Reading List: Googled

Ken Auletta has written a great book about the changes that are happening in advertising and in media, against a backdrop of Google’s rise to prominence, with some interesting insights into the Google culture.

Auletta seems to have enough proximity to some of the major players that he paints a vivid picture of the personalities and motivations of high-level Googlers, specifically highlighting why Google is different from most major corporations.  It would be interesting to hear an inside opinion of how accurate the portrayals were.

This book is a worthwhile read, whether you are involved in the tech industry, media, or even as a consumer who wants to understand more about why and how “free” really works on the Internet.

Reading List: Sway – The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

Sway is one of those books that makes you think about human behavior in an entirely different way.  By running through some common scenarios where people behave in seemingly inexplicable ways, and identifying some common themes, Ori and Ram Brafman provide perspectives and tools to help identify and avoid irrationality.  The story-telling reminded me a great deal of the styles of Malcolm Gladwell or Steven D. Levitt.  Anecdotal evidence was backed by some more rigorous analysis that made the ideas both compelling, and personally believable.

After reading this book, I settled on a new definition for Irrational Behavior: Acting in a way that is counter to or wasteful with regard to your true goals.

Just because someone doesn’t do what you want, doesn’t make them irrational, but when they start making choices that move them away from what they want, they have entered the realm of the irrational.