The is the story of two socially awkward, Ivy League students and their ploy to up their game with the opposite sex.
This sounds like the plot line for coming of age buddy movie, but this is the real story of Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg and how they created the biggest Social Networking site on the planet.
Eduardo and Mark were Harvard students, best friends and relative outsides despite their intellect and academic prowess. While Eduardo was busy trying to find his own social acceptance in the university’s prestigious Final Clubs – basically high class versions of the stereotypical American Frat houses without the beer pong – Mark, who had a lesser interest in trying to fit in with the status-quo, was using his aptitude with computers to hack into the university IT system to create a database of all the female students on campus. In one night Mark managed to crash the university’s servers and nearly got kicked out of school. Picking up on the success of the site – despite it’s rather misogynistic premise – Eduardo and Mark set out to create The Facebook (as it was called at the time)…
What came about in the following years was drama worthy of a feature film and this book. Full of stories of the venture capitalists at the dawn of the Social Media boom, fraught relationships and lawsuits with Olympic rowers, The Accidental Billionaires at its core is the story of how two men who created a movement that brought people together, had a friendship that completely fell apart.
So what’s my verdict?
If you've seen the movie, The Social Network, you'll know exactly what this book is about. The story of the origins of Facebook is a fascinating one and as much it’s interesting to see how the site developed, Mark and Eduardo’s story is a much more relatable tale. Though on the surface they were two completely different people, their need for social acceptance was what brought them – and their team – together and ultimately tore them apart too.
It’s clear that Mezrich – despite using very credible sources - has taken some liberties with the plot and taken some characterisations of the people in the story to the absolute extreme. At many points you completely forget this is a book based on real events and people, which can make the plotlines seem even more far fetched and ridiculous.
If you’re after a definitive biography of the origins of Facebook then this isn't the book for you. Take the plot line as a fictionalised version of reality and it’s a pretty thrilling ride.
Campus: Vampire Weekend; Can’t Hold Us: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Bass Down Low: DEV; Million Dollar Man: Lana Del Rey; Power: Kanye West; I Don’t Care: Fall Out Boy; Creep: Radiohead
This post was written by regular reviewer Ria, get to know her here.
Photo (c) Ria Cagampang