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The Boy Kings: A Journey Into the Heart of the Social Networkby Katherine Losse
Synopses & Reviews
Kate Losse was a grad school refugee when she joined Facebook as employee #51 in 2005. Hired to answer user questions such as "What is a poke?" and "Why can't I access my ex-girlfriend's profile?" her early days at the company were characterized by a sense of camaraderie, promise, and ambition: Here was a group of scrappy young upstarts on a mission to rock Silicon Valley and change the world.
Over time, this sense of mission became so intense that working for Facebook felt like more than just a job; it implied a wholehearted dedication to "the cause." Employees were incentivized to live within one mile of the office, summers were spent carousing at the company pool house, and female employees were told to wear T-shirts with founder Mark Zuckerberg's profile picture on his birthday. Losse started to wonder what this new medium meant for real-life relationships: Would Facebook improve our social interactions? Or would we all just adapt our behavior to the habits and rules of these brilliant but socially awkward Internet savants who have become today's youngest power players? Increasingly skeptical, Losse graduated from customer service to the internationalization team — tasked with rolling out Facebook to the rest of the world — finally landing a seat right outside Zuckerberg's office as his personal ghostwriter, the voice of the boy king.
This book takes us for the first time into the heart of this fast-growing information empire, inviting us to high-level meetings with Zuckerberg; lifting the veil on long nights of relentless hacking and trolling; taking us behind the scenes of raucous company parties; and introducing us to the personalities, values, and secret ambitions of the floppy-haired boy wonders who are redefining the way we live, love, and work. By revealing here what's really driving both the business and the culture of the social network, Losse answers the biggest question of all: What kind of world is Facebook trying to build, and is it the world we want to live in?
"Losse offers an insider's look into the early years and growing pains of Facebook in this compelling, but ultimately unenlightening book. Anyone who's seen The Social Network or read a shred of gossip news regarding the king of the boy kings, Mark Zuckerberg, will be familiar with Losse's decoction of Facebook's potent mix of youthful exuberance and Silicon Valley hubris. The author was hired as a 'customer-support rep' (the company's 51st employee), and was promptly given the 'keys to the kingdom — ' the master password that gave her access to every user's personal information. But Losse's professional place in the fledgling company was tenuous — she was at once attracted and repelled by the power she wielded, but she also never quite fit into the 'Paolo Alto club' culture of the company. Eventually, she served as the official ghostwriter for Zuckerberg, bringing her close to the action, but not quite involved in the action. As such, this reads less like a whistleblower's revelatory tell-all, and more like the personal grumblings of a discontented former employee. Right before Losse quit her job (she also worked on the company's internationalization efforts), she made a final trip down to Sao Paolo with Zuckerberg to bring Facebook into Brazil. There, a security detail tells her that she is 'only important because is;' unfortunately, so is this book. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"In her dark, hypnotic memoir of working at Facebook during its rising years, Katherine Losse tests Mark Zuckerberg's dogmatic belief in transparency's inherent good by removing the privacy controls on his own life. The result is a reluctantly Machiavellian guidebook to Silicon Valley — and a strong endorsement for maintaining a separate social life rather than a fully public 'pics or it didn't happen' one." The Daily
"The Boy Kings needs a place on your summer reading list. Losse made me think twice about how I socialize with people, and how exactly that came to be — and it just might encourage you to hop offline and appreciate non-virtual reality." Glamour
About the Author
Katherine Losse was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and holds a master's degree in English from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Marfa, Texas.
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