You can review the latest Business in Vancouver book reviews below, which feature contributions from UBC Library’s Jan Wallace and UBC Bookstore’s Treena Chambers.

Origins of social-networking website giant revealed

This article from Business in Vancouver August 3-9, 2010; issue 1084

The Accidental Billionaires

The founding of Facebook: a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal

By Ben Mezrich

Anchor, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg creeps along the wall of a locked student residence at Harvard, plugs a cable into a port and hacks into the student photo database. Soon after, Facemash is born – a website where Harvard students can vote on pictures of undergraduates while Zuckerberg’s algorithm calculates the best-looking students on campus. Harvard’s version of Hot or Not begins its brief life.

Within its first two hours, Facemash had logged 22,000 votes and crashed its server – Zuckerberg’s own laptop.

The Accidental Billionaires chronicles the birth of Facebook – from its inception as a student website created by friends Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, to the runaway social-networking site that now boasts more than 500 million active users.

What magic powers does Zuckerberg possess to have imagined the awesome simplicity and appeal of Facebook? He was not alone in dreaming of a social network that would allow people to connect. But the Facemash experience showed him that people want to connect with their friends – and with a group of friends that they create and manage. The ability to create a product that goes viral so quickly and easily is an astonishing mystery, which the book delves into.

It tells the story of an era when Zuckerberg and many others were dreaming of, and trying to build, social networks such as MySpace. Zuckerberg had the good fortune to have as an early financier his friend and fellow Harvard student Saverin, who bankrolled the company, and eventual Facebook president Sean Parker, who introduced Zuckerberg to Silicon Valley.

The film based on The Accidental Billionaires is scheduled for release in October. Notably, no current Facebook executives co-operated with the book’s production. Saverin did co-operate and is thanked in the author’s note. The Accidental Billionaires is a fun but fluffy tome, perfect for a couple of hours of summertime reading. •

Jan Wallace is head of the David Lam Management Research Library at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

Five Seconds At a Time

By Denis Shackel

HarperCollins, 2010

Most people have wondered what they would do when faced with what seems an insurmountable predicament. Would we rise to the situation or be overwhelmed? In Five Seconds at a Time Shackel shares his leadership lessons and the personal tragedy that tested all his beliefs. Five Seconds provides effective tools and strategies to excel. With a mix of survival stories, leadership principles and case studies, this book will inspire readers to believe they can achieve the impossible.

Forbes Best Business Mistakes

By Bob Sellers,

Wiley, 2010

Sharing practical lessons from their work and personal lives, some of today’s top business minds show us how they turned mistakes into successes. Jack Welch blows the top off a factory and learns how important it is to support his staff when they are at their lowest. In his university entrance interview, Mohamed El-Erian learns how important critical thought and research can be when he quotes a book that his interviewer had just critiqued. And in Forbes Best Business Mistakes, Sellers shares what he learned from revealing interviews with business leaders.

The Plundered Planet

By Paul Collier,

Oxford University Press, 2010

While acknowledging the benefits of industrialization, The Plundered Planet offers a lucid vision to address some of its consequences. Collier offers realistic and sustainable solutions to climate change. While I do not agree with all of his conclusions, the debate is one in which we all need to engage. Not everyone can marry complex economic theories with environmental romanticism, but Collier does it in a chatty, entertaining way. Calling for a bottom-up approach, he challenges us all to look for solutions to carbon emissions that respect natural resources and the remaining biodiversity of the planet. •

Treena Chambers is the marketing technology co-ordinator at the UBC Bookstore.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet