In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Apr 12, 2011 - Business & Economics - 432 pages
498 Reviews
Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers.

Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.

While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more.

The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire.

But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?

No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Very interesting insight into Google. - Goodreads
The writing style is very down to earth. - Goodreads
Great insight into an intriguing company (so far) - Goodreads
Levy gives lucid explanations of the key - Goodreads
Great read and great insights on Google. - Goodreads
excellent insight from a brilliant story teller. - Goodreads

Review: In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

User Review  - Shrikant Navelkar - Goodreads

excellent insight from a brilliant story teller. Read full review

Review: In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

User Review  - Peter Mcloughlin - Goodreads

Good history on the culture of Google and its effect on society and computing. It is part business history it is part computer policy issue it is part tech. Google's story is an interesting and ... Read full review

All 28 reviews »


Prologue Searching for Google
Crackingthe Code onInternetProfits
How Google Built Its Culture
Building Data Centers That Hold Everything Ever Written
Is Whats Good for Google Good for Governmentorthe Public?
Epilogue ChasingTaillights

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Steven Levy is a senior writer at Wired, and was formerly senior editor and chief technology correspondent for Newsweek. He is the author of several books, including Hackers, Insanely Great, and The Perfect Thing. A native of Philadelphia, Levy lives in New York City with his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Teresa Carpenter, and their son. Visit him at

Bibliographic information