The best books about Google

Many authors have picked their favorite books about Google and why they recommend each book.

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The Shallows

By Nicholas Carr,

Book cover of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Nicholas Carr of The Atlantic magazine wrote that Google's rich database of information has changed the way we think by taking away our deep research and focus, while affecting our cognition and weakening our ability to think critically. This provocation sparked a very useful debate that continues to this day. In this book, he focuses on attention, knowing that the depth of our thinking is directly related to it. He concludes that in our Net environment, thinking becomes more superficial.

Who am I?

During my life, I’ve been told that I was not a true engineer, not a true banker, not a true CEO, not a true entrepreneur, not a true teacher… But one day an executive told me: “I want to work with you because you’re not a true consultant.” I then realized it is was a privilege not to be a true something! I like to call myself a corporate philosopher. Fellow of the BCG Henderson Institute, and co-founder of Cartoonbase, I split my time between the worlds of academia and business. I have published several other books on various subjects such as language, mathematics, humor, or fallacies.

I wrote...

Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World

By Luc de Brabandere,

Book cover of Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World

What is my book about?

AI and human intelligence. Fine, but who is programming who? The power of the computer should not come as a surprise since it was designed with the purpose of enabling humans to amplify their reasoning skills. But we should be aware that, if it allows us to think ahead, the computer influences our way of thinking as well. Thinking is clearly no longer what it used to be and, in my new book coauthored with Lina Benmehrez, I invite you to rediscover the art of thinking in a digital world through logic, creativity and sound argumentation!

This essay takes us back to ancient Greece where logical and critical thinking were first formalized. It also reminds us of more recent developments in cognitive sciences that include creative thinking. 

Building Secure and Reliable Systems

By Heather Adkins, Betsy Beyer, Paul Blankinship, Ana Oprea, Adam Stubblefield

Book cover of Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems

This book captures lessons from many authors at Google, some of whom I’ve worked with over the years. The chapters on availability (7, 8, 9) were a revelation to me. I had no idea how Google approaches the topic of resilience and recovery in their systems, and I now think of the whole topic very differently. The biggest takeaway is how to think about the design of systems.

Who am I?

Being able to understand and change reality through our knowledge and skill is literal magic. We’re building systems with so many exciting and unexpected properties that can be exploited and repurposed for both good and evil. I want to keep some of that magic and help people engineer – build great systems that make people’s lives better. I’ve been securing (and breaking) systems, from operating rooms to spaceships, from banks to self-driving cars for over 25 years. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if security is not infused from the start, we’re forced to rely on what ought to be our last lines of defense. This list helps you infuse security into your systems.

I wrote...

Threat Modeling: Designing for Security

By Adam Shostack,

Book cover of Threat Modeling: Designing for Security

What is my book about?

How to anticipate and address software threats before you’ve written a line of code. The proven tools in this book can be applied by anyone. They give you a structured and systematic approach that are be applied at any scale – from a website built with CI/CD to complex waterfall projects like spacecraft.

This book captures years of experience in a simple, accessible, and practical way.

Rules of Summer

By Shaun Tan,

Book cover of Rules of Summer

This is a picture book of very few words. If you Google it (which I just did, in case I missed the whole point), you’ll find it described as being about “two boys, one older, one younger.” They are not identified as brothersbut they sure feel like brothers. For me, this book captures so many of the emotions of a younger sibling: being protected; being left out; being the person someone is stuck with. Trust; mistrust; adventure; terror; not-quite-knowing-what’s-going-on-but- suspecting-someone-does-and-they’re-not-going-to-tell-you. It’s one of my favourite unsettling picture books. There’s raw childhood here in its mysterious words and images. And siblings. These are siblings. For sure. 

Who am I?

I’m the youngest of five, and my siblings are what shaped me and my world. Growing up, I never felt alone, except climbing the stairs to bed half an hour before anyone else (such an injustice!). We played cards and games and had noisy discussions throughout my childhood and youth, and we still do. I wouldn’t be me without siblings. It’s the relationship that most fascinates me. There are siblings in all the books I’ve written and probably in all the books I’ll ever write. It’s not a theme I look for when I read, but I recognize the feeling when I encounter it and it feels like home.

I wrote...

All Good Children

By Catherine Austen,

Book cover of All Good Children

What is my book about?

It's the middle of the twenty-first century and the children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a self-absorbed graffiti artist, doesn’t initially believe his little sister, Ally, when she tells him her schoolmates have changed. Then Ally herself comes home changed, and the treatment is extended to the higher grades. Will Max be "zombified" and turned into the boy his teachers always wanted him to be? Or will the family escape into the unknown world beyond New Middletown's borders? Can Max’s creativity save him? And can anything save Ally?

Leading with Noble Purpose

By Lisa Earle McLeod,

Book cover of Leading with Noble Purpose: How to Create a Tribe of True Believers

All too often, managers try to motivate their employees with money and outrageous perks. If that stuff worked, these companies would have a fully engaged workforce. Leadership expert Lisa Earle McLeod tackles the employee engagement crisis by showing leaders how to put workplace meaning front and center. Lisa’s book includes plenty of examples of how to put her words into action. It’s an easy read, with a very important message.

Who am I?

I’m one of the world’s leading experts on the maximization of talent, who is the author of six books on leadership and talent. I’m also a LinkedIn Top Voice in Leadership and Workplace, and one of the few people who was a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, with Bill O’Reilly, who left the show unscathed.

I wrote...

Can We Talk?: Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson,

Book cover of Can We Talk?: Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work

What is my book about?

Having difficult conversations at work is a necessary discomfort. Instead of avoiding these conversations with our boss, colleagues, or direct reports, you need a strategy that won't leave you feeling like you were being talked at or ignored.

The key to solving this problem starts and ends with changing the conversation. Recognizing that it takes two people to engage in meaningful conversation, Can We Talk? outlines what each contributor needs to do to achieve the best possible result. Illustrated with scenarios from everyday work situations, the author offers guidance on how to create the right conditions for a meaningful discussion as well as defining the seven key principles (confidence, clarity, compassion, curiosity, compromise, credibility, and courage) that enable both parties to gain a deeper understanding of what the other person may be thinking and establish their point of view more clearly.

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