Most helpful positive review
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Deeply researched, well done, and a new picture of Napster
on May 7, 2003
Let me start by saying that I'm very curious about the anonymous Bay Area reviews that say the book is wildly inaccurate. I'm writing a dissertation chapter on Napster (not the company, more the system), and although I didn't comparing every date and name, it seemed accurate. There are also two completely contradictory reviews by people who supposedly worked at Napster, but who knows if they did.
I feel this book is better than two other Napster books, "Sonic Boom" and "Irresistible Forces". Menn seems to have done a really good investigative job - he is a reporter after all - and includes people, perspectives, and histories that the other books don't mention at all. For instance, it turns out I've met someone who is mentioned in Menn's book but isn't in the other books. Menn interviews people who didn't invest in Napster, not just those who did. In other Napster stories, John Fanning is a father figure, and it ends there. Menn actually researches John Fanning's history, and it is ugly, complete with lawsuits and a police record. Other sources annoying tease us with hints of who Shawn Fanning's father is, and say he is a famous Boston-area musician. Menn tells us who he is - I'm from Boston, and I have never heard of the guy (Joe Rando).
Having read books, business press, law reviews, computer press, mainstream press, and other sources about Napster, I do think Menn does a very good job. Since I was not involved in Napster, I cannot say which versions, which stories, are true. Menn's work, however, gives a much richer picture of the company and the dealings within and around it than other sources I have read.