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The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook [Paperback]

Ben Mezrich
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 2010

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg - an awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius - were never going to fit in at elite, polished Harvard. Yet that all changed when master-hacker Mark crashed the university's entire computer system by creating a rateable database of female students. Narrowly escaping expulsion, the two misfits refocused the site into something less controversial - 'The Facebook' - and watched as it spread like a wildfire across campuses around the country, along with their popularity.

Yet amidst the dizzying levels of cash and glamour, as silicon valley, venture capitalists and reams of girls beckoned, the first cracks in their friendship started to appear, and what began as a simple argument spiralled into an out-and-out war. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together - but its very success tore two best friends apart.

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The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook + Bringing Down the House: How Six Students Took Vegas for Millions + Breaking Vegas
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099534665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099534662
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 708,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Mezrich is the internationally best-selling author of The Ugly Americans, Busting Vegas, Rigged and Bringing Down the House:The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions; which was made into a film (21) starring Kevin Spacey. Ben Mezrich lives in Boston.

Product Description


"Pure summer fun . . . Juicy, fast-paced, unputdownable . . . Ben has a gift for finding high-energy, strange-but-true tales and The Accidental Billionaires is no exception . . . [It is] a captivating story of betrayal, vast amounts of cash, and two friends who revolutionized the way humans connect to one another." (Kevin Spacey)

"Has the perfect dramatic narrative for a Hollywood thriller" (Time Out)

"You'll be utterly enthralled" (News of the World)

"Even if you've never logged on to Facebook, the premise behind this true story is irresistible . . . A 21st century fable, it unfolds with all the narrative verve of a novel" (Daily Mail)

"Mezrich... paints the drama in lurid colour...[a] thrill-packed story" (Amber Cowan London Lite)

Book Description

The fast-paced story of two Ivy-League outcasts who concocted a scheme to meet girls, and ended up inventing Facebook

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Silicon Valley Magic - minus Merlin 4 Jan 2011
By G. M. Sinstadt VINE VOICE
Ben Mezrich prefaces his story of the rise and rise and rise of Facebook with a cautionary note the reader will do well to heed. "I recreated the scenes in the book based on the information I discovered ... and my best judgement ..."

Recreation is a subjective business. There are frequent warning signs: "We can envisage ...", "It is easy to picture ...", and so on. The author's sources for chronicling the Facebook phenomenon from Harvard dorm to international phenomenon are not detailed, though the particular acknowledgment for Eduardo Saverin, one half of the founding partnership, should be weighed against the admission that Mark Zuckerberg, the genius other half, consistently refused to co-operate. One can only trust that Mezrich's understanding of the twin worlds of programming and the Silicon Valley jungle is more reliable than his acquaintance with rowing - the Harvard eight at Henley in 2004 would not have been sculling.

With those reservations, The Accidental Billionaires can be recommended as a racy read. There are no heroes, merely a cast of greedy characters assiduously and deviously cutting each other's throats.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ban Mezrich has written an enjoyable and easy to read account of how Facebook was started by an IT geek Mark Zuckerburg who was a student at Harvard.

The book chronicles the early growth and how the web site grows from being just for Harvard students through its expansion to having several million users.

Most of the book concentrates on the battles that Mark has with one of his co founders Eduardo Saverin, and a pair of other students who asked Mark to work on their web site who end up as Olympic rowers.

The main problem with the book is that Mark Zuckerburg declined to speak to the author about the book. So most of the material is going to have come from the people who are suing or who have sued Mark for what happened after the web site become ultra successful. There are large gaps after Mark leaves Harvard to live in California leaving his fellow co founder in Boston and then New York. The detailed narrative stops in 2005. The author acknowledges that he could not have written the book without Eduardo's help and when the main contributing source is a bitter as Eduardo is after his shareholding is diluted and he is shut out of the business, you have to be slightly sceptical.

The book ignores most of the reasons why Facebook became so successful and all of its recent history. There are a brief couple of pages on the outcome of some of the disputes but to me that's not really enough to give them justice.

The book is written in the same racy style as all of Ben Mezrich's former books, most of which are about gambling or finance. The author has admitted in the introduction that he has adapted some of the situations to make them more readable.

If you are looking for a serious financial history of Facebook, this probably won't be for you. If you are looking something less serious, more exciting and easy to read, this is probably for you
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mezrich but not as we know him 12 July 2010
Interesting read, if only because we all know facebook.
Not as good as his other books which I highly recommend. To me the prose of this book was just not Mezrich, but perhaps that is because his reference methods had to be different for this?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring story 25 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was an inspiring book!
I found it a bit uninteresting at the beginning, at least for people that doesn't know what's coming next, but it surprised me after a few pages!
Brilliant and I do understand why they're making a film of it! :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull writer makes dull subject dull. 22 Feb 2011
By Gaviano
Format:Kindle Edition
Proof, if ever you needed it, that Aaron Sorkin is a genius. How he turned this dog of a book into something as entertaining and pitch-perfect as The Social Network is a mystery on par with the building of Stonehenge, the Marie Celeste or Justin Beiber. Combined.

Aside from the questionable approach where we get the inner thoughts of all the protagonists, the prose is so elementary and unengaging that it left me wondering if no one really read over properly before it went to print, least of all the author. Repetition of ideas and recaps rob the narrative thread of any pace it may have been building. For example, if we're told once that the Winklevoss twins were six five, we're told a thousand times. Anyone forgotten that Zuckerberg wears flip-flops or has a mop of curly hair in the last five pages? Don't worry, we'll go over that again soon.

It gets two stars rather than one because it at least doesn't try too hard to portray goodies and baddies but I honestly hope that a better account of the creation of Facebook comes along soon to dislodge this from its undeserving perch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written and Informative but lacking 16 Jan 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As someone who hasn't seen the film The Social Network [2010] I was interested to get a background to Facebook and the story of where it came from. Ben Mezrich has managed to turn what could have been a very ordinary tale into one of deception and betrayal. Having read this on Kindle, I was generally impressed however the book could do with some updating and significantly more detail on recently developments. Interesting but lacking updating and certainly no literary masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars easy to read summary of how facebook came about 19 Oct 2010
Ben Mezrich's trade is writing about inaccessible subjects with such as easy reading style that his books become page turners. This one covers the founding of facebook, right from its conception in a Harvard dorm and the debate surrounding whether or not Mark Zuckerburg stole the idea from some classmates.

The book is not as good as some of Mezrich's others mainly because Mark Zuckerburg refused to contribute to the book. In 'Rigged', for example, or 'Bringing Down The House' you get far more of a sense of forbidden information because Mezrich is collaborating with a real insider. I'd recommend those books as better entertainment and they also have a better quality of information behind them, but if you're specifically interested in facebook then this book will still serve you well and give a good background overview - but take it with a little pinch of salt, you never really know what's true here and what's just good storytelling.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy
Fantastic read giving you information and incidents you couldn't have imagined. Good insight to justifying the need to be driven in order to achieve success!
Published 6 months ago by Jcwannabe
3.0 out of 5 stars The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of...
I like reading this book as it is well written and I thought Tom Mezrich did spend time in researching the facts and stories of the founder and his acquaintances at Harvard. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Leo
4.0 out of 5 stars facebook
Good book...takes you all throughhow facebook came to be. There were pages however where the author has written so graphically that if you are not that way inclined can get you... Read more
Published 23 months ago by angel gabriel
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and revolutionary story.
This is one of the most amazing books I ever read. So inspiring. The perfect environment for a XXI century revolution. Read more
Published on 22 July 2012 by lgustec
5.0 out of 5 stars Think of the Code
As you open your Facebook page and check your news feed and see the changes your friends have made to their photos and status. Read more
Published on 15 April 2012 by Sam Arnold
2.0 out of 5 stars See the film instead
I saw the film and bought the book as I hoped it would give more details on some of the subjects. But this was not the case at all. Read more
Published on 6 Jan 2012 by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars In the wrong order...
I made the horrific mistake of watching the movie 'the social network' before reading the book. I found myself thinking of the film characters instead of the real people. Read more
Published on 8 July 2011 by Steph
5.0 out of 5 stars The Social Network
I just read it & thought it was really good. Infact I was quite sad that I wouldn't have it the next day on the tube when I had finished it. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2011 by Luke
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the film, seen this. Loved It!
This is one hell of a book by one hell of an author. the book was so good that i am now trying to read the authors entire back catalog of works. Read more
Published on 18 April 2011 by ekb
3.0 out of 5 stars hmmmm ok
Liked it but thought for once that the film was better. Dealt with the greed and bad side of human nature in its portrayal of the facebook phenomenon. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2011 by Creative Minds!
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