With 312 ratings
By: Ben Mezrich, Mike Chamberlain, et al.
Purchased At: $15.95
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Definitely worth reading if you are in the army stages of setting up a business or an especially fast moving tech one...
Always a great read!!
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! :)