When I heard David Kirkpatrick talking about his new book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World” on the Diane Rheim Show on NPR, I knew I had to pick the book up for myself. In fact, as soon as I arrived at my location, I pulled up my Amazon.com app and quickly ordered the book right from my mobile device.
When the book arrived, I was struck by the glitzy cover (of all things). What can I say, it’s a beautiful cover which has the familiar Facebook default profile icon silhouette in a silver reflective paper that puts YOUR face on the cover when you look at it straight on. Very cool.
I couldn’t wait to get into the book – and I didn’t. I poured myself a cold beverage and made myself comfortable outside on my patio couch.
Surprise! It’s NOT about Facebook Strategy – It’s About Facebook History
To be honest with you, I honestly had no idea what the book was about – beyond Facebook of course. Remember, I heard Kirkpatrick’s interview when it was more than halfway over. And when I started reading, I quickly realized that this wasn’t like other books with Facebook in the name; there were no how-to tips, no strategy recommendations no discussion about how to use Facebook. Nothing remotely resembling any other Facebook book I’d read so far. This book was the actually history of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg, his friends and his idea and vision about changing the world by connecting people to each other.
Business History Buffs and Social Media Early Adopters Will Love This
If you remember Friendster and have been on LinkedIn since the beginning or use Plaxo, then you will really love this book. Kirkpatrick has taken hours and hours of interviews with Zuckerberg and his inner circle and woven them into a story written in a way that makes you feel like it’s just you and David sharing drinks in a hotel bar while he gives you the behind-the-scenes story of companies you’ve used for years.
It Took a Committed Community to Write This Book
There are 17 chapters and 333 pages of story to this book. Equally as impressive are the prologue, postscript, notes and additional reading sections. You will be impressed with the amount of research, interview time and commitment that went into this book; from the author and everyone he interacted with throughout the process.
David Kirkpatrick was the senior editor for Internet and Technology for Fortune Magazine. While there he’d written stories about Apple, IBM, Intel and Microsoft (No wonder this book reminded me of “Pirates of Silicon Valley” – the story of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs). In his acknowledgements section and reporting for the book section he reveals how committed everyone from Facebook was to transparency – especially Mark Zuckerberg.
“Company employees, when confronted with a particularly probing question, periodically stopped and turned quizzically to the Facebook public relations person who was often nearby, but they were without exception, encouraged to answer my questions and I talked to many people without supervision.”
It may seem odd to bring this up in a book review, but I think it will give you a greater appreciation for what you’ll read and learn inside these pages.
Facebook Effect is a Fabulous Summer or Anytime Read
This is a great book to read as a novel. It’s so well written that you’ll find yourself imagining yourself right there with Mark Zuckerberg and his college buds in their dorm room programming and bringing Facebook to life. You’ll feel like a fly on the wall in business meetings and informal brainstorming sessions. You’ll find your mouth gaping open as you realize that Zuckerberg wasn’t in this for money or fame or fashion, but for a dream and a vision of doing something really BIG.