Friday, October 25, 2013
Review: 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 by Ben Mezrich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read Mezrich's book after discovering it in the Overdrive ebook section of my library. I was curious as to how it resembled the film THE SOCIAL NETWORK. It turns out that it follows it quite a bit.
Apparently screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and Ben Mezrich were writing their respective works simultaneously yet also independently. They got together a few times and compared notes, but worked in relative isolation from one another. (At least, so says Sorkin on the Wiki page for the film. We'll take him at his word.)
I felt that the film version painted Zuckerberg as a real dick. I wanted to see if the book supported that. I was skeptical, given that Mark did not contribute to the book wheres Eduardo Saverin DID. This makes it look like Mark had something to hide. I can also imagine it was strange and a bit awkward being the center of all of this. I'd probably be reclusive, too.
Nevertheless, the book is quite close to the film. Events are told with slight variation in chronology, and Mezrich does not employ the dual deposition flashback structure used by Sorkin and Scott Rudin in the film.
Mezrich DOES do a fine job of attempting to get inside the minds of the key players, ie Mark, Eduardo, and the Winklevi. He does a good job of proposing what each may have thought and felt, and how the relationships unraveled and led to the lawsuits.
My takeaway from Mezrich's book is that Zuckerberg is not the callous, greedy dick who screwed his business partner, as I felt he was portrayed in the film. Mezrich states that Mark repeatedly asked Eduardo to move to California, but Eduardo did not. Combine that with Eduardo's freezing the meager working capital keeping the fledgling company going, and I can begin to see Mark's point of view. The diluting down of Eduardo's stock to less than a tenth of a percent still seems like a dick move, however. But, we are on the outside looking in, and speculation is merely that.
Overall, a good read. If you've seen the film, you probably don't NEED to read the book, unless you want another take on how it all went down so that you can decide for yourself.
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