WWGD? – The book

I’m delighted to tell you that I just got a contract to write a book: WWGD? – What Would Google Do?

I’m reverse-engineering Google, taking the lessons and rules I find in their singular success in the internet economy and applying them to other companies, industries, and institutions. And then I’ll pontificate about the greater importance of Google and links on society and life.

The book will freeze-dry onto paper many of the ideas we explore here. And I’ll continue to explore them here as I write. I decided to approach the book/blog relationship that way, rather than putting up finished chapters and asking you to react to them. It’s more interesting and more valuable to me to have a discussion about our experiences as part of the process. So I’m grateful, as always, for your sharing your thoughts, perspective — and corrections. That’s one of the lessons in the book: It’s a gift economy.

Considering all I’ve written here about the digital future of the book, it is ironic that I’m killing trees. I blame Seth Godin as my nudge-muse, who sat me down at lunch sometime ago and said I was a fool not to write a book because it is a vehicle to get ideas out (and get speaking engagements in). Seth’s only written three or four books since he gave me that advice. So I’m slow to pick up. But it’s good advice.

Of course, I’ll also be applying Google rules to books in the book.

The book was bought by Collins, an imprint of Harper-Collins. My editor is Ben Loehnen and my agent is Kate Lee at ICM. It’ll be out next spring.

Now I have to get to work.

  • http://simoncast.blogspot.com Simon Cast

    Oh, I was hoping you were going to do that book on startups we spoke about. I am looking forward to that one! I’ve even got a title “The Entrepreneurs Guide to the Galaxy” :)

  • http://videopancakes.com Mary

    Congrats, Jeff. Great news.

  • http://www.sixtysecondview.com David Brain

    I think Hugh MacLeod would describe a book as a social object. Something that allows you to start and have more conversations and richer conversations. All the very best with it. Will you reverse engineer PR companies by the way? We could do with some help.

  • http://www.Dilloncommunications.com/blog Chris Dillon

    Congratulations, Jeff.

    There’s something about publishing a book that changes the way that people think about you and your work. And it’s a uniquely gratifying, interesting, frustrating and enlightening process.

  • http://www.scunnered.com Kyle MacRae

    Fantastic idea getting your readers to write your book. Looking forward to the revenue share model :)

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society robertdfeinman

    Ironic to be using dead tree technology to explain its antithesis.

    Examining your choice might be instructive. (I mean having an internal discussion with yourself.)

    Possible reasons:
    1. Publishing books is needed if one is to move forward in an academic career.
    2. Gaining status among one’s professional peers in non-academic areas.
    3. Revenue from the sale of the book.
    4. Ego boosting from the media attention and interviews after it is published.
    5. Other reasons I haven’t thought of.

    I’m aware of two academics (both at the end of the careers) who have chosen to “publish” their books online as PDF files. In one case the book has reached about twenty times more readers than a prior conventional effort. Their goal seems to be primarily to get their ideas before as large a public as possible and making their work available online and free was seen as the best approach.

    Combining the online version with a demand print version (for a price) allows those who need a hard copy to do so as well.

  • Michael

    Congratulations on the book deal! It will be interesting to see how you re-imagine some industries … I reckon you’ll have a lot to say about media given your punditry here. Now if only people would listen …

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Lots of reasons.
    I am making money and having quit the old day job, that helps! I find in writing my Guardian column that it helps to freeze-dry ideas and discussions; it can improve my thinking. I hope I reach some new people. I already get my ideas out here on the blog; don’t need a PDF to do that and, indeed, PDFs suck. I hope that with marketing, the book will reach people this blog doesn’t reach. I hope it will lead to speaking gigs. It doesn’t hurt in the academe. And, yes, I have a helluvan ego.

  • http://crawfordinsights.blogspot.com/ Crawford

    Sounds like a great way to re-think.

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society robertdfeinman

    But as you constantly remind us, books, newspaper articles and written blogs are not where the young go for information.

    I see you mainly reaching an audience of your peers though this avenue. This may not be such a bad idea, since it appears many are clueless about the changing nature of information dissemination, but do you have anything to say to the young pioneers? If so, how do you expect to reach them?

  • http://blog.knowvertical.com Jim L

    I first though the initials stood for What Would God Do. I guess I was close.

  • http://puddingrelations.blogspot.com Ben Matthews

    Good luck with writing the book, Jeff!

    Also, I don’t know if you saw this:




  • http://ben.casnocha.com Ben Casnocha


    Congratulations! I look forward to hearing how it progresses and your experiences in the publishing world.

    Ben Casnocha

  • http://www.mostlymedia.wordpress.com SpaceyG

    Congrats on the deal. Your writing is so sensible and readable that you shouldn’t feel guilty about killing trees. Rather, save the guilt for the pure vanity that is book publishing in the digital era.

    I thought you’d try something like… daily video installments on Blip.tv.

  • http://www.aboutmattlaw.com Matt Law

    Congrats, Jeff. Looking forward to seeing how you translate to the printed page.

  • http://www.digidave.org Digidave

    Congrats Jeff

    I have a follow up book for you already.

    WWAD: What Would Apple Design.

  • http://www.mainstreet.com Caroline Waxler

    congrats jeff!

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/bc/ bob c

    My reaction Jeff is Mazal Tov (Hebrew: מזל טוב‎) which literally means “good fortune” in Hebrew.

    I worked at Harper for 6 years – a good house for you to take up residence in for a bit.

    I can not wait to see how you nudge, twist and cajole them into new models of authors, books & getting word out in the post-post world of 2.0.

    Seriously – let me know how I can help.

  • http://www.thedailygreen.com Deborah Barrow

    Jeff, great news. This is going to be such a fun read! Please, please include a WWGD chapter for our former, glossy industry. Oh, yeah, and we call firsties for the “What Would Google Do?” bumper sticker concession at http://www.thedailygreen.com

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    The one thing we know about Google is “say one thing and do another.” The company whose motto is “don’t be evil” is in fact the most evil company going today, outside of mainland China.

    The marvel is they way they’ve managed to create a squeaky-clean image while massively violating privacy, spitting all over copyrights and intellectual property, and colluding with China to throw decent people in prison. They’ve created a “network neutrality” movement whose lust for regulation represents the greatest threat to the Internet and free speech that’s ever happened.

    Google is truly a monstrous monopoly, and I hope you will chip away at their massive foundation, Jeff. Some day you’ll be celebrated as a champion of freedom if you help in some small way to shine a light on the threat to democracy that is Google.

  • http://davemartin.blogspot.com David Martin

    Jeff, Congrats, bravos, kudos and cheers! All the best,

  • Brit

    Congratulations! If I am still a bookseller next spring, I will absolutely delight in ordering, reading, and hand-selling your book to my customers. If not, you are still guaranteed this reader and some ensuing word-of-mouth.

  • http://www.opensermo.com Ethan

    Sounds awesome Jeff. Really excited to live through the process with you.

  • http://www.scribblesheet.co.uk JohnofScribbleSheet

    Congrats and Good Luck!

  • Guy Love

    Sounds like a great book idea. One thing that is impressive about Google is that it actually treats its workforce from an information age perspective vs. the traditional industrial age perspective that still exists at most Fortune 500 companies. Google gets it and the young innovative workers of the future flock to their door wanting to be a part of that transformation.

  • http://michaelzimmer.org Michael Zimmer

    “Of course, I’ll also be applying Google rules to books in the book.”

    What does this mean?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    I mean that I will write about what books and publishing should be in the Google age, something I’ve written about a lot in this blog.

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  • http://www.direct2dell.com RichardatDELL

    Hi Jeff
    I recall heariing from you some questions that started with the same sort of preamble in several of our discussions (WWGD) and I am thrilled you are taking it all the way to be a book. Congratulations on this “assignment” and for following Seth Godin’s advice. Hear hear!!!

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  • http://www.churchofthecustomer.com Jackie Huba

    Congrats Jeff!

  • http://blogoscoped.com Philipp Lenssen

    Interesting to hear, if you ever want to ping pong any bit my email is info@blogoscoped.com, I’m maintaining a daily news blog about Google.

  • http://michaelzimmer.org Michael Zimmer

    Thanks, Jeff. The wording threw me. Good luck with the book!

  • http://www.charliebeckett.org Charlie Beckett

    As you know I have also found that writing a paper book is a good way to focus the mind and leave a benchmark.
    Good luck and make sure you include Polis at LSE on your book tour!
    Charlie Beckett

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  • http://suryasays.com surya

    look forward to it! congrats!

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  • Judy

    I was given a pre-release copy of your book for book review purposes. I was hooked on page 8 with Dell Hell. I went through a similar experience with Dell but didn’t know I could do something about it.
    Now – someone needs to do something about the companies who tell me that my call is important to them, but not sufficiently important that they would actually hire a person to answer the phone and talk to me. How do we convince companies that phone menus are from hell and we hate them?

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  • http://www.tyronetraylor.com Tyrone

    Just wanted to say that it was a pleasure working with you today.
    You’re quite an entertaining guy! I am by no means a cerebral type – but the way you laid your argument out was easy to understand. I can’t wait to read the full book!

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  • AJH

    I bought the book from audible.com and I really love it. You mention a ton of websites in your book, however, because i am listening to it in my car, i can’t really write them down. I want to know if you have blogged or published all in the sites you mention in your book ? It would really be helpful.

  • http://getbettertoday.wetpaint.com/ Moshe Villamayor

    I really enjoyed your website, will share it with my buddies, do you have any other material on this subject?

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