Reviewing: How Google Works

The Book

Recently Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Senior Googler, Jonathan Rosenberg, wrote a book called "How Google Works". The title probably titilated many marketers worldwide when the book was announced. However, the book is not about how Google's renowned search engine algorigthms work, rather it is about how Google works as a organisation.

Who Should Read It

If you manage people in any capacity or are about to manage people in any capacity, or if you are involved in the design or execution of a recruitment strategy, you should read this book.

What The Book Covers

Personally, I think that this book is going to be a modern classic in managment, and it has certainly struck a major chord with many (4.4/5 on and 5/5 on It covers Google's approach to:

  • Culture
  • Strategy
  • Talent
  • Decisions
  • Communications
  • Innovation

What We'll Focus On

We are going to focus on the Talent part of the book, but I cannot stress enough how closely intertwined Talent is with the rest of the chapters above.


"Hiring is the most important thing you do"
- How Google Works.

Below are the subheadings from the Talent Chapter, and my favourite quote from those sections. Hopefully, these short snippets give you an idea of what the book is like, an

  • The Heard Effect
    "A workforce of great people not only does great work, it attracts more great people."

  • Passionate People Don't Use The Word
    "Passionate people don't wear their passion on their sleeves; they have it in their hearts. They live it"

  • Hire Learning Animals
    "Our ideal candidates are the ones who prefer roller coasters, the ones who keep learning."

  • The LAX Test (UK Version: The Heathrow Test)
    "Imagine being stuck at an airport for six hours with a colleague. Would you beable to pass the time in a good conversation with them?" (this is my favourite one)

  • Expand The Aperture
    "The successful manager sets a wider aperture and rounds up people beyond the usual suspects."

  • Everyone Knows Someone Great
    "If everyone knows someone great, why isn't it everyone's job to recruit that great person?"

  • Interviewing Is The Most Important Skill
    "Conducting a good interview requires something different: preparation"

  • Schedule Interviews For 30 Minutes
    "A shorter interview time forces a conversation that's more protein and less fat."

  • Have An Opinion
    "The goal of an interview is to form an opinion"

  • Friends Don't Let Friends Hire Or Promote Friends
    "[Decisions are made by hiring committee] who's decisions are made on data not relationships or opinion"

  • Urgency of The Roles Isn't Sufficiently Important To Compromise on Quality In Hiring
    "In the inevitable showdown between speed and quality, quality must prevail."

  • Disproportionate Rewards
    "Exceptional people deserve exceptional pay"

  • Trade the M&Ms, Keep the Raisins
    "Don't let your employees get too comfortable"

  • Firing Sucks
    "The best way to avoid firing underperformers to avoid hiring them"

Do a Phil Collins...

... and take a look at me [yourself] now. The above excerpts could be considered common sense but how many of us really put them into practice. What do you think of these tips, do you have any of your own that you swear by? Let us know in the comments.

Getting the Book

Sadly I am not on commission but, still, buy the book. You can find it here on Amazon (UK). There is also a free slideshare of the book here.