Informative, entertaining reading for nontechies.



An insider’s account of the mapping technology that gave rise to Google Maps.

Google’s mapping service provides satellite imagery, street maps, panoramic street views, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for about 1 billion users monthly. A popular app on iPhones and other devices, it has spurred industries from Yelp to Priceline to Uber. In this bright, highly personal debut, Kilday, a vice president at Niantic, which developed the augmented reality game Pokemon Go, describes his role in the mapping story, from the 1999 inception of a struggling tech startup named Keyhole, through the technology’s enormous exposure as part of CNN’s 24/7 coverage of the U.S.–led Iraq invasion, and the 2004 acquisition of Keyhole by Google, which turned the software into wildly popular Google Maps and Google Earth. Drawing on his experiences as marketing director at both Keyhole and Google Maps, the author crafts an engaging, blow-by-blow account of people and events that made mapping an unusually powerful tool for the military and intelligence communities, for commercial real estate interests, and eventually for anyone looking for a street address or just curious to see his or her house from the vantage of a satellite. A constant note taker, Kilday offers colorful details on life inside the Googleplex (turf wars, pool and dart games, and walk-ons by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, etc.), where the Keyhole team realized only gradually that “Google was launching a moonshot mapping effort to transform how we find our way in the world.” In recounting the effort, he describes the technology’s role in saving lives during Hurricane Katrina and in the advent of self-driving cars, and he offers accessible descriptions of satellite imagery and the operation of Google’s hundreds of Street View vehicles. Writing with warmth and humor, the author has great fun recalling life as a state-college alum working among intense Stanford graduates.

Informative, entertaining reading for nontechies.

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267304-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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