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Google It: A History of Google

Review

Google It: A History of Google

GOOGLE IT!: A History of Google provides a young adult friendly overview of the past, present and, even future of Google, and readers likely won’t have to Google a thing while reading! I selected the term “overview” intentionally as it touches on one of my criticisms of the book. However, the book also has numerous positive qualities worth touting.

First, it utilizes a narrative nonfiction writing style that makes the reading accessible and engaging. The type of nonfiction writing in GOOGLE IT in no way resembles the dry, confusing and unreadable writing, the kind that is often found in textbooks, that is usually associated with nonfiction. Redding follows a narrative strand throughout the book presenting the story of Google and its founders.

"Throughout the book Redding encourages readers not to limit themselves or their dreams to the possible....she provides role models for limitless thinking."

Second, Redding appeared to keep her targeted audience at the front of her mind as she wrote as the facts that she included, the analogies she used and the tone that often comes across in her writing will likely appeal to young adults. For example, when writing about Larry and Sergey needing money to keep Google going and the process of looking for investors, Redding used an analogy about an older sibling making a deal with a younger sibling that results in making of money on the part of the younger sibling, but with a total succession of control to the older sibling. “How about I give you TWENTY WHOLE DOLLARS, they say, if you do my chores for a year?” (p. 64; pagination is from the advanced reading copy).

The third, and perhaps most significant, positive quality of GOOGLE IT is that it highlights the story of two graduate students who achieved the seemingly impossible task of organizing all the world’s information. And who continue to not be limited in their vision of what is possible by what was previously considered impossible. Throughout the book Redding encourages readers not to limit themselves or their dreams to the possible. By sharing the story of Google and Larry and Sergey, she provides role models for limitless thinking.

I have two major criticisms about GOOGLE IT; the first of which could probably be chalked up to the copy I read being an advanced reading copy, but the second cannot be as easily brushed away. As stated the copy that I read for review was an advanced reading copy (ARC) and it clearly states on ARCs that “This is an uncorrected proof.” However, throughout my reading of GOOGLE IT I stumbled upon grammatical error after error, which severely detracted from my reading. It is my sincere hope that these errors were fixed before the final copy was published. Along those same lines, I found some of the print too faint to read or without enough contrast to the background. Like the grammatical errors, this could be a result of it being an ARC as it was printed on newsprint type paper that likely is of a lesser quality than the final paper with which the book was produced. This issue could also be a result of my old age and deteriorating eyesight!

My second, and more important, criticism of the book is that Redding doesn’t appear to present a balanced story of Google, Larry and Sergey. The information that is provided and the light with which it is presented is overwhelmingly positive or neutral at best. The potentially problematic issues surrounding Google, its founders and its business practices are not thoroughly presented from all sides. The author blurb on the back of the book states that Redding was previously an investigative journalist, but she doesn’t seem to apply any of that balanced reporting to this book. I question whether this is because she intended this to be a book for young adults and didn’t think that this audience could draw its own conclusions about the issues after reading a balanced book.

Even with my two criticisms of the book, it is definitely a book that I will recommend to others.

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on October 15, 2018

Google It: A History of Google
by Anna Crowley Redding

  • Publication Date: August 14, 2018
  • Genres: Nonfiction, Technology, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • ISBN-10: 1250148227
  • ISBN-13: 9781250148223