Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg (Hachette) 2014, 286pp, RRP $32.99

If everyone did business like Google the world would be a better place, and now everyone can with this new book. Two Executives of Google – Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg – have shared their expertise about how to manage a business, and it’s inspiring.

The key to the company’s success is not computer science expertise per se, it’s excellence in people management. And while it’s not rocket science to say that treating employees with respect and being open and authentic is good business practice, it’s amazing how many corporations fail at the basics through fear, greed, laziness or a fatal combination. Google employees are encouraged to be openly critical every week – creating a positive feedback loop – and are given lots of free rein about how to manage their time: trust goes a long way with an individual and helps them feel valued and committed.

How Google Works - Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg - Hachette - The Clothesline

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

In some ways this book is Management 101, but in other ways it’s Management 2.0. In an era where information is prevalent, they’ve thrived through being open source and working with other Silicon Valley competitors – and they dare other businesses to consider the same for their industries.

At the heart of this book is authenticity and connectedness. The authors are very open about their failures, they write candidly and humorously – even if sometimes a little smugly, then again they have helmed a multibillion dollar success.

Unfortunately I can see that business leaders will read this book but be too chicken to do anything about it; too scared to embrace, welcome or action change. In their guts they may know that they are wrong but it takes those same guts to do something about it and I fear that for many it will be a nice read, inspiring even, but ultimately nothing will be done  – and global business workplaces and practices will be the poorer for it.

While this is very much a business textbook, it also says something about life. I extrapolated from it the importance of finding the thing that’s right for you and being authentic in your daily life and connecting; being honest and open. Basically, to be a good human. Rosenberg and Schmidt are engagingly good at being human beings – and at treating their staff as such – and that’s a large part of Google’s gigantic success.

Jenny Thompson

This title is available through Hachette Australia. Click here to purchase your copy.

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