Summary of In the Plex

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Rating

7

Qualities

  • Eye Opening
  • Background
  • Engaging

Recommendation

Journalist Steven Levy’s previous books about Macintosh computers and about hackers make him the perfect insider-outsider, with the knowledge to write a detailed history of famously private Google. Granted unprecedented access, Levy appears to have insightfully interviewed everyone about every moment of Google’s history to present this canonical version of the company’s saga. Levy seems a little too close to his subject, so perhaps his book is not a warts-and-all chronicle, but most of the stories are fascinating, and it is all well reported. getAbstract recommends this heavily anecdotal history to readers who are launching a start-up, intrigued by computers and cultural history, or interested in a nice, detailed dose of the truth behind all those Google rumors.

About the Author

Steven Levy is the author of The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness; Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything; and Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.

 

Summary

Beginnings

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google. Neither man thought big at the beginning. Big was nothing. They both thought in terms of global. Page was brilliant, farseeing and magnificently ambitious. He so strongly believed in routinely attempting the impossible that his co-workers joked: “Page went to the future and came back to tell us about it.”

The partners met when Brin was Page’s guide on a San Francisco tour. Both studied computer science at Stanford University in California and reveled in the future they saw coming – a time when everyone would be connected. Brin completed his bachelor’s degree in three years and became one of Stanford’s youngest-ever PhD students. He finished his required courses quickly and took whatever modules he liked in search of a doctoral thesis topic. Studying computer science, Page became fascinated by how web pages linked. He set out to find a way to navigate the vast random online world and created the PageRank program, which “rated websites by the incoming links.” It granted higher status to pages linked to the greatest number of other pages. After some refining, he realized that its power lay not in “ranking annotations...


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