The Accidental Billionaires: Hey Ben, Nice Jacket-Hoodie Combo

Everything you really need to know about The Accidental Billionaires is encapsulated in the author's photo to the left. Meet Ben Mezrich. I'm not sure what it is - the coif, the folded hands, the Harvard degree, the hoodie under the leather jacket - but it's hilariously slick.

Call me judgmental but hey, you probably haven't read this gem of a book yet. Here's the deal: it's the story of the founding of Facebook but it reads like a creepy techno thriller.

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg met at Harvard - Eduardo had a passion for business and Mark had a passion for writing code (and hacking, in his spare time). Both were outsiders and totally hopeless with the ladies. While Eduardo fixed this by getting into the Pheonix frat, Mark created Facemash (a precursor of Facebook) by hacking into the university's servers, stealing photos and making a database of the campus' females.

When two privileged twin rowers tried to recruit Mark into their lame campus social network, it sparked in Mark the idea to create FB. With start up money from Eduardo, Mark then launched Facebook. Of course it catches on like wildfire, first at Harvard, then at other US university campuses and hey, the rest is history.

The writing is totally hilarious. When Mark sneaks into a frat to hack into their server the whole thing is like, and then Mark crept into the dark room and flipped open his machine and began working silently yet intently, hacking into the frat's system as two kids made out in the other room... There's also lots of douchery including countless Silicon Valley parties, frat elitism, mentions of girls in short skirts and agony over deals gone bad and millions lost and gained.

You know what, it's a quick read. It's fun and geeky. Mark Zuckerberg is probably a sociopath but hell, he's a hero to nerds everywhere. He left Harvard to pursue his dream and he didn't capitulate when preening rich bitches tried to bring him down. Mark didn't contribute to the book, though, so in the end you have to take the thing as it is, a fairly entertaining read. It's a fun ride but doesn't one of the world's most widely used social networks deserve a more definitive treatment? I'm waiting for that version.

The Accidental Billionaires/ Ben Mezrich / Doubleday / HC, 2009

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aw, i'm not that slick :)
But I do agree, it's hard to pull of the jacket hoodie thing.
Thanks for the post!
best, ben


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