The Accidental Billionaires

Thoughts The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich, Doubleday 2009, 260 pages, NONFICTION

CHALLENGE:   Page to Screen (1/5), TwentyinEleven/tbr

MOTIVATION for WHY THIS/NOW:     I don’t quite recall when I bought this but I do remember realizing the author was the guy who wrote Bringing Down the House which was made into the movie 21 starring Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess.  I had been wanting to read that book but found this one – but I can’t recall if it was at Borders or where.  Oh well.    But, wait!  There’s some more just as non-interesting things I want to share.  I brought this book with me when I attended the Boston Book Fest where Holly and I listened to Mr. Mezrich talk about social networking and technology.   (he’s on the right.) I did NOT go up to him and have him sign it, though. Just a tiny regret in my life which is ok with me.   If these are the kind of regrets I get to live with, life is darn good.    Once the Oscar buzz started to build for The Social Network and Sorkin began to win all the screen-writing awards, I decided it was time I pulled this book off the shelf and finally read it. The movie will be available on Netflix Tuesday, 2/8!

FIRST SENTENCE:    “It was probably the third cocktail that did the trick.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   I think the subtitle tells everything.     The key is that Mezrich never did interview Mark Zuckerberg so we never get his side of anything, all speculation on what he may have done when alone, what he thought, why, etc.   But I enjoyed the narrative we do get from the Winklevoss twins – who tried to hire Mark for their own website, Eduardo Severin – who fronted the initial cash investment, and Sean Parker – who introduces Mark to the investment and technology worlds in California.     ALL VERY FASCINATING.

WHAT’s GOOD/NOT so:   This book has been criticized for weak writing but I found it just fine, with only some wordy overdescripting here and there.    Nothing too distracting which is what I was fearing.    It’s a fast-paced look at basically that first year and then some months that Facebook was born from an idea into the growing phenomena it is now.    I am eager to see the flick and am glad that I have a bit more background as to who the players are.

RATING:   Four pie slices.   

“And beyond that, he realized, he had been very wrong about something. A computer program could actually get you laid.”



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22 thoughts on “The Accidental Billionaires

    1. Karen, I am really glad I read the book before I saw it (which I did, on Friday). and since it is nonfiction, I think it is harder to say the ol’ “BOOK IS BETTER” so I won’t. 🙂

    1. Florinda, I think I need to see it again. At the end of this, I really did wonder what all the fuss. I mean it was good, but I didn’t see Oscar BEST pic worthiness.

  1. It’s weird, but reading this review, I felt super annoyed with Mezrich for not bothering about a balanced portrayal of Zuckerberg. Whereas I saw The Social Network twice and thought it was marvelous. That’s not really fair of me. :p

    1. Jenny! Zuckerberg wouldn’t agree to an interview! Do you think he should have not pursued the story? I actually thought he did a good job even as I can’t quite type the word ‘balanced’. perhaps it was not as judgemental as you might expect. MZ didn’t cooperate with the movie, either, I do not think.

  2. I had this one on my wish list and then ditched it because I wanted something else even more. Now you’ve got me thinking I should have left it alone. Oh, well. Maybe later. 🙂 I haven’t seen the movie, either.

  3. i might be one of seven americans left who don’t have a FB but that wouldn’t stop me from reading this. i find it so interesting to learn about how ideas are hatched and how little things turn into juggernauts. i’m looking forward to the movie when it comes to netflix.

    1. Nat, I have a lot, a LOT of friends who are not on Facebook nor care to know about it. I have some that joined and haven’t been on since, don’t even remember their pswds. It is a bit nuts but it is great place to quick send a msg, I am finding out.

  4. I’ve back and forth on this book. I like Mezrich’s writing a lot — Bringing Down the House is a great book! – but I’m not sure about the fact that he never interviewed Zuckerburg. I’m not sure how all the speculating would work for me. But I did really like The Social Network, which is pretty fictionalized too.

    1. Kim, you make it sound like he didn’t care to interview MZ and I don’t think that is the case but I really don’t know. But he doesn’t demonize MZ and even though he doesn’t call attention to the fact he didn’t know MZ’s side of it, he writes it in like that. The more I think about it, the more I am impressed. You should read it – you would likely have different insight into it but as a NF reader, you most defintely should read it. I should send you my copy. 🙂

  5. Ann

    Once again, love your site.!

    I haven’t read the book, but saw the movie and thought it was great. I’m adding the book to my must read list. My opinion about Facebook is something else … but … I must say, isn’t “it” ironic?

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