Book Review: Work Rules!
March 24, 2016


Today I bought three copies of the same book. Two were farewell gifts for a former boss and a colleague respectively, and one for a mentor. People who have been very supportive of me at work.

The book is 'Work Rules!' by Google VP of People Operations, Laszlo Bock. The title had just been restrocked at Kinokuniya after someone apparently cleared the rack and bought 40 copies home.

I too would buy the book for 40 other friends if could afford it. At RM70 for all 416 pages (17 sen/page), this is by far the most value for money book I had ever purchased. Every page is a joy to read, and filled with some of the most compelling ideas, anecdotes, and insights that are definitely worth way more than 17 sen.

The content aside, the most appealing factor of the book is the writer's tone, language, and economy in writing. None of the chapters are too short, or too long, and every paragraph serves a purpose.

One chapter that stands out from the book is about rewarding thoughtful failure -- 'thoughtful' being the key word here. In it, Laszlo recollected the unsuccessful launch of Google Wave. Some of us might still remember this behemoth of an app from 2009.

While the app did not meet expectations, the Wave team did toil for two years, and took a huge risk in undertaking the project. Such valiant effort must have counted for something. Plus 'reward' in this context is in the form of acknowledgement... instead of shares!

I might sound like I am overselling this book. Truth be told, I have always been skeptical of the many books out there that claim to delve 'inside Google'. And you should too. But the two that I have picked up so far have been absolute gems. (The other one is 'I'm Feeling Lucky' by Douglas Edwards.)

I've been meaning to review this book for the longest time, but never got around to doing it. So if you see these bright yellow covers the next time you're at the bookstore, do pick a random chapter and have a go before someone else grabs the last one (or 40) copies.




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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

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  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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