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The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook Paperback – 30 Sep 2010
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"PURE SUMMER FUN... JUICY, FAST-PACED, UNPUTDOWNABLE... Ben has a gift for finding high-energy, strange-but-true tales and [SOCIAL NETWORK] is no exception... a captivating story of betrayal, vast amounts of cash, and two friends who revolutionized the way humans connect to one another." (KEVIN SPACEY)
"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)
"As addictive as Facebook... has the perfect dramatic narrative for a Hollywood thriller." (Time Out ****)
"Bringing Down the House showed geeks outsmarting the casinos. Mezrich's latest focuses on two Harvard students who tried to build an online database of girls...and created Facebook" (GQ)
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE OSCAR-WINNING MOVIE, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, this is the fast-paced story of two Ivy-League outcasts who concocted a scheme to meet girls, and ended up inventing FacebookSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
The book is structured as a dramatisation of events, apparently written from information given by sources close to Mark Zuckerberg, the creator, and also information from Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder who has since fallen out with Zuckerberg and sued him. It is impossible to tell how much of the story is true and how much is elaborated or imagined, so I read it as if it was a story rather than a completely factual piece and even judged by those standards it can only be described as mildly interesting.
For a book that deals with such a hugely successful website it talks very little about facebook itself and how the development of ideas came about which makes me wonder how close these sources actually were. There were too many gaping holes in the story for this to be considered a real exploration of the founding of facebook but it might pass a couple of hours.
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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Always a great read!!
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