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

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  13,964 ratings  ·  1,564 reviews
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 awkwar
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published July 14th 2009 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  13,964 ratings  ·  1,564 reviews

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Mar 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Listening to audiobook, I could tell from the outset that it was going to be terrible. Normally, I'd have quit, but I decided to stick with it for the story. Soon I realized that I was listening to it for the entertainment value of its badness. The book, seemingly untouched by an editor's hand, is dense with stereotypes, cliches, hyperbole, adolescent fantasies (which seem to be the author's more than those of the main characters), mixed metaphors, inappropriate comparisons, and comical malaprop ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
When I read a book that has a great deal of biographical detail and where the subject refuses to co-operate and where there are too many phrases like, 'he must have thought', 'he could have surmised', 'maybe he felt', I think that even if the author is as well-respected as Mezrich, this is probably a load of balls.

Modern society, the media, cannot stand those who refuse to have a publicist, give interviews, employ a stylist and have a dozen employees referred to as 'my people'. It can't stand p
Tamoghna Biswas
"Certainly, he had no way of knowing, then or now, that the kid with the curly hair was one day going to take the entire concept of a social network and turn it on its head. That one day, the kid with the curly hair struggling through that prepunch party was going to change Eduardo's life more than any Final Club ever could."

You might have heard of this book at least once, when a quite good movie The Social Network was made from it in 2010. At least I wouldn't have known of this biography of
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Audio Book Review Number 2.

I feel like my audio book choices are sort of bonuses to my reading list. They haven't exactly been books I would probably choose to read, but I have at least a slight curiosity about them. I still don’t love this format and I can’t see myself sitting down and listening to an audio book, or listening to one while commuting (although it could be a way to speed up my reading, I’d have to test to see if listening to a book at one and a half times the normal speed is faste
Oct 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I could find a way to delete my Facebook account and still remain in contact with my family and close friends, I'd do it after reading this book.

I'll start with the story itself. I call it a story because author Ben Mezrich admits that he fictionalized scenes based on eye witness accounts and made up others to fill in gaps. Mezrich was also unable to secure an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the mastermind behind Facebook. How do you write the story of the founding of Facebook without the fo
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Why do people like Ben Mezrich? This story itself, about Facebook, was fascinating and kept me reading. The author, however, made me want to vomit. His writing style is AWFUL. He made it clear he knew nothing about the subject matter, by describing technological aspects of the story in ways that didn't make any sense (no, he doesn't need to be a website creator himself, but he has to develop enough basic vocabulary to write intelligently). Also, he wrote this book without being able to get an in ...more
Archit Ojha
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur can enjoy this work. An enjoyable read and much to learn from.
Vivian Valvano
Oct 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
First, let me note that I liked the film "The Social Network" written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by David Fincher: beautiful craftsmanship, excellent acting, terrific writing, good direction ... BUT I worried when I saw it. I knew that it was not a bio-pic in any way, shape, or form. I knew that it could not be taken as documentary in any way, shape, or form, and that Mark Zuckerberg had nothing to do with it. After viewing it, I felt it should carry a disclaimer clearly stating that it was SUGGE ...more
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Here is one of the rare cases where I say the film ("The Social Contract") is better than the book. Mezrich's version of Facebook's founding is a fast read but one told primarily through the eyes and voice of Eduardo Saverin, the partner who has claimed he was cheated and misled by Facebook originator Mark Zuckerberg. As such, it is just one-half of the usual "he said/she said" story. Since the book was published in early 2010, we don't know yet the final outcome of Saverin's litigation against ...more
Lili Manolache
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich is a great book that I recommend to all young people today and all those who aspire to start their own business and change the world.

The ideology of the new generation includes without any doubt the giant Facebook. It has become part of the social evolution of our century and it has reached even the basic unit of society: family and individual. In my opinion, Facebook is the tool we use nowadays for both personal and business activities. Today’s gener
Scribble Orca
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: If you aren't going to watch the film
This is not a high energy book!

You'll have a much better time watching the movie The Social Network (I did, on the plane, from Munich to Singapore), you might even come away with a sense of who was nasty and who was nice, but reading the book is like eating white toast bread. Tasteless. And disappointing. Being a firm believe of the old cliche that the book is better than the film, I was expecting to come away with some tangible insights. I didn't.

It's nothing to do with Mezrich's skill as a
Carol Storm
May 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
My God this SUCKS!!!!!!!!

It's not shocking that this book is so bad. Mark Zuckerberg has so much money and so much power that no one can force him to spill his guts. Lots of people resent that. But even assuming that the worst is true, about Mark and his empire, was Ben Mezrich the BEST author they could find to trash this guy?

Ben Mezrich doesn't write like someone who loves books, or who enjoys reading. He writes like he is blind drunk in a frat house at 3 AM, and trying to impress the other gu
RJ from the LBC
Hoping to keep a wary eye on the online exploits of my 13 year old daughter, I asked her if she would "friend" me on Instagram. She looked at me skeptically and said, "you should get Facebook - that's for old people." Ouch. This book by Ben Mezrich is theoretically about the founding of Facebook in 2004 on the campus of Harvard University, but mostly it's about how co-founder Mark Zuckerberg screwed over everyone involved in the company, and maybe everyone he ever met (allegedly). Wait, you're s ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
quick, sometimes amusing, read about the creation of Facebook. As possibly the last person in America not on Facebook, I was unfamiliar with the back story. As might have been predicted, the college students who started it weren't prepared to handle the skyrocketing success, and friendships imploded in multiple lawsuits about who created what when and who was cheating whom on the money.

Unfortunately, the author was unable to get the single most central character, Mark Zuckerberg, to be interview
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Facebook revolution

Or was it not just an inevitable evolution of the internet? If it hadn't been Mark Zuckerberg it would have been someone else. I firmly believe that Facebook hasnt enhanced the lives of millions but has actually alienated many people from a natural sense of what it is to be human. Personally I have very negative feelings about Facebook I believe its a dangerous volatile tool that is used to manipulate and control the way people interact with each other and how they live th
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
If you have seen the movie, The Social Network, you already know the plot. Filled with the purported conversations of college students from years ago, one must remain somewhat skeptical. However, I get really nervous when the author describes taking a flight from New York to San Francisco on a 757 “wide-body.” (It’s a narrow-body.)

Mezrich, himself, says several of the characters are composites (more red flags,) and some reviewers have complained the book was too long and boring. I listened to it
Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A big "eh." For the first few chapters, I was really thrown off by Mezrich's writing style. He just tries too hard. I kept thinking he was trying to be a writer instead of actually being one ("the white and blue-colored crepe of the bowing so low that its taffeta-like curls threatened to overwhelmt he oversize punch bowl perched below"..." is a tame example). I was interested to see I wasn't the only reader annoyed by this. Admittedly in later chapters, I found myself wanting to fin ...more
Himal Kotelawala
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
It's easy to see why so many people seem to dismiss this book as a glorified beach read. At first glance, it's poorly written - and worse - hurriedly edited. Admittedly, it is no masterpiece in terms of writing; but, ultimately, The Accidental Billionaires more than manages to accomplish what it sets out to: to tell an entertaining story as accurately as possible about a bunch of living, breathing multi-billionaires, without its author having to face a lawsuit, or worse.

From Page 1 onwards, you
Although much of Ben Mezrich's information is sketchy at best, he writes a very engaging story of how much blood, sweat and tears were shed in the founding of Facebook. Though he no doubt interviewed some of the key players in this drama, the most important point of view is missing---Mark Zuckerberg's. The drama, ironically, revolves around Zuckerberg yet the author felt he had enough information from other sources to write a book about him. That might be fine for some people, but I had a proble ...more
Steven Levy
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
All you need to do is read the disclaimer where he basically says that he'll make up stuff when he doesn't have a sufficiently dramatic scene to feed Aaron Sorkin, and it's clear that you'll never know what's fiction or nonfiction -- just that he never spoke to his main subject. Read David Kirkpatrick's The Facebook Effect for a solid account of FB.
Aug 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Piece of f***ing crap
Elizabeth Ricks
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm one of the few people I know who DOESN'T have a Facebook profile. Still, I appreciate what Facebook has done to revolutionize social media. While it is sad that several young entrepreneurs feel slighted and betrayed by Mark Zuckerberg, it certainly isn't surprising. Don't most start-up companies have their growing pains? And this is kind of a twist because while the Winklevoss twins think they had the idea, they didn't do any of the coding or creating. This time the guy who actually put in t ...more
John Temple
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a fan of the movie The Social Network, I was surprised to find out how many of the movie's scenes were lifted straight out of the book.
As a writer of nonfiction books that are true to the best of my reporting down to the last detail, I was disappointed how many of those scenes were fabricated. The author at least acknowledged up front that he speculated about the setting and thoughts and words of the participants, working from a framework of reported truth.
The thing was, I don't think the sto
Ericka Clouther
I am torn about how to review this book. Yes, of course, it's as badly written as everyone who read this 10 years ago says it is. And it's ridiculously disgustingly sexist- and it appears to be the author pushing this sexism more than it being a reflection of the subjects of the book. The thing is, 10 years ago, we didn't know that Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook would contribute to the destruction of democracy. While it's not necessarily accurate, it at least lets us see what Eduardo Saverin thoug ...more
I hadn't read any of Mezrich's earlier books, though they are extremely popular in Boston, due to the MIT angle for Bringing Down the House. I expect that some of his earlier work was easier to complete, since he had the cooperation of the people he was profiling. In the case of this book, Mezrich could not get Mark Zuckerberg to go on record. Since the book is about Zuckerberg's (and others') accomplishments in establishing Facebook, I'd have to say that must have been a big disappointment to M ...more
Oct 01, 2010 added it
“The goal for me is to be an entertainer and a personality – Hunter S. Thompson, minus the drugs and the guns and the suicide… I write about kids living this high life, and I do it, too.” – Ben Mezrich

“He’s like the kid who can’t believe he got in.” – Kevin Spacey on Mezrich

“The book isn’t reportage. It’s big juicy fun.” – Todd Doughty (Publicist for The Accidental Billionaires)

Now I like big, juicy fun as much as the next guy, but I was hoping we might spend just a moment with the Author’s Note
An interesting history of the origins of Facebook by a creative Harvard undergraduate interested in facilitating the process of dating. That the social networking software now used by 500 million plus users was invented by a socially inept and ethically handicapped nerd has a certain fable-like quality. The author unfortunately makes extensive use of dubious constructed dialog, which the author based on interviews with one-time friends and early partners who eventually were left in the dust of t ...more
Arun Divakar
Feb 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
I should have turned away the moment I saw A tale of Sex,Money,Genius & Betrayal . This is not much about facebook, it is about Eduardo Saverin and how his dreams of making a million through facebook crashed.

Did you know that Harvard is all about sex ? For all you dunderheads who thought that this school had the best brains, Shame on you !!! A Harvard alumnus tells us that its all about fucking !!! There are such gems of thought scattered throughout the book and the fact that i read this on a
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fatos-reais, cinema
The author's way of writing a real story had already captured me on the other book about the MIT boys and Las Vegas. This time was no different. His storytelling is catchy and you won't stop reading so soon. I finished it in one day, after 200 pages.
Don't be fooled, though. The real story behind the creation of Facebook can be found only with each founder. This book and the movie based on it are only a part of the story.
Also this was the basis for my course conclusion work on journalism, about b
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fast paced book detailing the meteoric rise of Facebook and it's founders. It is pretty amazing. What, however, amazes me even more are the young women, highly educated, mind you, who prostitute themselves willingly for sport with virtual strangers. It is somewhat understandable that women do this for love or money, but what has educating women done for them if they can't respect themselves? I realize that self respect is taught from birth at home, but education should turn on a light ...more
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick -- The Accidental Billionaires 1 7 Nov 16, 2012 06:07AM  

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Ben Mezrich has created his own highly addictive genre of nonfiction, chronicling the amazing stories of young geniuses making tons of money on the edge of impossibility, ethics, and morality.

With his newest non-fiction book, Once Upon a Time in Russia, Mezrich tells his most incredible story yet: A true drama of obscene wealth, crime, rivalry, and betrayal from deep inside the world of billionair

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