Thursday, November 20, 2008
Nerd indicator #2: Don't be evil
To keep up the nerdy image (thick rimmed glasses and all) I just finished reading The Google Storyand I totally nerded out about it. I couldn't put it down!
The book starts with the development of the system and technology of the search engine while the Google duo (Sergey Brin and Larry Page) were at Stanford and then goes through the rise and rise of the company. The book claims on the back cover that "This book was not created, authorized, or endorsed by Google Inc." But they wouldn't really have anything to complain about and I totally wouldn't be surprised if they funded the whole thing. The author even attempts to make the whole computer/software/business story a little risque and sexy (attempts not succeeds) with a chapter called 'Porn cookie guy', another called 'Playboys' and another about the 'burning man' festival with mention of getting naked around a burning effigy. He also quickly argues himself out of the small amount of criticisms he makes and provides many favourable comparisons with 'evil' Microsoft. And despite the obvious bias I still bought in to the whole 'don't be evil' Google mantra wholesale! It makes Google look like the cool guy from the Apple Mac ads and Microsoft the PC guy.
I loved getting info about how the ranking of search results works, the conditions at Google offices (massages, time to work on your own projects, free ice-cream days etc) and the floating of the Google stock which made many of the employees super rich. There is even a whole chapter on the apparently legendary chef who cooked up nutritious organic food for all the employees.
And now that I have finished with Google I dipped into Sacre Cordon Bleu: What the French know about cookingand I am already addicted. It starts with the burning of recipe books by celebrity chefs and then Micheal Booth, his wife and two young children are off to Paris so that he can study at the famous cooking school - Le Cordon Bleu. By the time Madame Raffarin shows them around the Parisian apartment full of shelves of dusty antique books, vast oil paintings and fading velvet curtains with views of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower (and then they excitedly spy the boulangerie and chocolatier on the street below) I was hooked! I am already dreaming of moving to Paris or at least having an extended holiday there.