Tech and Internet giant Google was founded nearly 17 years ago, and shows no signs of slowing down. Chances of landing a job there are slim for many hopeful applicants. It is “25 times more selective than Harvard, Yale, or Princeton,” author Laszlo Bock points out in his new book: Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead.
At Google, Bock currently works as SVP of People Operations, a department name which sounds like a modified Human Resources driven heavily by experimentation and analytics. He is on the chain that determines whether someone will be hired at Google, so it’s very important to make a careful study of the inside look he provides. He highlights ten tips or rules for being happier and successful in your work, even if you’re not a “Googler” or Google employee.
Some rules are obvious, such as promoting an environment for staff to be empowered and achieve fulfillment. Bock devotes a lot of attention to explaining the perks of a Google job (free meals, extra maternity leave, using 20% of your time for side projects). These flashy additions aren’t merely for bragging rights. They contribute to an employee’s productivity and happiness at no or little cost to employers, he argues.
Equally fascinating is the in-depth discussion about tactics that have yet to be embraced at large by companies: the lengthy interview cycle via committees, unequal compensation (strongly performance-based rather than by market research), and taking power away from managers. Applicants for management positions are interviewed by the very Googlers they will supervise.
Work Rules! is a title that can be taken in two ways. Firstly, it’s a list of rules. However, by framing the phrase with an exclamation mark, there’s the second layer of saying how work actually rules! In other words, work is fun and something to be celebrated. “It’s not right that the experience of work … should be so demotivating and dehumanizing,” Bock explains.
Despite the data crunching and seriousness of this topic, Work Rules! carries a light tone, drawing curious readers into the heart of the Googleplex facility and culture. It doubly feels interactive because you’ll want to have Google Search on hand to read more about products that he mentions. Did you know about the search trick “Do a barrel roll,” for instance? This next keyword is not addressed in the book, but you might also try “Atari Breakout” on the Google Images page if you have more time to while away.
Whether you love or dislike Google, it’s a company that has done so much to shape today’s world. You’d be remiss not to pay attention. Work Rules! is a good place to start and it may even help you as you strive to be a leader at the workplace.