Book Review: Inside Larry and Sergey’s Brain by Richard L. Brandt

3 min read

Original Title: Inside Larry and Sergey's Brain
Author: Richard L. Brandt
Published: 2009

I have read only two books from this series (second was Inside Steve’s Brain) and I found this book about Google founders very general compared to the other one. It doesn’t go into details about their management style and techniques, how they motivate their employees or what their thinking process is. It is more focused on Google as a company, as a representation of them. I pretty much didn’t find any inspiration which I could use as a manager in my daily work life. Information I have learned was more about the company and its failures, successes and struggles.

Also, please take into consideration that this book was published in 2009 and the content of the books ends in 2008, so any information about what kind of projects, plans, successes and struggles Google has, is very outdated.

What I take from this book

Here are three things I have learned from this book (not necessarily about Larry Page and Sergey Brin):

Too much money can make you dumb and blind

Having too much money from the investors and no or very little restrictions on spendings will make you not to look at the business fully from the top to bottom as you can ignore costs, risks and need to create income. But when the streams of money dry out, you already need to have a strategy in place, not to start looking for one, because there is no such thing and as too big or too famous to fail. One mistake, one bad decision, one deal taking too long to sign can be the start of the end.

Having a monopoly equals being bad company

When you are too big and have a monopoly in some industry, you are automatically considered as the evil big company, the enemy, the suppressor who doesn’t let others play. You can also be called “a bad company” if you profile yourself as non-profit (or for example open source) and then you decide to create a profitable company, as happened to Google. They originally wanted their search technology to be kept on an academic level, but decided to set up a company around that, which some see as a betrayal of their cause.

Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo

Because something works or has been done in some way, it does not mean that there isn’t a better, more effective or cheaper way to do the same thing. Search engines existed before Google and then they came up with different approach and took the world by storm years later.

Fun fact

One of the new things I have learned (or actually put together as I never thought about it in this context) was the dot-com bubble and Y2K bug, especially its influence on the dot-com crash in early 2000s. During preparation for Y2K companies massively invested into new technology to fix the problem in advance, but because the apocalypse did not happen and it all turned out to be just panic, they stopped the investments pretty much on the spot which caused disruptive waves across the whole industry and helped destabilize the internet boom.

Would I recommend this book?

If you are new to entrepreneurship, the rise of Internet stories and online business, this could be a good book to pick up and start your journey. If you are looking for some practical information on how to lead people, make better decisions or how to create your own successful company, look somewhere else. This is not a book for you.

But if you want some easy reading for the road or before bed, this book can work for you.

Is this book a keeper?

No. Unless you are a Google fanatic.

Marek Le Xuan

Hello there! I'm Marek Le Xuan, passionate educator, prudent planner, life-long learner, and Google Sheets lover. On this and other platforms, I share ideas, tools, and practices about entrepreneurship, self-improvement, planning and lifestyle design, so enthusiastic individuals and organizations like you can achieve their goals in life and business. My mission is to help you own it, be a badass and kick ass!