I read two books up at the lake. David Vises "The Google Story" was an entertaining and informative history of Google from humble beginnings as Larry Page and Sergey Brin's Stanford PhD project to the earth shaking internet giant Google.com. I didn't feel I was getting any really "deep" information however. I kept feeling as I often do when talking to people at Google that they are simply too loyal and too enamored with Google to share insights that might reflect poorly on the company. I'm actually in the picture of Matt Cutts taken at SES San Jose last year. The very favorable tone seemed odd because Vise is a distinguished reporter. I'm wildly guessing that he (perhaps even subconsciously) sacrificed some critical observations in exchange for better access and candor about the basic story.
This "guarded" nature of comments about Google dovetails with points made in Scoble and Israel's "Naked Conversations", the second book I read up at Odell Lake which I'll review next.
Overall though I remain convinced that Google is
1) Special, especially with regard to the incredible intelligence, innovation, and involvement of the founders. The rapid ascent of Google may allow more of this "founders energy" to have a positive impact than where a company grew more slowly.
2) Sincere. This is a slippery slope but I think they remain fairly steady and non-compromising about doing great stuff for the right reasons.
3) Overpriced. I simply don't understand the stock price, which seems to assume Yahoo and MSN have no interests or abilities relating to grabbing a bigger share of the online advertising pie.