Just out and very current, this book by Ken Auletta should be on a lot of people’s reading lists.

Within the first 4 pages I found myself putting down my reader, picking up a pen and making notes.

Do you have a sales force? Read this book.

Are you managing the same way you did 5 years ago? Read this book.

Have you never thought about the inefficiencies in your industry? Read this book.

Do you use Google? Read this book.

Do you work with engineers? Read this book.

Do you read a newspaper, listen to music, watch TV? Read this book.

Are you inventing the next Google? Read this book.

You get the point. Google and others gave Auletta amazing access to themselves and their organizations. As a result he’s pieced together a unique perspective of Google and the waves it’s created from inception right up to a few months ago.

The picture you get is of a company almost naively focused on engineering and inefficiency. Out to save the world while disrupting it in unforeseen and unrecoverable ways. Awkwardly managed by a couple of geeks and a smart but unremarkable CEO who somehow has managed to hold it all together without either getting fired or going postal.

You get a picture of competitors or those hit by the Google wave, like the large media companies who were both dismissive and scared. Caught between existing constituents and existing revenue streams while watching their entire worlds come crashing down around them.

Auletta spends lots of time discussing Google as the next Evil Empire – and the picture you get is that it sure could be – but hopefully, maybe, probably isn’t (depending on what industry you’re in) because the current leadership hopefully, maybe, probably still do believe in doing no evil. Given all the data Google’s collecting, it does make you think what could happen if Google got into the wrong hands.

Overall a very interesting read. And if you’re a leader/manager of anything you will find the Auletta’s observations interesting and thought provoking.

Xmas is coming. You might want to put Put Googled: The End of the World as We Know It on your x-mas list!