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432 pages, Hardcover
First published April 12, 2011
Steven Levy did a phenomenal job of making a topic, that I new virtually nothing about, personally interesting and relevant. He did an excellent job painting the early atmosphere of Google the start-up company and it's gradually rise to the multi-billion dollar business giant it now is. However, there were two things that prevented this book from being worth 5 stars: 1. There are so many people in this story that it's honestly difficult to keep everybody straight. Levy did a pretty good job of reminding the reader in short blurbs about each person's previous influence in different parts of the book, but still it was a bit overwhelming. 2. Related to that, Levy chose to break his book into distinct sections dealing with specific products or fields of business ventures. This didn't particularly trouble me until I was about halfway through the book and realized that some of the things that were being discussed at the end of the book actually developed at the very beginning of Google's history. I actually felt demoralized towards the end when it became clear that I really had no solid conception of Google's history in realtime. That being said, if Levy had included a short timeline and character list somewhere in the index, I would have personally enjoyed the book more (though, going into it, I wouldn't have thought it would be necessary and therefore, possibly, didn't pay the most attention to his initial descriptions). However, like I said, I'm a complete novice in this field. It's entirely possible that readers who are already actively engaged in the tech industry might not need all the study guides I would have viewed as helpful and it certainly only marginally deflected from the great work he otherwise accomplished.
Then again, maybe I should have just used Google to figure it out?