I came across a new review of the paperback version of my book on Larry Page and Sergey Brin (The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds of Larry Page and Sergey Brin), from the Business Standard in India.
Interestingly, it brings up one of the biggest criticisms I got about the book. I was too soft on them about privacy and other issues that show how evil they are.
Great opinion, but in my opinion a paranoid one. Look, I address those issues in the book I just don't buy the argument that they're evil. I did a lot of reporting, and everyone -- I mean EVERYONE -- I could find who knows and/or worked with them said they're honest, idealistic, and really feel that internet search is too important to corrupt in an attempt to make an extra buck.
In fact, that's why Google is successful. Gues what? If you actually focus on your customers, put them first, make them more important than advertisers, Wall Street analysts or stockholders, then you win in the market. Is this such a strange concept? Are people that cynical?
What's disturbing to me is what I believe to be the reason for the criticism. People have come to believe that ALL corporate executives are evil and have no priorities other than making themselves rich. Unfortunately, that's largely true, but not universal.
In 30 years of covering business, I have never come across anyone who seems to be as trustworthy as Larry and Sergey. And that's not just because I wrote a book about them. I also wrote a book about Jeff Bezos, and he doesn't come close to the idealism and honesty of Larry and Sergey.
If you think Google is evil, tell me why. I'll debate it with you. But the fact that they collect data about you online does NOT make them evil. I've got news for you, there are thousands of organizations collecting data about you every day. Get over it. Google is the only one that promises not to sell your data to others. (No, it does not sell it to advertisers. Google matches up your interests or Web sites with the ads, and Google decides where the ads go based on the data, not the advertisers.)
In fact, I'll go further and make you this offer: If you want to review the book -- on a blog, on Amazon, in an email to a friend, or just over the dinner table -- let me know and I'll send you a copy. Free. And I will not give, lend, sell or otherwise provide any information about you to anyone. Not even my wife.
Your review doesn't have to be positive, just honest. But be forewarned, I may respond in the Comments section wherever you review it, if there is one. I love honest debate and appreciate any help in spreading the word.