Today in books and publishing: A former employee reveals some juicy Facebook secrets; a book from Amy Winehouse's dad; read to get out of jail; Dear Abby takes on book clubs.
Former Facebook employee tells all, or a lot. Katherine Losse's new book, The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network, is out today. From 2005 to 2010, Losse worked in customer service at the company; she also was a ghostwriter for Mark Zuckerberg. The books promises some juicy stuff, "from Facebook's company obsessed culture to its rowdy company parties." From TheBoyKings.com, about the book:
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.
Among the other details revealed: employees were expected to dedicate themselves to "the cause," (aka, living the Facebook way); employees with most-liked photos and posts on their profiles would win monetary rewards; and there was a secret Facebook app called Judgebook that allowed company employees to score images of Facebook users. Also, while at VIP parties in Las Vegas, "Facebook employees would have bouncers bring women to their table, then turn them away for not being attractive enough." (Dislike.) There's some redemption, though, as Connor Simpson wrote in The Atlantic Wire over the weekend, with Sheryl Sandberg's hiring and the ensuing change in the corporate culture. [CNBC]
Amy Winehouse's dad's book. Also out today is Amy, My Daughter, from Harper Collins, a book written by Mitch Winehouse after his famous daughter died at the age of 27 from accidental alcohol poisoning last July. In it, Winehouse blames Blake Fielder-Civil, Amy's ex-husband, for getting her hooked on heroin and crack cocaine. This also means that he despises Back to Black, in which all of the songs, except "Rehab," are "about the biggest low-life scumbag that God ever put breath into," he says. Writing the book, he says, was cathartic for him. The Amy Winehouse Foundation will receive the author's proceeds of sales. [USA Today]
A free, downloadable e-book on the future of advertising. Pay it forward by Tweeting or Facebooking about it, asks Hyper Island, the interactive ad agency that created the book at a one-day workshop in June. You can also buy a print copy the old-fashioned way. What does this business model mean for advertising? It seems a bit like publishing, in this case. [Hyper Island]
Read, get out of jail early. Brazil is giving inmates in four of its federal prisons the opportunity to shorten sentences by a maximum of 48 days a year by reading books. There are some rules: They have to read each book in four weeks, and then write a proper essay with correct paragraphs, margins, and "legible joined-up writing." A panel will decide which prisoners are eligible in the program, which is being called "Redemption through Reading." [Reuters]
Dear Abby on book groups. "Readers agree that the reading and socializing should be kept separate and were quick to offer solutions to the problem of mixing the two." What does she say about Oprah 2.0, though? [Times Union]
Summer reads for science nerds. For those who like brains with their beach. We're not talking about zombies. Also, no biting. [MSNBC]