15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Worth reading if you care about where the internet is heading, 6 Aug 2010
I just finished reading 'The Facebook Effect' about an hour ago, and I must admit that I was surprised by the book and it's content. It gave an intelligent account of the story of Facebook and real insight into the thinking of founder and CEO Mark Zuckenberg.
There were two concerns when I started reading the book. The first one was that the author, David Kirkpatrick had clearly been given a great deal of access to Facebook and you couldn't expect him to be too critical of the company given his apparent closeness to the founder and key staff. Second, that the book would be an excited and prophetic account about the 'Facebook miracle' hyping once more an already over-hyped subject.
After finishing the book I feel that Kirkpatrick was able to tell the story of Facebook in a revealing way and that his proximity to the company was a real asset in understanding the guiding thinking and philosophy behind the company. We learn how the founder approached some major challenges and changes to the platform, from the expansion outside of the Ivy league network of US unversities, to the introduction of newsfeeds and it's subsequent user rebellion as well as global expansion. It delves a little too much in the equity structure and on-going discussion about selling or not selling and who thought what when. It fails to truly critize Facebook in any significant way - although it raises the privacy issues and concerns, you still end up feeling that Mark Zuckenberg is a visionary genius who had figured it out from the beginning (which he probably is - but you leave feeling you needed a more balanced account to be convinced). Although it is balanced by the doubts and lack of certainty that he experience you still feel that there is more to the story than what is told and that luck and circumstance played a more significant role than 'brave and bold' strategic decisions. Maybe the upcoming movie 'the Social Network' will help complete the picture of the Facebook story.
On the Facebook miracle question, the book clearly hypes the company as more a less the future of the internet, and sometimes even the future of humanity, morals, and mankind. This is when Kirkpatrick get's carried away by the official Facebook propaganda. However the underlying changes that Facebook is doing to society, as well as it's incredibly important significance for the world of business and communications is explained in an intelligent and meaningful way. I felt I understand much better some of the changes that happened to fFacebook, and where it is heading and how the corporate culture and founder's vision is getting it there.
On the whole it is a thoroughly enjoyable read, worth your while if you want to understand how Facebook happened, and get an insight into the mind of the founder. It should be more critical of Facebook and more open about the accidental events that lead to it's dominant position (and could equally removing it from that pedestal), but all in all it was a great read.