Author: David Kirkpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I use Facebook just like everybody else – it is what the world is today.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library
Synopsis: IN LITTLE MORE THAN HALF A DECADE,Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects—even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran.Veteran technology reporter David Kirkpatrick had the full cooperation of Facebook’s key executives in researching this fascinating history of the company and its impact on our lives. Kirkpatrick tells us how Facebook was created, why it has flourished, and where it is going next. He chronicles its successes and missteps, and gives readers the most complete assessment anywhere of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the central figure in the company’s remarkable ascent. This is the Facebook story that can be found nowhere else.How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has transformed the Internet and how did he grow it to its current enormous size? Kirkpatrick shows how Zuckerberg steadfastly refused to compromise his vision, insistently focusing on growth over profits and preaching that Facebook must dominate (his word) communication on the Internet. In the process, he and a small group of key executives have created a company that has changed social life in the United States and elsewhere, a company that has become a ubiquitous presence in marketing, altering politics, business, and even our sense of our own identity. This is the Facebook Effect.
Review: Facebook has become an integral part of life and really can’t escape it anymore. Those that purposely avoid it with some misguided sense of superiority are just kidding themselves. It is how the modern world communicates with each other. It is hard to remember how we used to interact before. But it all had to start somewhere and like most things, it isn’t always pretty.
It almost seems from reading this book to get that much genius and drive, and you had to have both of those to succeed, you also had to have a good dose of asshole thrown in. If he didn’t, Mark Zuckenberg would surely have been crushed by his detractors, the lawsuits, and the venture capitalists. At the end of the day you have a great respect for Zuckenberg, especially for his vision of what Facebook would be (has and still will become), but also that you wouldn’t be friends with him if you met him personally.
As for the overall tone of the book, it is very sympathetic to Facebook and Zuckenberg. It also gets bogged down in the dry details, while interesting, they are not very compelling. At the end of the day it lays out pretty well what it takes to change the world.
Author Biography: David Kirkpatrick is the author of the definitive book on Facebook, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World, to be publshed by Simon & Schuster June 15, 2010. He was for many years senior editor for internet and technology at Fortune, which he joined in 1983. He covered the computer and technology industry as well as the impact of the Internet on business and society. Among his many articles were cover stories about Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Sun, and Intel, plus features on Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, and Technology in China.