Monday, September 26, 2005

The Search, by John Battelle

I was eager to read this book, since I joined Google just 2 years ago, when a lot of the history had already happened. (Amongst my big questions were: what happened during the experiment with traditional engineering managers?) Unfortunately, Battelle did not get that much access to Google, and hence was unable to write a complete account. Regardless, this book is worth reading, and since it is relatively short, won't take up too much of your time.

It remains for a Google old-timer to write the definitive book about Google's early history.

Eric Schmidt comes across as a man who is comfortable in his own skin. He's been a CEO or top executive for more than two decades, having been CTO at Sun, where he mad his first small fortune, then CEO of Novell, a major IT company, where he made his second. He knows when to smile, when to be gracious, when to keep quiet, and when to answer a difficult question with self-effacing acknowledgment. He brandishes subtle and humorous double entendres like a Japanese swordsman, a trait that almost offsets the superiority complex he shares with nearly every talented engineer in the Valley.

Despite these skills, one gets the impression that Eric Schmidt has yet to get entirely comfortable with his place at Google, his title as CEO notwithstanding...
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