I expect one of two things from a business book: an eye-opening new perspective that I would never have stumbled on myself, or a concise summary of insights that might occur to me if I had more free time to ruminate on the subject and lots of yellow pads and pens with me at all times. Most business books disappoint in both categories and amount to 200-400 pages of fluff that might have been worth a read as a 2000-word magazine article when there’s nothing good on TV.
Jeff Jarvis’ What Would Google Do? is the first business book I’ve read in a long time that’s not actually a slog to read. It doesn’t deliver any stunning new perspectives, but it’s a worthwhile and readable summary of insights and lessons gleaned from observing not only Google, but also Facebook, Flickr and other successes of the Web era. Jarvis presents the lessons in a breezy narrative style and doesn’t dwell on them unnecessarily, which is a nice change from most biz books that put each simple concept through a taffy machine to stretch it to fifty mind-numbing pages. There are lessons about platforms, openness, speed, elegant organization and their implications for the Web and other industries.
I won’t bore my huge and dedicated audience by rehashing a lot of stuff from the book. Instead, I’ll humbly suggest that if you’re shopping for a business book that won’t put you into a boredom coma on your next flight, get WWGD.
The book: What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. (Amazon. A Kindle edition is available)