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Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind Hardcover – Apr 1 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 1 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455528714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455528714
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #194,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"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

About the Author

Biz Stone became an Internet entrepreneur in 1999. He went on to work for Google, helped to create both blogging and podcasting, and then co-invented Twitter.

Before he was a tech star, Biz wrote books and articles about the social aspects of technology in the nascent days of the web. He regularly addresses large audiences as a visiting scholar at colleges or keynote speaker for companies and conferences

Most recently, Biz is founder and CEO of his newest venture, Jelly.

He lives near San Francisco, California with his wife and son.

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Format: Hardcover
As an active semi retired age 72, I was moved to joyful tears by this young mans clear understanding that good basic values are the foundation for everything- personally and in the corporate world. If you value some good direction on how to live your life, and do your part in caring for one another, I encourage you to read his amazing story, and the course he has set for living his life, along with his wonderful wife Livia and "family"!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought I knew the "story" of Twitter by reading articles on the web (e.g. [...]), but this book gave a completely different perspective. What I like about Biz is that he really focuses on the positive side of Twitter's growth vs. the 'blood bath' stories that people tend to focus on. His stories translated into lessons beneficial to any entrepreneur who's trekking through the early days of a start-up trying to juggle a million tasks. Biz is a true hustler who didn't realize how important his role was at Twitter until he ultimately left the company. Looking at Twitter as a company today, I can safely say that Biz leaving has hurt Twitter's overall growth and success rate. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to see entrepreneurship and life through the eyes of a human being who is focused on positive change in this world and in people by using our collective power to proceed in the right direction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa35e8108) out of 5 stars 108 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa39812f4) out of 5 stars This disarming man... April 3 2014
By Gabriella West - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
(I received a digital review copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.)

"Things a Little Bird Told Me" is not your average business book. I see it more as a creative memoir of Biz's life and times. He was one of the four original co-founders of Twitter (Evan, Jack, and Noah were the others). Biz starts by taking us through his somewhat surreal initial hiring at Google (helped by Evan, who became a close friend), then his jumping ship to Evan's new startup Odeo, and then the birth of Twitter, which began as a two-week hackathon project by Jack and Biz, believe it or not!

There are so many great stories in the book. Biz seems like an unusual character, a self-deprecating "chancer" who bounces quickly from failure to success and is not ashamed to open up about his missteps. He comes off as sunny and warm and willing to look like a fool at times. The story of Ev and Biz driving down to Palo Alto to see Mark Zuckerberg is an awkward classic. (What must Zuckerberg have heard about these guys to have treated them like such morons? One wonders.)

Biz, to me, seems like he has ADHD. He proudly tells the tale of his "No Homework Policy" in high school, for example, where he simply gave up doing it because it took him too long. (The mind boggles. Who could get away with that? Well, someone who doesn't play by the rules and doesn't see the point of structure.) Biz's openness is very nice, but there is a shadow behind this book and that shadow is Nick Bilton's very much darker account of the founding of Twitter, with its quasi-Shakesperean theme of friendships betrayed.

I will admit that I haven't read Bilton's book yet, but I really want to after reading Biz's side of the story. What bothered me most in Biz's account was how he gave Noah Glass short shrift. Noah actually came up with the name "Twitter," but Biz presents it as an almost random incident in the book. Biz's friendship with Jack Dorsey raises some questions as well. Biz spins everything positively but can't quite cover the ouster of Evan Williams as CEO by the Twitter board without giving away what a painful and disillusioning episode this was.

The book shone for me when Biz was talking about how he envisaged Twitter as a collaborative force for good and strove to keep Twitter neutral and nonpartisan, letting the users determine new features. I love using Twitter and, because it has brought so much to my own life, I appreciate where he's coming from. I only hope that Twitter can stay relatively noncommercial as the company continues under a new administration.

So, I give it four stars because I feel that the account of the dynamics between the founders was somewhat self-serving. On the other hand, I didn't have a dull moment reading it. It was an interesting look into the mind of a creative force who is a genius at creating opportunities for himself!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44e70cc) out of 5 stars Autobiographic and self-serving account of Stone's career April 27 2014
By John Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Things a Little Bird Told Me is an autobiographical account by Biz Stone of his life, focusing on his professional career. Stone is best known as one of the founders of Twitter. He indicates that he began his work career as a graphic artist after dropping out of college. He became acquainted with Evan Williams over the Internet and Williams, who was then working at Google, convinced him to work there as well. After a brief stint at Google he left with Williams when the latter buys Odeo which includes Twitter and the site grows exponentially. But he leaves after his friend Evan is fired as CEO and now has started a new company called “Jelly” which in a mobile app that allows people to ask questions and get answers from real people.

Throughout the book Stone drops small gems of personal wisdom such as the idea that constraint inspires creativity (Twitter is limited to 140 words), be willing to take risks to succeed, be optimistic and trust your instincts, know what you want and believe in your ability to get it. Also he advises that you do not follow rules and conventions blindly as he clearly did not. Stone comes across as egotistical and self-serving, referring to himself as a “genius” and always coming off as the good guy who tries to make everyone happy. At the end he talks about how good people are and that he wants to help people. Twitter he says put people first and technology second, whereas Google does the reverse.

Some of his stories about himself are poignant such as how as a small boy he overcame his fear of the dark by intentionally going into a room with the lights off to see if any monsters would attack him. When none did he says he lost his fear of the dark. The message is “to seek knowledge even in the face of fear.”

This book will be of interest to people who are interested in Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and technology. It is relatively short and can be easily read in a few hours. It is clearly not on the level of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Readers may also want to read Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilto, which covers the creation of the company from another perspective.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35f3e28) out of 5 stars Inspiring, Insightful, and Well-Written April 1 2014
By Ryan J. Dejonghe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME by Biz Stone has done two things for me: left me inspired, and convinced me that Mr. Stone is a nice, cool, and interesting guy. In fact, reading this book reminded me of Chris Hadfield’s AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH. Through determination, mental projection, and a bit of luck, amazing things can happen. Or, so we are lead to believe.

This book goes through the life of Biz Stone from the time he was living in his mom’s basement with his girlfriend, tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and on to the time where Twitter is valued at fifteen billion dollars. Much of what Stone writes is vastly quotable as he relates his optimistic vision of himself and those around him. For instance, Stone says that “failures become our assets” and relates to how Twitter’s down time and the display of the “Fail Whale” actually helped Twitter grow stronger.

Stone endeavors to show how he is relatable to the Everyday Joe. He describes how his family lives modestly; how he programmed the company of Twitter to have a moral compass; and, how he can relate almost any life occurrence to an episode of Star Trek. From what we read here, he is inspiring and funny.

This book is filled with interesting stories, such as: the joke offer to sell Twitter to Mark Zuckerberg for five-hundred million dollars; the major event SXSW 2007 turned out to be; the Moldova unrest; and the plane landing in the Hudson River. Of particular interest is how Twitter got involved in the Presidential Elections with Obama and how Stone was steadfast in his resolve to remain unbiased, especially when NSA’s PRISM was seeking user data.

Some of Stone’s advice may seem excessively daring or foolhardy. He shows that high risk does have the potential of high reward, but the reader doesn’t get a glimpse into other peoples’ lives that weren’t so lucky. Malcom Gladwell relates this same type of hard-work and success in his book OUTLIERS with the examples of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Being at the right place at the right time has its benefits, too. (As an aside, Stone mentions Gladwell directly in this book as a point of contention.) Still, Stone gives some concession in his closing remarks, encouraging readers to perhaps alter their course versus jumping into the chasm blindly.

The bottom line: this is an exciting book. Stone is readable, quotable, and fun. He has his quirks, but that’s what gives this book its life.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an electronic copy of this book for review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa400ba68) out of 5 stars A below average biography June 8 2014
By Arshad Altaf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I got this book during a travel trip and I must say that it is not interesting at all. After having read biographies of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and a few other similar extra ordinary technology gurus this one does not come close one bit. Biz Stone was part of a core team that created a world wide phenomenon (even though I don't have a "Twitter" account) but his story is an uninteresting one which does not get anywhere. I don't understand how other reviewers have mentioned that there are multiple tips in there. The only that interested me was "ask questions" and that's about it. I would suggest to look for something else if you are really keen on reading a biography.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c286d8) out of 5 stars Suitable encouragement for those who might feel a little worn down by effort April 28 2015
By Nerine Dorman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Love it or hate it, social media is a large part of our daily digital communication, and it’s social media platforms such as Twitter that are often at the forefront of breaking news. How we share information has changed rapidly over the past few years, so it is with this in mind that I looked forward to delving into Things a Little Bird Told Me.

In this book, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone not only shares how Twitter came about, but he touches on creativity and, most importantly, how he finds ways to turn his limitations into advantages.

This slim volume is simply jam packed with inspiration and, though much of what Stone shares can be deemed common sense, it certainly helps having these thoughts offered within a context.

Far from presenting the public with a cold, corporate face, Stone recognises the power of connecting with other people through his social media platform – in essence what lies at the heart of social media.

Not only does Stone propose looking beyond the obvious for solutions, but he is an advocate for empathy, and the power that small acts of kindness can have for creating change in the world around you.

Stone writes: “Technology is the connective tissue of humanity. Designed right it can bring out the good in people. It can connect us into one giant, emergent, superintelligent life form. That is what I saw happening with Twitter.”

What I take away from Stone’s book is to be a little less passive from here on in, to find ways to create my own opportunities, and to embrace whatever constraint I experience, because great ideas are born out of limitations.

This little book serves as suitable encouragement for anyone who might feel a little worn down by effort, and it also serves as a reminder to encourage and cherish the value in feeling empathy for your fellow humans. Together we can do so much more if we just reach out.