Now that he's not running all the daily operations of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), the No. 1 search engine, just serving as executive chairman, Eric Schmidt has completed a book on technology for publication in the second quarter of 2013.
With co-author Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, Schmidt's book is tentatively titled “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business,” to be published by Knopf, an imprint of Germany's private Bertelsmann.
Clearly, Knopf believes many want to read the thoughts of the Google duo: The publisher plans a first run of 150,000 copies, along with e-book and audio releases.
Schmidt, 57, hasn't published a book before. Google, in Mountain View, Calif., has digitized millions of books in university and national libraries that are available online.
Co-author Cohen, 31, has published four books, all on contemporary affairs, including “Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East,” from Penguin in 2007. Schmidt stepped aside as Google CEO last year for co-founder Larry Page, 39. He'd been at the helm for 10 years.
"With the spread of connectivity,” Schmidt and Cohen write, “citizens will have more power than at any other time in history, but this will come with costs, particularly to both privacy and security. The technology we talk about naturally collects and stores much personal information. ... The risk that this information is released is increasing, and while the technology to protect it is available, human error, nefarious activity and the passage of time means that it will only become more difficult to keep information private.”
Silicon Valley and technology CEOs are no strangers to books, using them to plug their companies and strategies.
In 2004, Andrew S. Grove, then-chairman of Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC), as well as its former CEO, published “Only the Paranoid Survive,” his third book, which became a best-seller for Profile Books, in part because of his candor in describing flaws with Intel's Pentium chip.
In 1995, Bill Gates, still chairman of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), published “The Road Ahead,” with his then-colleague Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson. The book explored how the Internet would become “an information highway” and helped Gates direct the Redmond, Wash., software company more into an Internet-directed path.
The first printing for Gates's book: 850,000 copies. The publisher was Viking Penguin, an imprint of the UK's Pearson (NYSE: PSO). All proceeds went to foundations that supported education.
Other Silicon Valley CEOs who've written books include T.J. Rodgers, of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY), with “No Excuses Management,” from Doubleday in 1993, and Louis V. Gerstner, former CEO of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: BM), whose “Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?” from HarperBusiness in 2003 was his inside story of how he turned IBM around.
Shares of Google fell $3.94 to $691.91 in Tuesday trading. They've gained 7 percent in 2012.
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...