice of Google' provides a detailed, quirky and expansive half-memoir/half-historical record."
-Kirkus Reviews

 "I’m Feeling Lucky is funny, revealing, and instructive, with an insider’s perspective I hadn’t seen anywhere before. I thought I had followed the Google story closely, but I realized how much I’d missed after reading—and enjoying—this book."
—James Fallows, author of Postcards from Tomorrow Square

"Douglas Edwards is indeed lucky, sort of an accidental millionaire, a reluctant bystander in a sea of computer geniuses who changed the world. This is a rare look at what happened inside the building of the most important company of our time."
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

"This is the first Google book told from the inside out. The teller is an ex-employee who joined Google early and who treats readers to vivid inside stories of what life was like before Google became a verb. Douglas Edwards recounts Google's stumble and rise with verve and humor and a generosity of spirit. He kept me turning the pages of this engrossing tale."
—Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It

About the Author

DOUG EDWARDS was the director of consumer marketing and brand management at Google from 1999 to 2005 and was responsible for setting the tone and direction of the company’s communications with its users. Prior to joining Google, Edwards was the online brand group manager for the San Jose Mercury News, where he conceived and led development of the technology news site siliconvalley.com.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brett H #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on July 9 2012
Format: Hardcover
Most people know that Google is a bit special. To evolve from a two man operation in 1996 to become one of America's biggest companies, not far short of Microsoft or Apple, is some achievement. Clearly they only did this by breaking the mould in a fairly significant way. It is pretty obvious that they are different. You only have to look at their main webpage to appreciate this. As the book explains, it is not so much what is there, but what is not there. The leading search engine in the late 1990s was Yahoo and their main page was so crammed with facts, adverts, links etc, that it was quite hard to spot the search box. Google decided early on to go in a completely different direction and keep their main page very simple. That is the way it is to this day, mimicked by the likes of Bing, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. They have never been afraid to be different and to think outside of the box.

The author was Google's 59th hire, hence the title of the book and joined the company in 1999. He was employed to head up marketing rather than being a techie in a very tech led company. This book covers his experiences between 1999 and 2005 and is a fascinating insight into how the company was run and what made it different. Google had a very flat management structure so everyone got involved in all aspects of the organisation and you get the inside track from Douglas Edwards on how these decisions were made. Innovation covered every aspect of Google. For example, unlike most start up internet companies, they did not go for state of the art hardware. Instead they put together a huge number of the cheapest servers they could cobble together and did not worry when some of them failed as there was always redundant capacity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 107 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Very different perspective May 16 2011
By R. Parthasarathy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
To be honest, I wasnt sure of what to expect from this book. The review copy arrived at the same time I got my hands on two other Google books- In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives and The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry). Both of those books are serious takes on different elements of Google. I wasn't really sure where "I'm feeling lucky" would fit in.
I was pleasantly surprised then to see it as a refreshingly unique and non-techie/non-geeky take on Google by a marketing guy who hit upon his motherlode with what was then yet another tech startup from the valley. Douglas Edwards, a marketing guy from the Valley who gets into Google without knowing much about the technology or where it would take him, makes an interesting person's eyes to view Google from.
There is some amount of technology covered here but more of the Dummies style where the author assumes the reader knows nothing. There is also a fish out of water element pervasive throughout the book that is alternatively funny and overdone. The other fun part about the book is the plethora of anecdotes from Google's early days from an insider. Some of these nuggets give a human tone to the massive entity that is Google. Some of the otherwise unknown and background characters from the early days of Google get their share of their limelight here. As someone who has read every decent book on Google out there, I came to know of quite a few such early day champions from Google.
Geeks might not find a whole lot of new stuff here but I liked the book for what it tries to be- an non-engineering insiders view of Google. Its fun and worth a read.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
like a homemade panorama, and a lot of thoughts on Marissa Mayer July 25 2011
By Locutus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
1) This book is great! Doug is a fantastic writer and a compelling story teller.

2) The book is pseudo chronological. As you finish one part that strolls along for a set period of time, you may have to regain your temporal bearings when he starts the next part chronologically *before* the last part ended. It doesn't detract from the story telling, but it's something to watch for. It's kind of like when people didn't have automatic panorama cameras and instead would take several shots along the horizon... then try to physically piece all the prints together with varying degrees of overlap. The overall picture is still fantastic, so don't let this bother you too much.

3) Marissa Mayer. He really, really seems to dislike her. I'm surprised I haven't seen more about this in the reviews so far. The first thing he says about Marissa in the book and the last thing are both framed positively. But in between she is the one topic he comes back to over and over throughout the book; with a lot more bad than good. He describes how she tried to use all sorts of manipulative and deceptive tactics to outmaneuver him, keep him out of key meetings, directly block his access to the founders and possibly lie about what they were saying, belittle his role in the company, go over and around him at every possible opportunity... and even that her relationship with Larry Page was strategically leveraged against him. Without ever actually putting it bluntly he also said that Marissa did more harm than good in just about everything she worked on. Every time he and Marissa disagreed it turned out he was right... this all according to Doug. He handled the topic of Marissa Mayer in what felt like such a casual, although repeatedly occurring, manner that as I was reading I wondered if he was even conscious of what he was doing or whether we are witnessing the work of a literary mastermind getting his ultimate revenge.
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A pleasant , but not exciting or insightful voyage into Google. July 17 2011
By Narut Ujnat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When I saw the premise of this book, I thought this book would be an interesting trip through how Google became one giant company that I, like millions of others, use everyday for a myriad of needs.

This book is a not an account of how the founders grew the company, nor is it an expose on Google business secrets. Rather, it is more of the story of how the writer went from a job in journalism in the Silicon Valley to working for what would become a major player in the Silicon Valley.

Through 400 pages, the book describes this journey in not unpleasant detail. Along the way, I learned that a lot of the supposed beliefs about Google were probably more the product of misinformation then malignant intent (such as the "Do No Evil" meme), and that Google operated like many technical companies in that the supposed well considered plans were often the product of haphazard planning and organization.

This is certainly not a bad book by any stretch, and some parts are compelling and interesting. However, those parts aren't coincident with the whole of the book. I found myself as a casual observer of Google often thinking that there was more that could be told. I think this book doesn't know what to be exactly. It isn't a technical primer, nor is it really a memoir as much as it is a pastiche of pieces written about an organization that grew exponentially in a way that the author, and probably the founders, never anticipated.

A good, but not great read. For a casual observer, there aren't really great moments of insight here, and for the technical geek, your definitely looking in the wrong place. Decent reading, but to my mind, no more. Worth the effort, but not a great read in the end.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Inside Track on Life in the Googleplex June 23 2011
By Brett H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Most people know that Google is a bit special. To evolve from a two man operation in 1996 to become one of America's biggest companies, not far short of Microsoft or Apple, is some achievement. Clearly they only did this by breaking the mould in a fairly significant way. It is pretty obvious that they are different. You only have to look at their main webpage to appreciate this. As the book explains, it is not so much what is there, but what is not there. The leading search engine in the late 1990s was Yahoo and their main page was so crammed with facts, adverts, links etc, that it was quite hard to spot the search box. Google decided early on to go in a completely different direction and keep their main page very simple. That is the way it is to this day, mimicked by the likes of Bing, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. They have never been afraid to be different and to think outside of the box.

The author was Google's 59th hire, hence the title of the book and joined the company in 1999. He was employed to head up marketing rather than being a techie in a very tech led company. This book covers his experiences between 1999 and 2005 and is a fascinating insight into how the company was run and what made it different. Google had a very flat management structure so everyone got involved in all aspects of the organisation and you get the inside track from Douglas Edwards on how these decisions were made. Innovation covered every aspect of Google. For example, unlike most start up internet companies, they did not go for state of the art hardware. Instead they put together a huge number of the cheapest servers they could cobble together and did not worry when some of them failed as there was always redundant capacity. They relied on viral marketing rather than a huge ad campaign which was very innovative as most internet startups at that time spent fortunes on advertising. To begin with they had no idea how they were going to make money, but had supreme confidence that money would follow success.

I think this is an interesting read for anyone but it certainly helps to put what is being discussed in perspective and to appreciate the depth of the innovation if you have a smattering of knowledge about the main business drivers for Google which are principally technology and marketing. Basically the company started off with a neat idea to rank search results more logically than anyone else was doing and then exploited the difference superbly. This should be required reading on any business management course - it demonstrates that an entrepreneur should not be afraid of turning perceived wisdom on its head and trying something different.

Apart from being an interesting read, you do learn a lot about what makes Google tick and come to appreciate not only that it is different, but why and how it is different. What a pity Mr Edwards left in 2005. Google have not stood still since then and it would be fascinating to get the inside track on what
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Thoughts on I'm Feeling Lucky July 11 2011
By Deirdre Honner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Having received this book as an advanced copy, I was giddy with excitement to read it. The book and the author didn't disappoint.

Doug Edwards gives a thorough overview of what it was like in the early days of Google, his acclimation and assimilation into all things "Googley," giving witness and words to Google's rise, covering epic events in our lives, and sharing funny asides that make the book worth every minute.

I enjoyed the personal accounts of the April Fools pages(and only confirming in my mind that some people just lack a sense of humor), 9-11, a conversation with the Church of Scientology, and interactions and business models between Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft.

It's a must read for anyone who loves technology, business and anti-culture. The ending is fitting and hopefully by now, Doug Edwards has caught up on some sleep.


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