I'm always interested in learning more about the Internet and the software and hardware that make it the revolutionary tool that our society has come to rely on so heavily. As much as I find technology interesting, I'm not always enthralled by books that talk about the history of the Internet and technology. So many of them are dry, boring and absolute pains to get through -- which is just bizarre! Access to the Internet is now being considered a right and not a privilege, so it seems ridiculous that so few people actually know what flows in the tubes inside the interwebz.
Enter Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves by Adam L. Penenberg, an incredibly readable hybrid of business, marketing and technology writing.
I picked my copy at the local library, thinking it might be a somewhat interesting read to skim. I start it earlier today and have already flown through nearly half the book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in how word of mouth marketing works, as well as how to apply it to a business with access to the Internet.
The book covers more than just Facebook -- it also talks about Tupperware, how Internet browsers developed and how people leveraged the new technology of the 1990s into millions of dollars by understanding human behavior (and being pretty damn skilled/lucky).
One thing to note before you take Viral Loop to heart: it was written in 2009, so it's not exactly cutting edge. While I'm really enjoying this book and its discussion of marketing theory, recent tech history and how they collide in the real world, the last five years really show in its lack of discussion of mobile applications and some of the companies that are examined.
If you've read it or think you want to read it, comment away and tell me what you think!