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The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World [Kindle Edition]

David Kirkpatrick
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There's never been a Web site like Facebook: more than 350 million people have accounts, and if the growth rate continues, by 2013 every Internet user worldwide will have his or her own page. And no one's had more access to the inner workings of the phenomenon than Kirkpatrick, a senior tech writer at Fortune magazine. Written with the full cooperation of founder Mark Zuckerberg, the book follows the company from its genesis in a Harvard dorm room through its successes over Friendster and MySpace, the expansion of the user base, and Zuckerberg's refusal to sell. The author is at his best discussing the social implications of the site, from the changing notions of privacy to why and how people use Facebook—increasingly it's to come together around a common interest or cause (the eponymous Facebook Effect). Though significantly more informative, thoughtful, and credible than Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires, it may be hamstrung by its late entry; the furor over Facebook has more or less subsided, and potential readers are more likely to be using the site than to be reading about its origins. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The greatest measure of the appeal of a business narrative is its story-ability, that is, the ways in which the tale of a corporation’s ups and downs grabs its readers. Such is the case with Fortune magazine journalist Kirkpatrick’s look at Facebook and its growth. The reason? In part because its co-founder now CEO Mark Zuckerberg allowed almost unprecedented access to the author––not one but several times. The results seems to mirror Zuckerberg’s insistence on an “open and transparent” dialogue with itself and with its customers. Starting from a 2003 Harvard campus Web site created to keep track of schoolmates, Facebook has grown in less than a decade to nearly a half billion users and multimillions in revenues, a growth trajectory credited to its C-suite’s unwavering vision and its continual innovations––including News Feed, multiple applications, and self-service advertising. Talented people, too, add to the explosion that is Facebook; Kirkpatrick’s pages are populated with names like Steve Ballmer, Lawrence Summers, Larry Brin, and lesser-known others who’ve contributed to this social networking phenomenon. Kirkpatrick also keeps his superlatives in check, weaving stories about Zuckerberg and his cadre while clearly showing the warts as well. An intriguing, almost participatory, read. --Barbara Jacobs

Product Details

  • File Size: 2598 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1439102120
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003BHM85O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,946 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 94 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Remarkably detailed history of a unique company. Kirkpatrick, a scrupulous journalist, who was encouraged to write the book by Facebook's controversial founder, gives a detailed play-by-play of how Facebook amassed half a billion users. He provides a fascinating history of how the company was built, and manages to touch upon most of the controversies surrounding it. But, perhaps because of the access given to him by Zuckerberg, the founder and not-so-benevolent dictator running the company, he avoids any substantial critique of the actions and motivations of the facebook management team. Possibly because of the book's timing - it must have been completed in April or so - he doesn't address the company's most recent issues and, most importantly, he provides little insight to help the reader understand Zuckerberg and why and how he manages to get himself into so much trouble, particulary around the topic of user privacy, though we get plenty of anecdotes about his behavior and maturation. There is also very little reflection about where Internet advances, as exemplified by facebook, will take our economy or society. But this is still a "must read" for anyone interested in the evolution of the Internet and how facebook got here and managed to monopolize billions of hours of our collective attention.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
I've just finished reading The Facebook Effect, and it was like a movie I didn't want to end. I'm considering reading it again. As a budding internet startup entrepreneur, learning from major successes, such as Facebook, is incredibly valuable. The problem is, where can you learn about the juicy details that essentially positioned a company like Facebook to be so ubiquitous? Details such as:

- how Facebook gained so much traffic early on
- how they scaled the site school by school
- the major decisions Mark and his team grappled with at every stage
- the strategy and thought process that went through Zuckerberg's mind
- how they raised their first dollar of investment
- what sort of information did they pitch their first professional investors
- etc...

It includes everything that an internet startup entrepreneur would want to know, encapsulated in one of the world's most fascinating phenomenon -- The Facebook Effect.

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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging read June 15, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Kirkpatrick was for years one of Fortune's best writers, and that talent is on full display here. He assesses the often broad and complex situations around facebook deftly, in accessible and subtle ways. But it's when he lets his interview subjects speak in their own words -- from founder to current and past executives to investors -- that the book really shines. It's better than a good book, it's an important book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, Insightful and Enjoyable November 1, 2010
I originally purchased this book because I thought it was required reading for someone like me who works in Silicon Valley. However, after a few chapters, I realized this could be one of the top ten business books of the decade was fun to read.
Here is why I found it so enlightening:

-The book was filled with anecdotal stories of incredible financial and business growth challenges, potential technology disasters and public opinion/communication crises--that for the most, were handled swiftly and successfully. Valuable lessons learned were scattered throughout the book, cover to cover. The author made you feel like you were part of the team taking the company through its first five years of phenomenal growth.

-Mark Zuckerberg. You will learn about one of the most visionary CEOs of our time by the way he handled the above mentioned situations, his passion for transparency, philosophy on the "gift economy" and vision of global communication and via a number of direct quotes that the author chose to include (and noted below):

"The best thing we can do is to move smoothly with the world around us, and to have constant competition, not build walls."(commenting on the possible integration of Facebook across the Web)

"We're a vehicle that gives people the power to share information, so we are driving that trend. We also have to live by it." (commenting on user backlash and potential government intervention)

-Finally leveraging social media as a global communications platform; the book contains a bevy of inspirational examples of the potential for positive change--a glimpse into the future, that we should all be aware of.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in bits November 8, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are really two parts to this book: the story of how Facebook started and a general set of essays outlining the author's thoughts on the impact of Facebook and social media on society in general.
I suppose my slight issue with Kirkpatrick's offering is that the two different parts are somewhat intermingled and interfere somewhat in the flow of the Facebook story itself (which is really what I bought the book for). These story of Facebook's founding and growth are actually very interesting and paints a portrait of Zuckerberg that is both different and the same very to his recent film portrayal; different because he isn't portrayed as a sociopath here but the same because, well, it is pretty odd not to agree to walk away with $250M cash at age 22 for 2 years work. The "story" seems to peter out in around early 2009 and the rest of the book really focuses on the societal impact (or the author's interpretation of them).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Lot of information about FB..Thanx David!
Published 2 days ago by CroserS
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep understanding
Really thorough look at Facebook story. Definitely different from the movie that is based on he accidental billionaires which I haven't read. Liked this narrative.
Published 1 month ago by Rodrigo Garcia Carrillo
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good overall analysis of the positives and potential negatives of...
Very good overall analysis of the positives and potential negatives of Facebook. At times it felt a bit too praiseworthy of it and not sufficiently detached. Read more
Published 1 month ago by RCor
4.0 out of 5 stars Did this book contain one of the most difficult sentence ?
Am I the only one who had trouble wrapping his mind to decipher the sentence ->
"If Zuckerberg hadn't omitted the farm animal photos, he probably wouldn't have gotten... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Saurabh Gupta
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
A fabulous account of Facebook's brief history. The author has put a huge amount of effort into getting facts and figures correct. Loved it
Published 2 months ago by Ashley Quinn
4.0 out of 5 stars Describes the birth and rise of a powerful company & its founder
It took me a while to fully read this book but I did and it was definitely worth it. This book describes the birth and rise of Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerburg. Read more
Published 5 months ago by CaryPraveen14
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and informative....recommended for both technical and...
I had my reservations about this book thinking it was just another attempt at glorifying the company's success journey. Read more
Published 5 months ago by RDX
5.0 out of 5 stars Its time for the whole world to be TRANSPARENT with each other
There are some books that you sit down and read in one sitting. This one is too big for that but I have spent a whole day reading this book with breaks. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Author Matthew Robert Payne
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
I couldn't stop turning the pages to this incredible read. A historical accounting of how Facebook became what it is today. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Anthony Alegrete
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Eight days after delivery, very satisfied
Published 8 months ago by chenli
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More About the Author

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, published by Simon & Schuster. 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. Today he is founder and CEO of Techonomy Media, a conference and publishing company focused on the central role of tech in business and society. He has written about Sean Parker and Jack Dorsey for Vanity Fair, and publishes regularly on LinkedIn and at

A meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in September 2006--at the height of the company's News Feed controversy--first piqued his interest in the company. Zuckerberg at that meeting was calm and focused, despite having stayed up late the night before writing an apology to his members. Kirkpatrick told Zuckerberg he seemed like a natural CEO, and the 22-year-old acted offended. He didn't see himself as a businessman, but as a tech pioneer. From then on, Kirkpatrick followed Facebook carefully, writing about it regularly for Fortune.

When he told Zuckerberg he wanted to write a book about the company, in January 2008, the young CEO's reaction was immediate. "Go for it!" he said. So, Kirkpatrick did. With extensive cooperation from the company and Zuckerberg, and following innumerable interviews with all of Facebook's leaders, he wrote a book that is the only true history of the company. It chronicles Facebook's story at the same time it examines its impact on society and social life. Only by understanding Facebook's history, Kirkpatrick argues, can one understand Zuckerberg and why the company acts the way it does. Understanding the company should enable you to use its service more effectively and intelligently.

Kirkpatrick is regularly ranked one of the world's top technology journalists. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, with a year at age 11 in Lagos, Nigeria. He was the creator of Fortune's Brainstorm conference series beginning in 2001. Kirkpatrick is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Topic From this Discussion
Why no text-to-speech?
well, the audible version is sort of text to speech, as the author is also the narrator (a situation I typically really enjoy!)
Jun 25, 2010 by Mark |  See all 3 posts
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