Greg's Reviews > Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich
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's review
Apr 13, 11

liked it
bookshelves: books-about-stuff, viva-las-vegas
Read from April 11 to 12, 2011

Apparently this book is bullshit. Oh well. I was the sucker who shut off my critical tools when reading it and swallowed this hook-line-and-sinker. I should have known something was wrong when the geography of the Strip was fucked up in his mini-history of the rise of the mega-casinos. He placed Excalibur halfway down the Strip from Luxor (or was it MGM Grand), which is all wrong, they are right across the street from one another (which works out for either Luxor or MGM in relation to Excalibur), half way down the Strip from Luxor would be like the Bellagio or one of those casinos. I just thought he was taking some liberties, which he was, I mean it's not like it's difficult to tell the casinos apart just by looking at them.

So, when I was looking to see what other goodreaders thought of the book I found out that big parts of the book were fabricated. And like a good skeptic I googled and found out that apparently yes, Ben Mezrich liked to embellish. The only problem is that his embellishments are usually the exciting and more dramatic moments in the book. Opps.

Some goodreaders pointed out the awful dialogue. I guess that was there too, but honestly it gave the whole thing a very Vegas feel to me, there is something tin-eared, gaudy, and unreal about all of Vegas and I just kind of fit in the bad chatter to being expected from a story that mainly takes place where LA douche-bags mingle around with Cowboys and men wearing very unacceptable amounts of jewelry.

Oh, and to return to the first paragraph, I should have also been a little more skeptical when the author would forget to mention which casino they were in when say security guards kicked in the door and told them to leave. Why would you not give some info like that, especially when most of the book reads like a travel guide dropping names of places.

Oh well. It was a distracting and entertaining read and much much better than the pretty unremarkable movie the book inspired. I think I ended up enjoying this book more than I should have because it got me thinking about Vegas and thinking that I would like to go back there again soon, even if it is for my non-debauch enjoyment of slot machines with animal themes and delicious buffets.
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by karen (new)

karen yes, go win me more money, please.

Greg My favorite slot machine, the one I usually won you money on wasn't there last time. You should come with me next time, it can be a super food and fun adventure you can document!

message 3: by karen (new)

karen who will run the store?

message 4: by Courtney (new)

Courtney me :D

message 5: by karen (new)

karen hahahaahaa true enough.

message 6: by karen (new)

karen this is greg's dream come true.

message 7: by karen (new)

karen i will be too full of food to read...

message 8: by karen (new)

karen sometimes too much food makes me need a nap and i can't read while i nap. design flaw.

message 9: by karen (new)

karen they are my two great loves

message 10: by karen (new)

karen brian is a high roller

message 11: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg I've seen a B&N there, and there is a very nice and very friendly rare bookstore in one of the high-end casinos (Bellagio or Wynn).

Brian, if you are in Vegas now make sure to play what I like to call the Ice Bucket game, it's where you look in the ice bucket in your room and maybe find some money. I found a few hundred on one trip there!

message 12: by karen (new)

karen i wish my sofa cushion game was that profitable. or that i had a sofa

message 13: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg Right, it's in the Venetian.

message 14: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg Last time I was in Vegas I read FLowers in the Attic, I think I even wrote the review for it while I was there.

message 15: by karen (new)

karen shameless plug

message 16: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg I was thinking on my way home from work that a goodreads meet up could happen in Vegas and as an activity we could all read a trashy book of some kind while parked in a sports book with a couple of small bets each for some game that we probably would know nothing about, and I'm fairly certain as long as you have bets on games being played they will let you just sit there, read and they will bring you free booze.

notgettingenough So the movie's crap too? Serves me right for watching a bio pic infortainment film, against my better judgement.

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