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on April 4, 2012
Kirkpatrick really makes "The Facebook Effect" an easy read. It would be well suited for anyone looking to better understand the beginnings of Facebook. Many of the people at Facebook, including Zuckerberg, were involved in "The Facebook Effect," but the book is not all praise, which is nice. The book is set-up as a timeline of Facebook's evolution - which is sort of funny considering the new layout on Facebook currently. Throughout the book, Kirkpatrick emphasizes the effect social networking sites have had on the way people interact with each other.

While nicely describing the evolution of Facebook, "The Facebook Effect" could have detailed how businesses use Facebook a bit more like promised in the Prologue. The book mainly focuses on the company and a bit on how consumers use Facebook. It would have been nice to read more information about Facebook's users instead of mainly company information. The user information seemed sort of thrown into the book toward the end. Even with "The Facebook Effect's" faults, the book was still engaging and an interesting read.

Kirkpatrick spent a good amount of time discussing Zuckerberg and Facebook's willingness to change, which was a good thing. Much like every day, real life, social networking sites need to evolve and not remain stagnant. Even newer emerging niche social networking sites, such as Pinterest, allow for Facebook integration. Zuckerberg was smart in allowing Pinterest to utilize Facebook. The integration allows for both sites to flourish without explicitly taking users away from each other.
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on August 7, 2010
Kirkpatrick's story of Facebook is an intricately woven narrative of the forces that led to Facebook's genesis, its unlikely sustenance, and the ironic unity of Facebook's CEO's core values of primal ruthlessness and "staying in touch with friends."

Zuckerberg drives the book, unequivocally. Were it not for him, Facebook would have more than likely been acquired, fundamentally changed, or kicked out of the market years ago. Zuckerberg embraces an unusual value set that he uses to drive himself forward through difficult situations where others would likely crack. His commitment to enabling humanity's interconnection is only rivaled by his inflexible style of management, in which cohorts are ultimately very vulnerable. He would alternate statements like "Now you know who you're fighting!" with "Like, what we're trying to do is connect the world, right?" But what this apparent contradiction really reveals is a deeply held sense of what it takes to succeed in an unforgiving business environment, not unlike that of Steve Jobs.

Aside from the book's merits in telling the story of Facebook's developments, which are clear from the other reviews, what this book really offers is a picture of an individual, Mark Zuckerberg. It's an intriguing tale of how an extremely driven individual who plays their cards right is apt to eventually hit it big.
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on July 20, 2012
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.
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on June 25, 2013
This book provides the history of FB, and strong analyses of its global impacts, risks, and potential. It is well written, unlike many other company books that are just a rant / stream of consciousness. To understand FB, I would recommend the following: read this. Read Trefis' investment research reports, and BI Intelligence' general reports on social media, besides using FB yourself as an individual user, developer, company and advertiser. A recurring theme in the book is that there are two opposing/cooperating forces in FB. MZ - the visionary coder who pulls towards user experience, and new features and Sheryl Sandberg - the queen of advertising, who pulls the company towards monetization through mainly advertising rather than other opportunities.
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on September 12, 2011
I learned a ton about how Facebook works and thinks and why it's gotten so big. It was extremely well-written, the best business book I ever read. Kirkpatrick's level of reporting and detail made this such a page-turner that I couldn't put it down. In fact, my husband picked it up while I was reading it and I couldn't get it back until he was done. The book made me realze the The Social Network did Mark Zuckerberg a huge disservice, especially the way the movie made it seem as though the Winklevoss brothers were wronged. My husband says they ought to have a bronze status in their yards to commemorate the huge amount of money Zuckerberg had to give them.

The book also made me appreciate Zuckerberg's passion and deliberativeness. The success of Facebook was clearly not a mistake.
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on June 5, 2011
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.
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on May 11, 2012
When I went back online after disappearing from the internet for a few years, I used Facebook to reconnect with everyone and learn about what had changed (who knew non-traders even have their own form of colocation except they call it peering?). Apparently while I was invisible online, Zuck was off executing on his vision of Facebook as a platform, an ambition that impresses me because he had this idea back in the day when few companies had that vision.

Although it's possible that hindsight and the human instinct for narrative spins lucky randomness into deliberate strategic decisions, Zuck certainly talks and acts like a visionary, confident leader. He says, "We can make the world a more open place... Let's build something that has lasting cultural value and try to take over the world." Repeatedly refusing to sell the company, first for tens of millions, later for billions and tens of billions, Zuck comes off as passionate about the project, really believing his ideology, not caring about money, and thinking extremely long term.

Unlike some "serial entrepreneurs" whose goals are to create a company with the intent of getting acquired, Zuck, an idealist (one anecdote that shocked me was that Zuck was found crying during a dinner with VC's because he felt so guilty about considering their superior offer after giving his word to another VC- when was the last time you cried out of guilt? When was the last time anyone cried out of guilt regarding a business decision? Did he react like this because he was so young, such a crybaby, or such a dreamer? I think it's got to be because he's so idealistic, which is sort of unbelievable but somehow to me the most believable possibility), really does not want to sell and took time to conceive of a principled business philosophy and worldview. For example, he said he "wanted outside apps to help keep Facebook honest by forcing it to make its own remaining applications good enough to compete successfully." Welcoming competition seems like a really big picture, long term, global-optima seeking view that I don't hear many others talk about. Is it a necessary cognitive bias for a successful leader to be sure he's working on something fundamentally good and world changing, or is a strong ideology what makes a leader successful in the first place?

Zuck also has deep insights into the tech industry and its interplay with human psychology. He says [Facebook] is about people; Google is about data; Facebook is "a technology company. Myspace is a media company." Insisting Facebook is a utility, "Zuckerberg... realized that Facebook wasn't a tool for keeping track of news made somewhere else. It was a tool for making news." Young men are always the revolutionaries- I'm very curious to see what happens as time passes and Facebook has even more success.

While "The Social Network" dwells on interpersonal dramas, this book doesn't really talk about that, instead explaining some of the conditions and strategy surrounding Facebook's success:
-"Facebook's ultimate success owes a lot to the fact that it began at college. That's where people's social networks are densest and where they generally socialize more vigorously than at any other time in their lives."
-"The Harvard connection makes a product less suspect."
-Immediate popularity because "Harvard students are preternaturaly status-conscious."
-They were able to roll out iteratively and incrementally bc of each college being its own network, allowing them to wait to make sure they had enough servers etc before rolling out to another school and taking on more users, thus assisting in avoiding getting Friendster-ed.
-They employed a peer pressure "surround strategy:" "if another social network had begun to take root.... thefacebook would open not only there but at as many other campuses as possible in the immediate vicinity."
-To ensure demand, "When the number on the waiting list passed 20 percent of so of the student body, thefacebook would turn that school on."

Because this book was published in 2010- forever ago in internet years, it doesn't include some of the more recent developments, and a lot of questions remain to be answered. While "a trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising," I want to learn more about how Facebook will revolutionize advertising beyond engagement ads. The tagline is that Adwords "fulfill demand," whereas Facebook "generates demand," so will the people who generate the demand (the other users) get incorporated into the model in a new way? What developments have occurred since 2010 that the book doesn't cover?

Another question arises on accessing content. As more and more content becomes user generated with privacy settings, how will Google access, search, and distribute this information? Will Google integrate with Facebook and show different search results depending on which friends' content is accessible? (Also, how can Facebook help resurrect Microsoft from obsolescence? I don't dare short Microsoft while Facebook is on its team.)

Much of the author's info comes from interviews, as evidenced by his erroneously calling a drug "Provisual" instead of "Provigil"- a mistake that would most likely occur from confusing the spoken word (Don't ask how I know about Provigil, a drug I would not recommend to anyone since you still feel sleepy- you just can't fall asleep, so it's worse than useless for keeping your brain functional for higher order tasks). All of the remarks were positive about Facebook, so the book may be somewhat biased.

Nevertheless, you leave the work feeling impressed by the success of the company, acknowledging that it has already changed society and social interaction, and wondering what will happen next. Will Facebook's currency take over? Will Facebook be the new basis for society and government? It also raises philosophical questions, like do you think it's true that "a more transparent world create a better-governed world and a fairer world?"

Zuck says, "You have one identity... the days of you having a different image for your work friends or coworkers ... are probably coming to an end." While Facebook does allow you to only share info with people you friend, etc, Facebook does push transparency as a core value. Should transparency be a value? Do people only have one identity? Demand for Linked-in would suggest people want to have multiple identities, but is that an outdated cultural idea, along with privacy? Will the single profile enter our collective consciousness and cause us to view work as just another attribute of our unified identities?

The internet is changing human relationships, intelligence, society, government, culture, and Facebook is determined to be a driver of that change. On the internet, we are all created equal (more so than offline at least), and if Facebook (the most popular website) has taken over the internet, then are we all citizens of Facebook? Has Facebook already allowed us to unify as a species and become truly global and we (I?) just haven't realized it yet? Very, very exciting stuff- I cannot wait for this Facebook IPO- it's going to be awesome.
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on August 21, 2015
I had originally purchased this book in order to have more insight for a paper that I was writing for my MBA program. I began just reading certain parts and excerpts but then I became enthralled and read the entire thing.

I am not much for reading for fun but this one was easy, great and entertaining. It was very interesting to read the whole story. The good, the bad, the challenges, and the successes/celebrations.
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on February 26, 2014
This book is a good read for Facebook Fans or just plain tech fans. The story of how Facebook started at Harvard is fascinating. The only problem with this book is when it was written. I'll bet there is one that was written later out there.
This turned out to be an excellent time to read this book because during the time I was reading it Facebook bought WhatsAp and therefore there was a lot about Facebook in the news. Reading this book gave me a better understanding of the news articles. If you are at all interested and use Facebook yourself I highly recommend reading this.
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on February 6, 2017
I admire him a lot on his talent and knowledge and leadership and his rich and through Programming he made it. I watch Facebook movie called Social Network a lot more than 50 times and read that book but the book is not good right now. I am not good at handling anything it will ruin.
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