The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 312 ratings

By: Ben Mezrich, Mike Chamberlain, et al.

Purchased At: $15.95

The high-energy tale of how two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers, trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex, ended up creating Facebook.

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends, outsiders at a school filled with polished prep-school grads and long-time legacies. They shared both academic brilliance in math and a geeky awkwardness with women.

Eduardo figured their ticket to social acceptance, and sexual success, was getting invited to join one of the university's Final Clubs, a constellation of elite societies that had groomed generations of the most powerful men in the world and ranked on top of the inflexible hierarchy at Harvard.

Mark, with less of an interest in what the campus alpha males thought of him, happened to be a computer genius of the first order. And he used his genius to find a more direct route to social stardom: one lonely night, Mark hacked into the university's computer system, creating a ratable database of all the female students on campus and subsequently crashing the university's servers and nearly getting himself kicked out of school. In that moment, in his Harvard dorm room, the framework for Facebook was born.

What followed - a real-life adventure filled with slick venture capitalists, stunning women, and six-foot-five-inch identical-twin Olympic rowers - makes for one of the most entertaining and compelling books of the year. The Accidental Billionaires is a compulsively readable story of innocence lost, and of the unusual creation of a company that has revolutionized the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another.

A good book in that I kept reading, but there were some issues with unevenness in the writing style, repetition of events/comments, and an over reliance on some variation of "We can image/picture/surmise," which did nothing but throw me out of the narrative. Really 3½ stars, but I can't say I REALLY liked it. (I noticed, there's a mismatch between Goodreads ratings and Amazon, which is odd.) The movie was better, but that's not a bad thing as I would hope that each iteration of anything would only lead to improvement. If you watched the movie, you won't really gain any new insight here.

- ariel_adams

It's hard to think of the world before facebook. But it wasn't so long ago...I remember back when I was heavily on live journal and myspace, how you had to have a college email address to join facebook. And then, when it expanded for EVERYONE, my first impression wasn't too high. It wasn't like myspace, where you could play with your own profile with html codes. It wasn't like live journal, where it was your own publication at your luxury. But eventually, facebook took over the net (and ultimately, the world). And for its own simplicity, it really sucks your entire life...my own daily routine, day by day, revolves around facebook.

Facebook is really one of the best ideas a person(s) could come up with. It brings people whom have never seen each other in years, together. It keeps you connected to family/friends you don't normally see often. And for a writer like me, it's a great tool to showcase my writings.

But with all great ideas, it has its share of cons. Facebook is intrusive. It tears family/friends/and relationships apart. It's a distraction for many people. And everything that a person does on facebook could affect their school/work.

The story behind facebook is as compelling as the idea itself. And like great ideas, many people are attached to the facebook story, connected to a large network that created this success story. There are already tons and tons of books about the subject matter. And, I am sure, there will be tons and tons of more books to come...

The Accidental Billionaires is the most commercially well-known book out there, which tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg and facebook. This book, written by Ben Mezrich, is not a great book. Bits and pieces read really good, and I especially enjoyed those moments when Mezrich describes a setting. I love reading books that are detailed in surroundings. That's how I write.

But what I did not enjoy reading was over-explaining of situations. Let me put it this way. This book is written in two styles. In narrative form, and in essay form (in other words, reads like a wikipedia article). How this mixed-bag book inspired one of the best movies of 2010 is beyond me! Surly, the way this book was written, and not picturing The Social Network, I could see The CW make a mediocre made-for-TV movie off this book! Luckily, that didn't happen!

Some people consider this book tabloid trash. I wouldn't go that far. This is no biography, or autobiography, and there is no question that some things were stretched a little bit. But I do admire Mezrich's courage to write this. He took a story that wasn't easy to write to begin with, and did his own thing. The stronger points of the book are the narrative side. I look at it as, `loosely based,' `inspired by,' rather than `TRUE STORY!'

The Social Network does tell the story better. Very rarely do you hear, THE MOVIE IS BETTER! And indeed, the movie is better. But you can't deny this book's impact, much like facebook.

Which means, I do recommend this book. It isn't a great read. But it was quite enjoyable (and like the movie, quite enticing).

- jude_cruz

I really enjoyed this book on one of the most revolutionary businesses of our time: Facebook. What got me intrigued was watching the movie, "The Social Network". I actually saw the movie first before reading the book.

In comparison, I must admit that many of the "dramatic" scenes and heated confrontations in the movie were left out of the book, which leads me to wonder about the accuracy of the movie.
Nevertheless, I found this book to be a great and enjoyable read. I also find it very diplomatic and fair to all sides. When analyzing the book, one can make strong cases for all sides of the dispute including Mark Zuckerberg.

My only issue is that I wish the author could have focused more on the business and growth aspects instead on the gossip and tabloid stuff. It would have been great to get a better look at Facebook the company over the first couple years, instead of Facebook, the dorm room prank-turn-business.

Overall, this book is an enjoyable and easy read and I highly recommend it.

- jacoby_wood

I bought this after watching The Social Network since this is the book that inspires the movie. You should note if you've seen the movie you wont find very much new here. The movie follows the book almost word for word most of the time, though the movie spices things up a bit and there are some creative differences, but again don't expect much new.

That said I think you can still enjoy the book, especially if you're a huge fan of the movie. It may be written in an awkward manner (and it annoyed me too at first) but once you get past that the story is interesting and enjoyable. A great companion to the film for fans and an interesting read for those with a casual interest.

I'd recommend The Facebook Effect for those who've seen the movie and don't want to pretty much read the film on paper.

- laila_bailey

Picking up "The Accidental Billionaires" after seeing "The Social Network," I was shocked how closely Aaron Sorkin followed Mezrich's fictionalized account of the founding of Facebook. Every scene is there. In the book, Zuckerberg is slightly more human, slightly less self-absorbed, but not by much. Eduardo Saverin serves as the main source of credited information, along with undoubtedly interviews with the Winklevoss twins that are not on the record. The social dynamic revealed in the book is that life is now to be lived online, something that might not be as positive a development as thought by many. Friendships actually suffer. Character is not built up. Everything is made too easy. In that sense, "The Social Network" trumps the book in that you leave the theater sure that isn't good in the long run.

- tinsley_torres

Ben Mezrich’s Accidental Billionaires, the basis for the film, The Social Network, tells the story of the creation of Facebook, the characters involved, their motives and actions and the outcomes. The book takes us from Harvard and the creation of Facebook as a student project, to Silicon Valley and the multi-billion dollar company that Facebook is today. Accidental Billionaires is in large part a record of personalities and their interaction: Mark Zuckerberg, founder, primary owner and CEO of Facebook, who remains something of a mystery; Eduardo Saverin, his initial partner and co-founder, who takes legal action against Zuckerberg for later exclusion from the company; the Winklevoss twins, who sue Zuckerberg for alleged theft of their idea; and Sean Parker, Silicon Valley celebrity who connects Zuckerberg with venture capital and is himself later excluded from involvement with Facebook. The cast is virtually all male, with women present on the margins merely as sex objects.

In its narrative technique, Accidental Billionaires constantly switches viewpoint from one character to another, so that no one has the whole picture, the perfect, all-knowing overview. There is no omniscient narrator who decides among the competing viewpoints, an omission that allows the author to attribute criticism or condemnation of others to characters within the drama, but makes it difficult for the reader to reach a definitive conclusion about the events. Did Mark Zuckerberg steal someone else’s idea and get mega-rich on it, or was he a computer genius who developed an idea way beyond its origin and made that idea his own? The issue remains undecideable.

One aspect of the book’s appeal is that it gives the reader vicarious entry into a world of privilege, a series of exclusive subcultures: Harvard and its elite societies, the influential billionaires of Silicon Valley and the insiders to Facebook itself. Accidental Billionaires is partly a story of “lifestyles of the rich and famous” at a barely post-adolescent stage of their careers. This aspect, the exclusivity, is in tension with the “here comes everybody” ethos of the internet. Ostensibly, Facebook was always going to oppose and exceed that exclusivity, either sexually, where geeks could hope to hook up with hot girls, or on a much wider scale, where anyone with access to the internet could connect with and “friend” anyone else. Of course, Facebook has produced its own hierarchy and elite, where a few people are plethorically wealthy and control huge amounts of information about the rest of us.

Generically, there are large issues involved in Facebook and the internet as a whole: the relationship of private to public, individuals to institutions, elites to masses, security to risk, order to disorder, information and its ownership and so on. This is why reading about Facebook is interesting and useful, not so much for the details of its creation, or who stole what from whom or didn’t, but as a prompt to consideration of major issues that affect all of us: our relation as individuals to society, government, politics and power, to freedoms and restrictions, issues that go way beyond Facebook. The thoughtful reader will look past Mezrich’s enjoyable account of Facebook’s creation to consider these wider questions.

- lina_mitchell

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. After watching the film I did read up on the founding of Facebook and did find a lot of the film was speculation as opposed to actual facts. The book however didn't make me notice the mistakes as much and I actually found the film ruined this book a bit for me. The story itself is fantastically written and would be an interesting fictional novel. Although this is probably classed in the fiction category because of the speculation not knowing anything about Facebook would have made it a 5 star read. The story had twists and turns which were entirely believable and a total page turner. I would recommend this book to anyone purely because of the amazing story telling.

- kolten_howard

I was really interested to read this to get a different take on the 'social network' and it didn't disappoint. Interesting reading the journey from a different perspective but also intriguing to read a little bit more in depth of what went on between the founders, and various parties introduced as the story unfolds...
Definitely worth reading if you are in the army stages of setting up a business or an especially fast moving tech one...

- beckham_wood

Brilliant book

- koa_hill

This is one of the most amazing books I ever read. So inspiring. The perfect environment for a XXI century revolution. As an IT professional, I am always wondering what is coming next, MSN, Google, Napster, Skype, Facebook it is all part of the History and we all are being part of it, amazingly. Congratulations to the Author, who wrote it very well and could pass to us what it was like. Congratulations to the characters, Eduardo, Sean and Mark, you are all History.

- calvin_hall

Loved this book, along with others by Ben Mezrich.

Always a great read!!

- kaydence_castillo

Great read about the story leading to FB's creation

- steven_brooks

mildly interesting. i much preferred the sorkin movie (and the writing in that was way better).

- konnor_patel

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. Would recommend to anyone interested in reading a good book.

- hayden_walker

Their is a mistake on page 80 where a minor character changes, but apart from that’s its great 😂

- adelina_jones

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!

- priscilla_clark

Great book. So much better than the highly acclaimed movie The Social Network.

- jaxton_cooper

Read it but not worth reading again.

- ian_ramos

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! :)

- lucia_james

running through my head with each sentence was the film but really enjoyed it and watching it all unfold. Told like a fictional novel making it easy to follow and enjoy...

- reign_brown

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