I had no interest in reading The Facebook Effect, the new book from David Kirkpatrick. I spend way too much time on Facebook as is, and when I'm not spending time on it, I&39;m working on a client&39;s Facebook program or reading about all the latest news. Why would I want to read a book about the damn thing?
It turns out I had a very good reason: I was serving on a panel with him so I had to read the book in advance. If only everyone could find such a good excuse.
The real joy reading the book came from watching Mark Zuckerberg&39;s revelation as the genius that he is, working with a few equally gifted youngsters and ultimately some very supportive older mentors to unleash Mark&39;s vision on the world. It&39;s inspiring, and truly amazing. Luck may have played a role, but what&39;s more striking is how great decision making – from people who often had little experience making such decisions – played a tremendous role. It&39;s not just people who built a somewhat better network and managed to get ahead; these were people who believed in a vision and had the brains and balls to carry it out. And several weren&39;t even 20 when they started doing so.
Then there&39;s the latter part of the book, which is very good and interesting, though not quite as inspiring. Kirkpatrick focused extensively on Facebook&39;s approach to privacy – along with its missteps, and the development of its advertising-focused revenue model. These chapters felt a bit more like work, which is fine since I love my job, and if you find debates about privacy particularly touching maybe you&39;ll like it more than me.
It&39;s clearly written for a business audience. That&39;s a shame in a sense, as it really could be two books – the version of it that&39;s a riches to megariches tale of a kid pursuing his dreams, which would have much wider appeal and just about any Facebook user friend of mine would love it. Then there&39;s the rest, and it&39;s hard to recommend that too broadly. But readers of the blog should appreciate it.
And while I am publishing this an hour before sharing&0160;a stage (or a table) with Kirkpatric, I&39;d be just as glowing if I wasn&39;t. It shouldn&39;t have taken that much motivation to get me to read it, and with any luck you&39;ll be a little less hesitant now. I actually read relatively few business books these days (while reading as much as ever in general) so I have to choose carefully, and this was well worth the time spent with it.