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Facebook: The Inside Story

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  34 reviews
From renowned tech writer Steven Levy, the definitive history of one of America's most powerful and controversial companies: Facebook

In his sophomore year of college, Mark Zuckerberg created a simple website to serve as a campus social network. The site caught on like wildfire, and soon students nationwide were on Facebook.

Today, Facebook is nearly unrecognizable from
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Published February 27th 2020 by Penguin Audio (first published February 25th 2020)
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Emily Carlin
A readable history of Facebook. Also, in some senses, a biography of its founder.

I thought Levy was a little too neutral, but maybe thats the price he had to pay for the level of access he got (many interviews with Zuckerberg, Sandberg, etc.). The book veers a bit into glorifying-boy-genius-founder territory, but does temper that by suggesting a healthy dose of luck was necessary for FBs success (examples of companies doing similar things at slightly different times, etc.).

Even with the
Lahiru Perera
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a good one. Steven runs through almost everything since Facebook's early days. Goes into detail about some significant areas as you might expect. Though some parts I felt Steven was being a little too kind on Facebook.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first third of this book is an interesting story about the early days of the company. The rest is just re-telling of last years' critical coverage of the scandals associated with Facebook with little insight or new information.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
This book is as comprehensive and as much of an insider's look you're gonna get into the first 15 years of Facebook. Here, the story of Facebook is practically synonymous with the biography of Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook's (and Zuckerberg's) meteoric rise is captured in riveting detail, as well as its dramatic falls, over and over again. The author spent three years with Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, lived to tell about it, and published a very readable, complete history without the book ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, tech
Steven Levy is the editor of Wired. He's also the journalist whose delved into the world of big tech, from 'The Life and Times of Macintosh' to 'In the Plex' (on Google). His latest offering sees him exploring another giant - Facebook.

Steven has known Mark Zuckerberg for a considerable period of time, and 'The Inside Story' features a lot of snippets from interviews. Sheryl Sandberg features less prominently, partly because he had to wangle more time with her.

Beginning from Mark Zuckerberg's
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pick this book up if you want to understand Facebook as a company! The author explores Facebook's journey from a small college project to a Silicon Valley darling that ends up losing public trust when its "move fast and break things" approach reveals harmful side effects. While most of the facts in this journey are relatively well-know, the inside view of the reasoning within the company and among decision-makers at certain key moments is enlightening.

I found it interesting to learn about the
Robert Krangle
Mar 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Levy (the writer) is a pal of Mark Zuckerberg. He wrote or imho re-wrote the true story of Facebook just as Mark would like it. Levy tries to appear unbiased by putting Mark down at several points in the book but when it comes to the key re-writes of the Facebook story he does just as Mark wants. Mark is also "family friends" with David Kirkpatrick who wrote "The Facebook Effect" another book that does the same re-writes of Facebook's history. These books are garbage for doing that. Mark ...more
Dan Watts
In 10 years, when when/if young people take an interest in the early years of Facebook, then this book will be considered the authoritative guide. However, I can't recommend the book to anyone today: either you're already familiar with most of the material in this book, or you don't care about Facebook. Although the book is extensively researched (as proven by dozens of pages of footnotes) and the author was able to interview Facebook's executives, I don't remember anything of significance in ...more
Vitaly Barilo
The access to the company employees and Zuckerberg himself is a great thing, as we got the side of the story, we couldnt have gotten otherwise, but it also has another side of being too forgiving.
There is a lot of talk about apologies, but as history shows they dont mean anything to Zuck and company. I was hoping for a more Super Pumped vibe, as both Facebook and Uber are horrible companies managed by evil people, but its not that.
Also would be nice to have a more equal look on Republican vs
Jonathan Mckay
15th book of 2020. An Outsider's view.

If you want an entertaining remix of the facts, I would recommend watching 'The Social Network.' It's equally inaccurate and has a better soundtrack.

Having worked closely on the areas that Levy covers, I can affirm that Levy is no Bob Woodward. Levy's book reads like a summary of press from 2017-2019, too busy dunking on Facebook's mistakes to bring any new insight to the table. If you want to understand Facebook, read Ben Thompson's newsletter, or Chaos
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific read about a man, a company, an industry and an era. Levy did a remarkable amount of information gathering and had enough access to make his book ring true. The book is arranged topically more than chronologically - which makes complete sense from a story telling perspective but which made it a little confusing at times to know what was happening when. Useful resource documenting the development of social media writ large as well. Very engaging.
Tommi H
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once you get past the first few chapters of the origin story, a fascinating behind-the-scenes story of THE platform of our time. The book doesnt paint a rosy picture but sheds light how things (supposedly) happened - Trump, Russian infowar, VR, Whatsapp, Instagram and the like.

Must read for everyone in tech.
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Everything you'd ever want to know in any way about the start-up, running, and predictions of Facebook. Everything. And it's so dry you need Gordon Ramsey yelling at it.

I did learn I'm more well-read than Zuckerberg because he didn't know that "poke" is a euphemism from Lonesome Dove hahahaaaaa. I mean why would he know that with his zabillionaire self.
Michel Salim
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating history

As a Facebook engineer who joined just before the 2016 election, this is a fascinating insight into what the management thinks about the issues of the day as well as Facebook's mission.

Not commenting on the facts, but the atmosphere portrayed, and the big picture, seems accurate.
Super informative, sometimes a little too much. I admit, I skimmed the last hundred pages or so because it was such current events that I knew a lot of the story already. Very heavily researched, and Levy is a great writer, I just feel this was one I could have read a chapter every so often instead of plowing straight through.
Phil Simon
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent history of perhaps the most controversial, important, and despised company in the last fifteen years. To be sure, Levy's balanced approach understandably offends Facebook and Zuckerberg haters. As someone who's read his other books, though, I expected nothing less than the well-researched, informative book that he ultimately delivers.
Dennis McClure
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Facebook is a fixed, if controversial, part of our culture. I found this exploration of its history fascinating. Well written, of course. This author has impeccable credentials.

To understand the evolution of Facebook is to understand the evolution of the world we live I n.
Manas Saloi
If you have been following facebook's story over the last few years, there are not a lot of new things you will learn from this book. It also seems like an authorised account where the author was trying his best to put Facebook and Zuckerberg in a positive light

Kanishka Sirdesai
Picked this book assuming it will be a different story. Was surprised to find that its another puff piece. The author left the earlier lawsuits out. Can understand why, he needed the access to the bigwigs. Read this book only if you havent read anything about Facebook. ...more
Fawaz Abdul rahman
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tells the story of Facebook, and stories of all its other major apps such as whatsapp and instagram.
and discusses facebook's approaches towards privacy, growth and future palns.
as well about major scandals especially the recent ones during the 2016 election.
Mark O'mara
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book (audiobook). Essentially an excellent history of Facebook with some good well balanced insights into Mark Zuckerberg. I wanted to get up yo speed on some tech history and this well written and well respected book delivered.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow incredible depth and nuance. It's not all villains or saviors, because that's not how the world works. I highly recommend this for anyone that is interested in the history of Facebook through the present day.
Jill Joplin
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is extremely fascinating and a little scary.
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid journalism. Lots of hard questions asked. Facebooks reputation damage feels self-inflicted, ultimately. ...more
Christian Erb
First part of the book is about the book which is highly interesting. The rest is all about the recent scandals which wasnt that interesting for me and took to much space in the book for my taste
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. Good deep background written by Steven Levy, a master on tech subjects and making the complicated understandable and giving context and insight into the players.
Diego Leal
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was phenomenal. All access to the stories behind the curtain.
Udbhav Jatia
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well-researched. Lots of interesting anecdotes and stories which I had never heard of. Overall, a very balanced potrayal of Zuckerberg and Facebooks impact on the world. ...more
Tarun Pothulapati
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a good read, especially if you haven't been following a lot of news around Facebook and its companies, etc. The content in the first half of the book was definitely more interesting to me, as it gives a third person view of the core events that happened in Facebook's Growth like News-feed, etc. Definitely gives you an insider perspective (especially for good things.) Mark's view on acquisitions and his thinking around the core events was also interesting to know.

The one downside for
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty sure this book has convinced me to stop using Facebook. Though their recent work to promote reliable COVID-19 resources deserves praise, regardless of their history of misinformation spreading.
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Steven Levy is editor at large at Wired, and author of eight books, including the new Facebook: the Inside Story, the definitive history of that controversial company. His previous works include the legendary computer history Hackers, Artificial Life, the Unicorn 's Secret, In the Plex (the story of Google, chose as Amazon and Audible's best business book of 2011), and Crypto, which won the ...more

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“When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” 0 likes
“Zuckerberg hadn’t approached Thefacebook that way. He was building something that he wanted for himself, and people were naturally flocking to it. That had been the story of the giants of tech—Apple, eBay, Yahoo!, Google.” 0 likes
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