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

AUTHOR - Ben Mezrich is an American writer. He graduated with a degree from Harvard University in 1991. Some of his books have been written under the alias name Holden Scott. He is known for his non-fiction books.

BEST-SELLERS - Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions , Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History, Busting Vegas : The MIT whiz kid who brought the casinos to their knees.

Accidental Billionaires is a novelized account of the creation of Facebook, mostly from the point of view of the collaborators that Mark Zuckerberg eventually betrayed or cut out from Facebook. It begins at Harvard with the "punching" of Eduardo Saverin for a Final Club, an elite membership system at Harvard University. Eduardo makes the cut for the Phoenix but along the way befriends a shy, blank-faced kid named Mark. While Eduardo supplies girls for them to hook up with, Mark first creates Facemash, which is similar to Hot or Not, except students can rate girls' photos based on other girls' photos instead of a number scale. The popularity of the site crashes Mark's laptop and gets him in trouble with the administrative board since he hacked into the dormitory websites in order to obtain the photos. From there, Mark gets the idea for Facebook (then called The Facebook) around the same time that three other students approach him to code a social networking and dating website for Harvard students. Eduardo puts up the money for the servers and The Facebook is launched, to the complete surprise of the three students who assumed he was working on their project only. Thus begins a legal battle from the Winklevoss twins, starting with an appeal to the disciplinary board of Harvard. As The Facebook begins to gain in popularity in Harvard and a few other schools, Mark decides to hire some interns and move to Silicon Valley, in a sublet in Palo Alto to concentrate on The Facebook. Here he meets up with Sean Parker, of Napster and Plaxo fame. Eduardo, meanwhile, is still on the East Coast, trying to drum up advertising revenues for Facebook. While Facebook is in California, Eduardo finds it difficult to maintain his position in the company and is sneakily ousted from his 30% share of the company in a series of legal maneuvers. Even Sean Parker is dumped from the team after funding is secured from venture capitalists. The book ends with a "where are they now" epilogue that contains very little information since most of the lawsuit results are sealed and confidential, and the assertion that Facebook is more popular than ever.


The central idea was simple: put Harvard’s social life online, make a site where guys like Tyler and Cameron—who spent all their time rowing, eating, and sleeping—could meet up with girls—like the ones stealing glances at them from the next table over—without all the inefficient, time-wasting, wandering around campus that real life usually necessitated.

The project was called the Harvard Connection, and it was a Web site that was going to change life on campus—if they could only get someone to write the computer code that would make it work. The central idea was simple: put Harvard’s social life online, make a site where guys like Tyler and Cameron—who spent all their time rowing, eating, and sleeping—could meet up with girls—like the ones stealing glances at them from the next table over—without all the inefficient, time-wasting, wandering around campus that real life usually necessitated.

Having been a part of two major companies—and witnessed many more successes and failures—he knew that the most important aspect of a start-up was the energy and ambition of the founding players. If you were going to do something like this—really do it, really succeed—you had to live and breathe the project. Every minute of every day.

The Porcellian’s motto—dum vivimus, vivamus, “while we live, let’s live”—did

The thing about the Internet was, it wasn’t pencil, it was pen. You put something out there, you couldn’t erase it.

You didn’t go on MySpace to communicate, you went there to show yourself off. It was like one big narcissistic playground

What happens when the guy standing next to you catches a lightning bolt? Does it carry you up to the stratosphere along with him? Or do you simply get charred trying to hold on?

“Hacker. Dropout. CEO!”


A pleasant worthy read for an astonishing insight on something we use everyday!

I read this book after watching the movie social network(which was adapted from it), which is something stupid cos you have to actually do the other way round to get the most out of it. Yet even after knowing a lot of plot ends and sequence of the entire storyline, the book still entertained me thoroughly.
The writing style is not like investigative journalism or light throwing report but contrary to them. This is more of a recreation of the events, keeping in mind the pace of the whole drama and fun aspect associated with the reading. I guess on both these grounds, because of its unapologetic approach, the book ends up scoring a high on me personally.
I am not a non fiction reader much and neither is a biographical movies lovers but both the book and the adapted screen form are created with pace of a fiction thriller, alongside the narration of true events, a style which is rare in terms of perfect implementation like this one.
It also is a must read for friends who aspire to work together on something at some point of time in life. It ironically focuses on how priorities change within the bond of friendship as it explores avenues of profit and loss together. It also points on individual shortcomings of certain people who apart from being brilliant in thing they created, ended up losing their peers due to runaway ego's and creative over ambitiousness. This book shall serve as a substantial read from start to end.

RATING - 4/5. A must read for all FB addicts who actually value and ponder upon the intellectual creation of it, rather then just being one in a million consumer. Also a must read for those who have entrepreneurial dreams, I am one of them!

PS - 5/5 on The film adaptation by David Fincher; it is one of those amazing movies who holds onto screenplay with absolute class. It is a must watch! I mean, of all the movies last year, I think on an overall worth value in terms of every aspect, be it direction , acting, background score, editing etc this movie score a high 5. Unfortunately it lost the best film academy award even after winning the BAFTA and Golden Globe for the same category. Watch it today if you haven't done it yet!

Rs 399 listed on the tag, discounted to Rs 285 at National Book Depot, Kanpur (central station, platform 1 branch) . First edition of the hard copy -
Original Language: English
Publisher: Doubleday
Country: USA
Publication Date: 2009


  1. WTF!!!
    Damn, i kinda thought Mark was a hero-ish type. I didnt watch the movie though now i will surely read this book.

  2. i have watched the movie but always wanted to read the book ,, thanks fr telling the name :) was lazy to find !! nice review !

  3. The perfect book to what in my opinion is a perfect movie!


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