More Awesome Than Money

More Awesome Than Money

Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9780670025602
  • 384 Pages
  • Viking
  • Adult


David versus Goliath in Silicon Valley—an epic attempt to take back the Internet

Their idea was simple. Four NYU undergrads wanted to build a social network that would allow users to control their personal data, instead of surrendering it to big businesses like Facebook. They called it Diaspora. In days, they raised $200,000, and reporters, venture capitalists, and the digital community’s most legendary figures
were soon monitoring their progress. Max dreamed of being a CEO. Ilya was the idealist. Dan coded like a pro, and Rafi tried to keep them all on track. But as the months passed and the money ran out, the Diaspora Four fell victim to errors, bad decisions, and their own hubris. In November 2011, Ilya committed suicide.

Diaspora has been tech news since day one, but the story reaches far beyond Silicon Valley to the now urgent issues about the future of the Internet. With the cooperation of the surviving partners, New York Times bestselling author Jim Dwyer tells a riveting story of four ambitious and naÏve young men who tried to rebottle the genie of personal privacy—and paid the ultimate price.


Praise for More Awesome Than Money

“The  courageous and ingenious actions of these four NYU students and the Diaspora hackers who come in their wake will make you want to stand up and cheer. In an age of self-absorbed tweeting and friending, these young people are our Rocky Balboas and Martin Luther Kings. This book is proof that we are no longer customers of social networks, but rather the merchandise. The advertisers are the true customers, and our private thoughts, desires, and needs are exploited, sold, and bartered among them like trading cards—long after we’ve hit the delete button. The tragic death of the talented programmer Ilya Zhitomirskiy stands as testimony to our own inertia about the commercial forces that seek to control us. I’m glad I met this young man on these pages, and I’m glad that the deeply talented Jim Dwyer—who also wrote the best book on 9-11 you’ll ever read—brought him and his friends to us with such stirring clarity. It’s a superb work, and a great read.”
—James McBride, author of The Good Lord Bird and The Color of Water, winner of the National Book Award

“Jim Dwyer’s More Awesome Than Money is the story of four young men who dared to go up against the (new) machine—in this case, Facebook. By turns funny, poignant, scary, heartbreaking, and hopeful, More Awesome Than Money includes everything you need to know about how your personal information is being manipulated on the Internet, and what to do about it.”
—Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

“Books have been written about those who struck it rich in Silicon Valley. The four young idealists in this engrossing book did not. Their dreams of creating a more noble social network failed. Their  names will not shadow Mark Zuckerberg. They may not be deemed ‘cool.’ In the deft hands of author Jim Dwyer, they are ‘cool,’ and complicated. We follow them down the rabbit hole as they, like other forgotten names, travel from euphoria, to doubt, to dissension, to dissolution. Readers of this suspenseful narrative will not soon forget the mountaintop-to-valley drama they endured, the classic business and human mistakes they made, nor the nobility of what they hoped to do.”
—Ken Auletta, author of Googled and Greed and Glory on Wall Street

“Failure is all to common for startups, but this is the best-told story of failure I’ve read. I was rooting for the improbable the whole way. It perfectly captures the texture of Silicon Valley’s humanity and dreams better than any success story could.”
—Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired, and author of What Technology Wants

“This latest book in the genre is smarter and more brutally honest than most. . . . Dwyer uses his considerable journalistic talents to make the dynamics between the founders compelling.”—New York Times Book Review
“[Dwyer’s] fly-on-the-wall style of reporting brings vivid detail to his narrative. You can feel the excitement and anxiety among the Diaspora four. . . .” —Wall Street Journal
“[A] lively account…[that] finds heroism and success, betrayal and even, ultimately, tragedy in the hurtling pursuit of a cause.”—Washington Post
“Dwyer’s account . . . is a thrilling read, astoundingly detailed and researched, alternately suspenseful and heartbreaking.”—Daily Beast
“[A] lively account of Diaspora’s creation as an alternative to the Silicon Valley megaliths. Like any account of the memorable early days of a revolution, Dwyer’s reporting finds heroism and success, betrayal and even, ultimately, tragedy in the hurtling pursuit of a cause.”—Denver Post
“A thoroughly compelling account recommended for those interested in general technology books and business narratives. This book is a welcome addition to the literature on start-ups, particularly for its focus on notions of privacy in the digital era and how entrepreneurs are working to address these critical needs.”—Library Journal
“This is a greatly informative book.”—Booklist


Praise for 102 MINUTES

“A masterpiece.”—Kevin Baker, The New York Times

“A heartstopping, meticulous account.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Impressive.”—People magazine

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