The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 226 ratings

By: David Kirkpatrick

Purchased At: $18.00

The exclusive inside story of Facebook and how it has revolutionized the way the world uses the Internet. “A fantastic book, filled with great reporting and colorful narrative” (Walter Isaacson).

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.
The Facebook Effect provides an insider's view of what Facebook was like in the early days. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is how uncertain the success of the company was. At many points it seemed like the company bordered on the line of crisis, but Zuckerberg and his team were able to adapt and handle the challenges.

The book is engaging as it tells the story. One of the more interesting stories was when one of the original owners of Facebook decided to not pay the bill for the Facebook servers. Tensions around this event ran high and the company was fortunate to survive this event unscathed.

It seems this is the only novel which was granted behinds the scenes access to the actual story and provides some insight to Zuckerberg's thought process.

I found the parts about the impact of Facebook on society to be less impressive as many of the insights seemed like common sense to me. It would have been nice to see more analysis of the role Facebook plays in society. Although it appears the goal of the book was to focus on the Facebook story.

- mina_johnson

What I love so much about this book is the detailed stories... the author clearly did his homework and then some. I actually read this over the summer before teaching a class about social media and the history of it. I couldn't stop reading! It was so intriguing!

Facebook went through a lot of ups and downs like normal companies, but Mark was extremely smart about how he created Facebook and how he grew it.

I have nothing but respect for Mark. Great read. Enjoy it!

- gunnar_torres

This book is a tale of a company born a few years ago that has taken the global business and technology by storm. Whats even more fascinating is that it was created and continues to be run by a bunch of kids in their mid twenties,
What I really liked about this book is that it focused strictly on the business and professional aspect and didn't bother to get involved in any of the politics or gossip. It seems that whenever there is a quick success story that comes in a short period of time, many people tend to try and dig dirt on the company and/or its founders. While it is true that there were issues behind the scenes and some disgruntled partners or ex-partners, the reader simply gets a look inside the growth of this company and how it transformed online social networking into something that people cannot live without.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in general business, technology or simply inspiration and motivation.
You will definitely not be disappointed.

- valentina_sanders

What features of facebook led to its instant success, and who deserves the credit? Why has facebook continued to grow while other social networks faltered at earlier stages? How did facebook make money at various stages of development? What caused facebook's various missteps? Does facebook really care about privacy? David Fitzpatrick gives convincing answers to these questions that have been hotly debated among users for years. The book suffers at times from gushy editorializing, but overall the reporting is balanced (with a few exceptions), and readers can weigh the facts on their own.

Fitzpatrick identifies several features that differentiated facebook from the rest. School networks offered a controlled community. Users felt comfortable projecting their true identities online in this setting. The site was easy to use, and didn't try to do too much too soon. Long-run growth was always a stronger priority than short-term ad revenue. Mark Zuckerberg's immaturity during his college age years is clear, but he ultimately nails the most important strategic decisions. He was not a mere caretaker of a simple idea at the right time.

The book touches on the personal conflicts made famous by the Social Network movie. The motives behind Eduardo Saverin's sacking are carefully reported. In contrast, key facts are missing in Fitzpatrick's treatment of the Winklevoss/Narendra ConnectU lawsuit. Fitzpatrick makes a convincing case that ConnectU's business plan was inferior to thefacebook's, but he glosses over how Zuckerberg sabotaged their site for months. Zuckerberg's AOL IMs from this era (referenced in the 12/30/10 NYT) reveal he viewed them as a competitor, and this calls into question Fitzpatrick's judgment that Zuckerberg was merely guilty of being "rude" and "uncooperative." Future editions of the book should incorporate more accurate information about the case.

Another weakness is the book's failure to address contradictions in facebook's views on privacy. For example, he asserts in the prologue that facebook "has always been explicitly conceived and engineered by Zuckerberg and colleagues as a tool to enhance your relations with your real-world friends" But later we learn that Zuckerberg is always pushing people to be more transparent, and that voyeurism was part of facebook's success from the beginning at Harvard. Who seriously believes facebook has never encouraged voyeurism outside of your circle of real friends?

Yet the book's most lasting impression is Zuckerberg's resolve in prioritizing facebook's utility over its profits. Knowing how close friend Sean Parker lost control of his past ventures, Zuckerberg is careful not to let future investors take control of his baby. Understanding this is also crucial to understanding the controversy behind facebook's delays in going public. Without Zuckerberg's patience, facebook would have been far less useful as a tool of Viacom, News Corp, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Wall Street. For this, Zuckerberg is worthy of the rosy picture painted in this book, despite his sins.

- zahra_diaz

First I saw the movie "Social Network". But as I was watching it I kept telling myself "Self... something is wrong here. There is NO WAY that a person could be such a monumental JERK as portrayed in the movie, and build a company with a perceived value of $100 billion. NOBODY would work for him long enough to get it that far."

So then I started investigating and was glad I found the reviews on THIS book. Why it has not been made into a movie is a mystery. The numbers and growth rates that are reported here are simply incredible. The main premise for Mark Zuckerberg's creation still seems to be pure, from what I can tell with reports that followed the public offering of stock. This book truly humanizes the people behind Facebook -- which I do not use, by the way.

- belle_davis

The copy was definitely used, however still respectable. The book was fantastic. Most of the other books on Facebook I read were based off here say and felt really distant. This books feels like your hanging with Zuck. Which means the book isn’t that fun, but really interesting the entire time.

- lilliana_hughes

This book really surprised me. I'm not into business books. I'm not into IT. I don't even have a Facebook or Twitter account. I watched The Social Network on TV the other week, so many of my friends are Facebook users, and I became curious as to the story behind Facebook.
I ordered the book second-hand and didn't actually pick it up for some time because it's a substantial paperback and the typescript is very small. In other words, there was a lot there to read and again, I'm not really into that sort of literature.
When I did start reading this book I was very pleasantly surprised and found it hard to put down. Not only is the story behind Facebook very interesting and fast-paced, but the author of this book has a most enjoyable style of writing. He managed to put together a most readable, engaging and at times even entertaining account of the conception and development of Facebook. The author did have amazing access to people that mattered, people on the "front line", but - in my opinion - painted a fair and not uncritical picture of the company and the people behind it.
If you're in any way interested in social media, you could do a lot worse than to pick up this book. I still won't open a Facebook account though, now even less so than before as I have learnt so much more about the privacy issues connected with it.

- rosemary_cruz

Much as been said and written about the phenomenal success, since it's start-up in 2004, of the ubiquitous social networking site, Facebook. From humble beginnings, but with hindsight inspirational foresight and determination,and whilst in his first year at Harvard, Mark Zukerberg and his coterie drove through with almost a religious fervour his concept of the future of global communications, into a mammoth modern technology company.

That company Facebook has now been morphed into a massive concern with upwards of 500 million of us having joined up to socialise among family and friends, make new acquaintances, and 'rubber-neck' other's lives and goings-on. It also allowed us a freedom and flexibility of instant communication and networking that hitherto had not been available to the great unwashed masses.

David Kirkpatrick's most competent and engagingly attention-holding book 'The Facebook Effect' does an excellent job in tracking the growth of the Google Business from the early days at Harvard through until 2010, including all of it's teething troubles and growth pains, warts and all. He was given extensive access to Zuckerberg and his team which helped him build up a very clear and concise understanding of how 'Facebook' bludgeoned it's way into our affections. That the company is now valued at $15 billion is testament indeed, to this contemporary geek culture.

So what happens now? Quoting from the eminent Science Fiction Author Timothy Zahn " For a change, lady-luck seemed to be smiling on me. Then, again, maybe the fickle wench was just lulling me into a false sense of security while she reached for the hard rock." The international newswires are claiming that subscribers to Facebook have very recently started witnessing reduced subscription levels which does not auger well for the rapid growth experienced so far. Could it be that the 'fickle hand'of fate has already started to erode Facebook's subscriptions,and thus the beginning of a spiral downturn? You only have to look at the rapid decline of subscribers in "Friends Reunited" to witness the fickleness and transient nature of social networking sites. It could prove that getting Facebook to where it is today might be considerably easier than keeping it there.Let us hope that lady-luck does not rain down hard rocks but only time will tell, with the real 'rough and tumble' not yet begun.

This book charting the rise of Facebook is highly recommended.

- opal_collins

I bought this after watching the film and it nicely fills in the gaps that had to be left out of the movie.

It's quite incredible how quickly this became a success. I'd like to say Facebook is one of those 'once in a generation' type of companies but I suspect many will come along with just as good ideas that take off just as quickly. It's the nature of the game.

The book is quite well written and done with an edge of intrigue from the author.

It's not a quick read (well not in my half-hour lunch breaks!) but leaves me inspired with my brain ticking over into the afternoon. Man I need to escape the 9 to 5!

Facebook fan, programmer, entrepreneur or you've just seen the film, I think you'll really like this book.

- julissa_morales

A well written and researched book David K. Enjoy reading it but I doubt whether Facebook would become the world's fastest growing company looking at the much hyped initial public offering of its shares now worth 50% of its $38 per share offer. Glad I did not buy those shares knowing that it was a social network with no opportunity to attract would be advertisers as it is only an intangible product with limited benefits to the users worldwide. Nonetheless this book is worth reading this Christmas and beyond.

- charley_gonzales

A received this book within a couple days of ordering it and i found it an excellent read so far. I'm not a keeno reader but I managed to get through about 70 pages in one evening, so its great for those who have found a niche that they enjoy to read. The book does have very similar/disimilar references to The Social Network but with some obvious additions that don't bore you down with the details.

However, this book is not a quick read and if you are after those type of books then I suggest opting for 'Screw it Lets do it - Richard Branson'. From the first section it is a well balanced booked that doesn't get you into the emotions of each member of facebook but rather where they stood and what they brought to the team hence this book is focused on facebook corporation not Mark Z, etc. (I think it will be abit Premiership-football-player like to release a biograph at the mere age of 27! ha)

A potential downfall, not at fault of the author, is that facebook does not know what is yet and is has clearly not matured/declined. Therefore I predict the final parts of the book will be filled with open ended questions resulting in you begging to read the sequel - The rise & fall of Facebook.

But out of all books on fast growing & influential companies of the last 10 yrs, from what i expect this should be in your top 10.

- harlow_hughes

Im presently reading this book and finding it an enjoyable read. I've seen various documentaries about Facebook and this follows a similar line, its not too biased either despite being an authorised book. If your interested in the whole Facebook story and how Mark Z and other people became so rich / known, this is a good read.

Not too heavy in writing style either.

- warren_reyes

Great book... but also a very important book given how big this social media site has become. Really glad I read it.

- vincenzo_clark

The riveting parts to this book are when the author describes how Facebook grew, the stories behind the deals, the decisions etc. Too often however the book rambles, the author gets preoccupied with the implications of Facebook, interesting but felt like a different book and the cutting from one perspective to another made the book disjointed. Overall a disappointing read and already out of date.

- freya_jones

If you are into Silicon Valley culture and how the inner workings of the successful tech giants operate, this is for you. It also provided a fascinating insight into the starting of Facebook and gave you a real understanding of Zuckerberg. I would highly recommend it.

- diego_lewis

Really interesting read!

- avalynn_foster

Quite interesting read, but I wonder whether it's really all true. Besides, this book dates really fast as it needs to be constantly updated with the most recent developments in FB history.

- merrick_harris

Readable - but could have provided more insights

- ryann_watson

Great everything -product, packaging and delivery

- rylan_gray

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