In The Plex by Steven Levy

67%

7 Critic Reviews

...the book's easy-to-read yet factually dense series of vignettes are more concerned with Google's decision-making process and how it has shaped the ­company's attempts to reinvent every product it touches.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers.

Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.

While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more.

The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire.

But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?

No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.
 

About Steven Levy

See more books from this Author
STEVEN LEVY has covered Google for more than a decade, first at Newsweek, where he was senior editor and chief technology writer, and now at Wired, where he is senior writer. He has also written about Apple (Insanely Great and The Perfect Thing) and is the author of the classic book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. He lives in New York with his wife and son.
 
Published April 12, 2011 by Simon & Schuster. 437 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 01 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for In The Plex
All: 7 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent

Outstanding reportage delivered in the upbeat, informative fashion for which Levy is well known.

Read Full Review of In The Plex | See more reviews from Kirkus

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Paul Boutin on Apr 07 2011

...the book's easy-to-read yet factually dense series of vignettes are more concerned with Google's decision-making process and how it has shaped the ­company's attempts to reinvent every product it touches.

Read Full Review of In The Plex | See more reviews from WSJ online

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Above average
on Jun 05 2011

Google has shaped the way we use the Internet and even the way we view our world. If its past is any indication, it seems Mr. Levy will have to write a sequel in a few years.

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Boston.com

Below average
on Apr 27 2011

...the prose is rather pedestrian and the viewpoint almost fawning in its admiration...

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Business Insider

Good
on Apr 20 2011

...his reporting on how the China issue played out is captivating, as are the many details he fills out in Google's early history. If you're fascinated by Google, you've got to add this one to your library.

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Brain Pickings

Good
on Aug 09 2011

More than an ambitious — and often entertaining — profile of one of today’s most powerful companies, In The Plex captures a priceless piece of cultural history...

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European Institute

Good
Reviewed by William Marmon on Jun 01 2011

Levy’s description of the development of the fabled Google search algorithms are clear and authoritative and never before publicly so well explained.

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Reader Rating for In The Plex
80%

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