3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Business · Entrepreneurship · Technology

BR 145: In the Plex by Steven Levy

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments:  I really enjoyed the book. I find Google, as a company, awe-inspiring and this book gave great insight into why Google functions the way it functions by giving an insight into the genius that is Larry Page. Sergey Brin is painted as the dependable supporting act. It is a great read if you are a technology enthusiast.

We can’t all be like Larry Page. But, what I found amazing about him is that he is a learning machine. He has clearly learnt how to learn and goes on accumulating expertise and understanding of a broad array of topics. Great entrepreneurs demonstrate that ability – I’ve seen the same trend in the books about Jobs and Bezos. They were/are learning machines.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Larry Page is exceptionally smart. That’s one of those things that just strikes you when you read this book. He is probably as high IQ as it gets and just thinks on a whole different level. To really understand Google, you have to understand Larry Page. Google is Larry Page’s machine learning project – he wants to shove as much information into this machine and then make sure they use it make humanity smarter/better.

2. Both Sergey and Larry built Google by constantly asking “why not.” Google has practically reinvented the idea of an office by making it similar to a lovely university dorm. Larry refused to have customer service staff and instead suggesting replacing it with support forums where users helped each other. They did their IPO differently, they did email differently –  by consistently asking “why not.”

3. A bit tangential – people fantasize about college drop outs who go on to become billionaires. It is telling that the billionaires who are talked about are drop outs from Harvard college (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg), or in this case, from the top computer science P.hD program in the world at Stanford university.

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