I was sent this book by the publisher, McGraw Hill, to review. Written by the Queen of Social Media, Ekaterina Walter, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg was touted as an exploration into the leadership secrets behind Facebook’s extraordinary growth, and I was really looking forward to it. Ekaterina is the Global Social Innovation Strategist for Intel; writes for Mashable, Fast Company and The Huffington Post; and sits on the boards of Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and FitFluential. She even did a TED talk. With that kind of pedigree powering it, I knew this book would be worthwhile.
Think Like Zuck opens, appropriately, with a comprehensive history of Facebook and all of its many accomplishments. It is almost unfathomable how much that company has done, and how much of the world it has changed, in just a few short years. To see it all laid out like that really is impressive. Regardless of how you feel about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, what they have done is nothing short of extraordinary, from both a business standpoint and a sociological one.
After the moving and informative (Mark was captain of his fencing team? Who new?) introduction, the author dives into the real meat of the book, which is the five principals of Facebook’s success: Passion, Purpose, People, Product, and Partnerships. These five elements form the structure for the book as Ekaterina explores each one its own section.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the book isn’t devoted entirely to the many exploits of Facebook. She deftly weaves in the stories of several other exemplary and successful companies who follow, in whole or in part, the five principles. With her insider’s access to these companies she is able to really bring forth some inspiring and informative stories of how companies like Zappos, Xplane, College Humor Media, Threadless, Dyson, and JESS3, owned by her fellow FitFluential Board member Leslie Bradshaw, have used these ideas to propel their business to the next level.
While the five principals are important in their own right, the author also uses them as the framework to her narrative of Mark’s leadership journey from college kid to corporate titan. Just as she encourages future leaders to follow their passions, she follows Mark as he chases his own until, after several smaller starts, he learns to focus on his main product: Facebook. It is in building that product that he learns the importance of having the right people on his team and the necessity of having a larger purpose to inspire such a team. In closing, Ekaterina artfully, through anecdotes and personal recollections, explains the need for true partnership in every successful executive team.
Think Like Zuck is well written, insightful, and a great start for anyone who is finally ready to pursue their passion and create their own business.
I was provided a copy of the book free of charge, but all opinions in this review are my own.