Biz Stone is cocky. Charming. A self-described genius. In Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind, he offers readers a glimpse of how he got that way. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, consider that the “little bird” he’s referencing is the Twitter logo—he’s the co-founder of the site, and the reason we now think in 140-character phrases.
The stories here are funny and insightful. In school, Biz couldn’t hold down a job and keep up with homework, so he established a “no homework” policy—and convinced his teachers to go along with it! When Twitter’s success earned him an appearance on “The Colbert Report,” a gift card in the show’s swag bag led to amazing things. Each of these yarns has a point for would-be entrepreneurs, encouraging creativity, collaboration and making your own opportunities rather than waiting for them to appear.
Stone is generous in his assessments of others and almost never snarky, so his story of meeting with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg stands out. Neither Stone nor Twitter co-founder Evan Williams wanted to be acquired by Facebook, so they tossed out an obscenely high value for their company, then bailed when they found themselves stranded in an unmoving cafeteria line. (They were later offered the amount they’d requested, but still turned it down.) Stone is social to his core, so Zuckerberg’s notoriously flat affect—he’s described here as pointing to some people and saying, “These are some people working”—was clearly not a love connection in the making.
If you have big ideas, or a sense that you could have big ideas if only (fill in the blank), Things a Little Bird Told Me can help you fill in that blank and bring your personal genius to the masses. It’s a wise and generous book, and also a lot of fun.
Heather Seggel reads too much and writes all about it in Northern California.