Earlier in my career, before being able to get into companies like Amazon, I was very interested in how big organizations operate. I started my career in Human Resources (HR). As such I used to research most famous people in HR across the globe.
It was natural to look at Google. I read two books providing insights into Google: How Google Works, and the one I chose to review today. This is how I learned about the person who designed the Google employee experience: Laszlo Bock.
What this book is about
This book was written on the basis that we spend most of our time at work. Accordingly, we deserve a compelling experience as employees. Work Rules draws upon most important theories in behavioral economics and psychology. It is full of examples across industries with focus on how things work at Google (until date considered as one of the best places to work).
This is not a book. It is rather a playbook. It breaks big principles into actionable steps.
All examples cited in the book demonstrate that employers and leaders must always find a balance between structure and creativity. Successful organizations did not solely focus on their share of the market and their bottom line. They also work on optimizing their employees’ experience.
I recommend that you look into the book’s website in order to learn the gist of it.
What I liked
I personally learned a lot from reading this book especially that I read it quite early in my professional life. Over time, I worked on implementing several takeaways. It is a comprehensive book when it comes to the employment lifecycle. I additionally thought that the author was funny, and he made accessible some concepts that may not be easy to digest.
The book was praised, and it continues to be.
What I liked less
There are a few things I did not enjoy much in the book and other things I did not agree with. I will not speak about this. Instead, I wish to share my personal experience.
As I keep mentioning, I worked for a few large American organizations. I noticed a common pattern. What is written in Bock’s book is not specific to Google. It is adopted to a great extent by similar organizations to Google. Yet, the adoption is oftentimes from a branding perspective. It is usually inconsistent across verticals, geographies, or else.
A successful organization is not only as described by business schools: one with sustainable competitive advantage. It is an organization that acts upon what it preaches consistently even if this means contributing to enhancing local laws, changing mindsets, and forcing better ways of operating.
Who should read this book
Every professional should read this book. I particularly highly recommend it to entrepreneurs. People who decide to set up their own organizations. People who have the luxury of creating. People who are not subjected to legacy systems, to politics, and to rigid bureaucracies.
Why you should read this book
Reading this book gives you a different perspective to managing talent. It is filled with ideas that one can realize in a shape or form. I think that it is always good to benchmark where your practices stand against others’… and this book is quite revealing!
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