How Google Works


Here’s a few notes from the book How Google Works. In outline the book discusses the importance of organizational culture, strategy, hiring, innovation, and communication. There’s lots of nuggets in there, but it all feels a bit higgledy-piggledy, so hence the reason why I’ll pick out a few bits and bobs instead of attempting a fuller summary. You can decide for yourself whether you want to buy it and find our more:

Here’s some good thoughts on hiring:

  • Hire people who are better than you
  • Hire people who add value to your culture
  • Hire people who will get things done
  • Hire people who are enthusiastic and self-motivated
  • Hire people who work well with others
  • Hire people who are ethical and communicate openly
  • Don’t hire people who only think about problems
  • Don’t hire people who just want a job
  • Don’t hire people who prefer to work alone
  • Don’t hire people who only live to work
  • Don’t hire people who are political or manipulative
  • Hire only when you’ve found a great candidate and don’t settle for anything less.

Here’s some good thoughts on meetings:

  • Meetings should have a single decision-maker/owner
  • Meetings should have a clear focus or purpose
  • Meetings should have an actionable outcome
  • Meetings are not like government agencies – they should be easy to kill
  • Meetings should be manageable in size
  • Meetings should begin and end on time
  • Meetings should be ‘attended’ – i.e. no multi-tasking, multi-screening etc.

And here are a few other nice quotes:

“The tailwind of Google’s marketing and PR engine and brand wasn’t nearly strong enough to overcome a headwind of mediocrity”

“Offices should be designed to maximize energy and interactions, not for isolation and status”

“no amount of strategy can substitute for talent . . . What is the single most important thing you do at work? Hiring.”

“The world’s best athletes need coaches, and you don’t?”


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