How Google Works: the Humans behind the Mountain

 Backstage stories about How Google Works from Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

How Google works. How many times did you search this phrase on internet?  Now, you have to stop doing this. And that’s because Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg are completely answering your question through their book… How Google works. Start reading the book summary below to have a clue what it is all about and get a ride through the best nuggets (visual quotes from books) we selected from Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg’s book.


Combining passion and contribution: the path to a wealthy & healthy company.

First of all, let’s have a small preview over these two authors’ professional background.

Starting with 2001 Eric Schmidt was CEO at Google for more than 10 years and his professional engagement was remarkable. Since 2001, the company has been growing from a Silicon Valley start-up to a global technology leader with offices in more than 40 countries. Eric is now Google’s executive chairman.

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Jonathan Rosenberg – currently an adviser to Google CEO Larry Page – joined Google in 2002. He was in charge of managing the design and development of the company’s consumer, advertiser, and partner products.

This is, in short, over a decade experience of those two authors.

We are used to see Google as a mountain that’s making a large shadow for any hill that aspires to become higher. But what is there behind that mountain? Corporate culture and strategies. Creativity and talent. Decision-making and communication. Innovation  and facing disruption.

“As Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, says: <In the old world, you devoted 30 percent of your time to building a great service and 70 percent of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.>”

This book is offering us the opportunity to have full access to lessons learnt and valuable advice regarding products, human resources and openness to new. You will have the pleasant feeling that you are peeking at what’s happening in Google as a company. The feeling that somebody is sharing you a great secret and also allows you to use it in your favor.

You probably noticed that this book seems to be written in an informal style. It’s true. I give you one more hint: you will also find here insider funny stories from Google’s history, part of this being shared here for the first time. Why did authors choose this approach? Maybe because important lessons and valuable information are learnt and treated easier in that way. After all, it’s easier for any of us to remember a joke rather than a solemn speech.

“Professor Raymond Wolfinger once observed, ‘the plural of anecdote is data’.”

How Google Works?

There are some concepts analyzed here – in this book – that drew my attention. Don’t try to find chapters dedicated to each of these concepts. It will be a total waste of time. And that’s because those concepts are interdependent. I will describe these in a few lines below, also leaving authors’ words speak by themselves.


Leading a team is a big issue. But only if you don’t manage it right. So, how much confidence should you have in your people? Should you let them innovate and find their own solutions?

The authors’ answer: a team-leader needs to have confidence in his people. And he also needs to have enough self-confidence to let them identify a better way.

Leading a team is a challenge. How should you react when a valuable employee tells you he is leaving? First best thing you can do is try to change his mind. Second: “congratulate him on the new job and welcome him to your company’s alumni network.”

And now it’s time to find out how big should be a team? I’ve just loved Jeff Bezos’ approach:

“Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, at one point had a “two-pizza team” rule, which stipulates that teams be small enough to be fed by two pizzas.”



Creatives have ideas. And this may make your business more valuable on the market. But how do creatives work?

“Smart creatives thrive on interacting with each other. The mixture you get when you cram them together is combustible, so a top priority must be to keep them crowded.”

Creatives are innovative. This is a truism.

Creative ideas may generate growth to your company. This is simple reality.

Creatives are valuable to your business. That’s author’s point of view. I agree. Soon you’ll probably do the same.

“If I give you a penny, then you’re a penny richer and I’m a penny poorer, but if I give you an idea, then you will have a new idea but I’ll have it too.”


The main source of innovation is represented by the people. Not the competition. Not the market. In fact, being focused on your competition is more likely that “you will never deliver anything truly innovative.”

“The most valuable result of 20 percent time isn’t the products and features that get created, it’s the things that people learn when they try something new.”


“Create a product, ship it, see how it does, design and implement improvements, and push it back out. Ship and iterate. The companies that are the fastest at this process will win.”


Sometimes failure seems to be the most valuable lesson you can learn. Learning from mistakes may be a sign of wisdom but above this is a great resource of innovation. Rephrasing failure will help you see new opportunities and find new ways to improve your business.

 “It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall.”

How Google Works?


Debbie Biondolillo’s approach (Apple’s former head of human resources) on defining a manager is brilliant. He said:

 “Your title makes you a manager. Your people make you a leader.”

Achieving the title of “manager” definitely is a great and challenging opportunity.

Becoming a manager is almost a process. Eric describes a three-week rule for a fresh new start in management field:

  • “for the first three weeks don’t do anything”
  • “listen to people, understand their issues and priorities”
  • “get to know and care about them, and earn their trust”

From my point of view, there is also a fourth rule that should be added. This rule says that you should take into account facing the mirror, trying to understand how your employees see your manager skills. In short:

“Make sure you would work for yourself.”

I’ve enjoyed reading this book. I bet you’ll do the same. And I must confess that one nugget was stuck in my mind and followed me while I did my job these days. I’ll share it with you and hope it will have the same effect.

“It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness.”

Want to get the full book in Kindle version? Get it from here:
AmazonHow Google Works- by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg from Audible

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