Biz Stone is the co-founder and co-inventor of Twitter, but he didn't stop there. GQ's forward-looking "Nerd of the Year" continues to launch products, the most recent of which is the Jelly app. Radiating a winning informality, his Things a Little Bird Told Me offers upbeat advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and think-tank thinkers. Its combination of real-world examples; guiding principles; and his personal stories about working at Google and Twitter make this book a lively, rewarding read.
The way to succeed in business is to gamble your future, follow your bliss, and save the world, according to this effusive but callow memoir-cum-motivational manifesto by the co-founder of Twitter. Stone narrates a classic Silicon Valley romance: shoe-string startup with a crazy yet banal idea; explosive network growth; avalanche of wealth that leaves its recipient modest, , and abrim with grandiose theories about “human flocking.” Unfortunately, his picture of Twitter—aka “a triumph of humanity”—is sketchy and idealized. We learn little about how the company makes money when it’s not undermining tyrannies and giving to charity, and Stone’s own role is vague: he brainstorms Twitter’s bird logo and troubleshoots with irate customers, but his main job description seems to be “embodying and communicating the spirit of the thing” and “buil a moral compass and a righteous soul into the company.” He distills his life experiences into self-help sermonettes that talk loudly but tread lightly. (“e willing to die to achieve your goals. Figuratively, of course.”) Stone often writes with considerable self-deprecating charm—his portrait of Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg as a humorless noodge is priceless—but when he dilates on his philosophy of thrill-seeking entrepreneurship, one longs for a 140-character limit. (Apr.)
"Things A Little Bird Told Me is a moving, funny and illuminating life story, and Biz pours himself into the telling, bringing a unique gift of perspective to anyone dreaming of taking risks, changing their lives and changing the world." --Arianna Huffington
"In THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME, Biz gives away all his secrets to success. I advised him against it. If you're not inspired and informed by this book, then you haven't read it." --Stephen Colbert
"Biz Stone's anything-but-ordinary journey both surprises and inspires. Things A Little Bird Told Me is a peek into a unique mind that, I'm happy to add, entertains us as well." --Ron Howard
"As someone who has personally experienced Biz's generosity and genius, I'm thrilled that readers of Things a Little Bird Told Me can now draw inspiration from his values and vision. A must-read for anyone who wants to tap their creative potential." --Charles Best, Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org
"Most tales of startup success revolve around a lone genius out-maneuvering the competition. But the story Biz Stone tells is a riveting-and often hilarious-break from that tradition: a story of collaboration, sharing, and the power of networks."--Steven Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From
The co-founder of Twitter shares wisdom on the business of success. Tech pioneer Stone (Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs, 2004, etc.) has the best intentions when he counsels readers to develop and challenge the ideas we prize most. By "merging your abilities with your ambitions," he writes, the keys to becoming successful entrepreneurs are within reach. His book, an effective hybrid of memoir and motivational guidebook, charts Stone's own triumph from humble beginnings spent tirelessly cultivating Xanga, his first startup web company, which struggled but never did anything but plunge him and his girlfriend deep into debt. It did, however, familiarize him with fellow tech wunderkind Evan Williams. That association would place him on Google's doorstep in 2003, vying for a position developing Williams' program Blogger. Dipping into podcasting and a few smaller startup ideas kept Stone focused once he'd separated from Google, but the brainstorming (what he dubs "the two-week hackathon"), which became the impetus for Twitter, is both exciting, ingenious and exciting to read about. Specifics on this Silicon Valley success story were soon drafted, such as the 140-character limit ("constraint inspires creativity"), how to troubleshoot its numerous platform failures, and how to further Twitter's public appeal and functionality ("the mechanics of flocking"). Twitter's explosion onto the tech map would bring about a proposal from Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg, described in deliciously vicarious detail by Stone, who's obviously not a fan. More personal insights on his veganism and altruism follows, all written with a chatty, amiable sensibility that makes Stone emerge as one of the more benign web-app execs to burst from the California tech gold mine. Perceptive, motivational advice for geeks and nongeeks alike, all interwoven with the true story of how Twitter found its flock.