How I lost 170 Million Dollars: My Time as #30 at Facebook


Author(s): Noah Kagan

Published: 2014

Report Published: On Launch

QUAKE Magnitude: 5.8

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Field Survey

How I lost 170 Million Dollars is exactly what QUAKE Books is all about – books which impact lives even when they are not written in flowing prose or captivating language, and are far from what I consider enjoyable.

Truth to be told whilst it may prove exceedingly useful, I don’t like Noah’s book. The first part of the title bears little resemblance to its content and is a marketing ploy, but ok authors have to reel you in somehow and so no hard feelings. I read the book because of who Noah is and what he has gone to achieve, so I wasn’t swung either way. Title gripes aside, my main issue with the book is its lack of readability, due to its copious amount of mistakes, missing words and stumbling sentence structure, which can get tedious after playing “guess the missing word” every other page (no joke).

That said, Noah needs to do an expanded revision of this work because what he has to say is intriguing, and let’s be honest only 29 other people in the world could tell you with any level of detail what Facebook was like in the early days. What he has gone onto achieve with AppSumo is also something that would be worth talking about in a second edition.

Why do I say talking? Well, the book is written as Noah would speak and that is, as I have mentioned, part of the problem. It lacks the conversational “eloquence” of #AskGaryVee and with a little more attention to detail in that respect, How I lost 170 Million Dollars would obtain more reader recommendations!

So why read it? Ok it isn’t pretty but if you do read Kagan’s book carefully and go beyond the words and into the message, you will get an insight into Mark Zuckerberg’s obsessional drive for perfection and why quality will always take care of quantity.

It also shows you how overcoming anger and bitterness and using both to navigate your own path will ultimately bring you retribution, in a way that doesn’t drag you down but build you up. Noah really personifies this throughout the book and you can see how his attitude of building the highest tower, rather than knocking the others down, is why he has gone on to succeed. It is an attitude we can all learn from, so if you, or anyone you know, feels that they have fallen on hard times professionally, go out and grab this book for a quick read!


“At big companies you get complacent, meet others who are like that, and end up learning the skills you need to work at big companies.”

“As I’ve matured, I’ve realized you have to decide your own self-worth versus letting others determine it.”

“Build great things and other people will be curious about the person [who] made those products.”

QUAKE Moment

I really thought that this book wasn’t even going to register on the QUAKE Richter scale, which was a worrying at first because I am extremely careful when it comes to letting books in between my hands – for opportunity cost reasons alone!

But then just as the book was wrapping up and I was pondering, what on Earth I could write for this section, a ground shattering bookquake comes out of nowhere! That really was a first! It was a EUREKA quake moment! Months of searching for a solution to the problem of how to pay QUAKE Books HQ “rent” were potentially over! I had perhaps stumbled across a way to ensure that I no longer had to use the little spare cash left over on a PhD student salary to make this community successful. Nothing is certain, but sometimes all you need is that inkling, that first step of the arduous journey. And that is why I say How I lost 170 Million Dollars is what QUAKE Books is all about. Finding that one solution where you never would have looked!


At this stage, I am going to have to say “watch this space” and just hope my instincts are right enough to come back to this review and add to this section when something interesting happens…

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