Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Accidental Billionaires (on CD)

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook - a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
by Ben Mezrich [Compact Disc 338.76 FacYm]

For those interested in the details and personalities associated with the origin of today's hottest social-networking site, Facebook, this is a fascinating, if depressing read. Or listen, in this case, since I ended up trying this as a book-on-cd. Facebook only started within the past 5 years, so there's a sense of immediacy to the telling of the creation of this online behemoth. The subtitle of this book, "a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal" pretty much sums it all up. Facebook began as an experiment by a couple of Harvard geeks to catalog and "rate" the women at their university, then rapidly grew into a more broadscale site that allowed people to identify and associate with their friends and/or interest groups online in a way that had not been done before. Adding users campus by campus, before ultimately taking Facebook to the general public (where it now flourishes), programmer Mark Zuckerberg and his college friend and financial backer Eduardo Saverin launched the site from a Harvard dorm room on a single laptop. The trail from that humble beginning to the multiple millions who use the service now is strewn with broken friendships, misappropriated intellectual property, mangled egos and numerous lawsuits. Despite the dark tone, I found this to be a fascinating topic, and the audio narration by Mike Chamberlain was very well done. If you're into contemporary web trends, I recommend trying this book out. After finishing it, I've seen online commentaries indicating Mezrich soft-peddled a lot of the conflicts between the major players, but The Accidental Billionaires is still worth reading to get a sense of what was involved in the birth and explosive growth of Facebook. [Note: One warning I would offer -- the language is definitely "R" rated in this particular book/book-on-cd. Listener beware!] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in print format.]

[ publisher's official Accidental Billionaires web site ] | [ official Ben Mezrich web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

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