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Book Review: The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story Of The Company That Is Connecting The World by David Kirkpatrick

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Facebook’s growth since its inception in 2004 has been nothing short of phenomenal. With a membership hovering at around a half a billion people today, the ubiquitous site is an Internet success story like no other. In The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story Of The Company That Is Connecting The World, author David Kirkpatrick tells the remarkable tale of this industry colossus, and of the man behind it all, Mark Zuckerberg.

As it was originally known, Thefacebook.com launched on February 4, 2004, out of Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room. The site was incredibly exclusive, you had to have an email ending in Harvard.edu to join. It became so popular that Zuckerberg and his “staff” (his roommates) decided to offer it to other Ivy League schools shortly afterwards.

Thus began the snowball momentum that continues to drive Facebook forward to this day. Soon the doors were opened to all U.S. colleges, then high schools, and finally to everybody else. Zuckerberg and company moved out to Silicon Valley “just for the summer” after their first year at Harvard. They never went back.

Kirkpatrick was able to speak with the early players in the story fairly extensively, including Zuckerberg himself. The account of these nineteen-year-old kids building up a company valued at $15 billion over the course of just a few years is stunning. The growth pains that accompany such rapid success are also discussed, and Zuckerberg’s talent for getting advice from older dot-com veterans has helped Facebook survive some potentially fatal experiences.

The first two-thirds of The Facebook Effect trace the business’ growth from 2004 to 2010. It makes for fascinating reading. The last hundred pages or so are devoted to chapters such as “Facebook And The World,” “The Evolution Of Facebook,” and “The Future.” These speculative essays were probably necessary to balance out the book, but they are the least interesting portions of The Facebook Effect.

David Kirkpatrick is a former senior editor at Fortune magazine, and his writing style is a winning combination of business facts mixed with the quirky personalities of the key players. The Facebook Effect is informative and fun, a rare combination in the world of business books. For up to the minute information on the biggest social networking site the world has ever known, it is recommended.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • is this what David Fincher’s upcoming movie is based on?

  • Greg Barbrick

    Don’t know, but Kirkpatrick had full access to Zuckerberg and his staff. My guess is yes.


  • newbedave

    OK, I think I need to tell this story from the beginning.
    It all started in the year 2003 when I was logged in to the Harvard website, where I was listening in to the conversations of the Harvard students. One of these students was Mark Zuckerberg who was talking about Face Smash and he had just broken up with his girlfriend at the time, so I struck up a conversation with this Mark Zuckerberg. He was talking about creating a dating site. I thought this was a bit odd – a pie in the sky idea since he had just broken up with his girlfriend and he was slagging her off – calling her a bitch and a whore.
    I talked to Mark about the idea, and suggested he call it Face Mash. He was intrigued with my suggestion and thought it was a good idea. Mark wanted to call it Face Smash, because he wanted to smash his ex in the face. I convinced him that Face Mash was a good idea and he agreed, but one week later he changed his mind and wanted to call it Face Smash. When I queried him about this he replied ‘f…. off you c…- I’m calling it Face Smash’. Two weeks after this conversation he came up with the name Mashable and when I asked him why he chose the word Mashable instead of Face Mash he said ‘f,…off you bastard, Face mash is not your idea’. So I re-posted the conversations we had two weeks earlier and he had to apologise and said he was going with Mashable. I took this as a sign that he wanted to throw me off the scent and take the site for himself.
    I found the character of Mark Zuckerberg to be deceptive and dishonest and ended conversing with Mark Zuckerberg because of his dishonesty and lack of integrity

  • cloodeen