One-Minute Book Reviews

February 25, 2010

2010 Delete Key Awards Finalist #6 — ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook’ by Ben Mezrich

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:24 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Update, Feb. 6, 2011: The screenplay for movie The Social Network was adapted from The Accidental Billionaires.

From Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal (Doubleday)

“His hands roamed under her open white shirt, tracing the soft material of her red bra, his fingers lingering over her perky, round breasts, touching the silky texture of her perfect caramel skin. She gasped, her lips closing against the side of his neck, her tongue leaping out, tasting him. His entire body started to quiver, and he rocked forward, pushing her harder against the stall, feeling her writhe into him. His lips found her ear and she gasped again –”
Has any other author written such purple prose about the Harvard students who put Facebook in the black?

Also from The Accidental Billionaires:

“the end was really a foregone conclusion.”

“Eduardo had spent many evenings in the stacks of Widener – poring through the works of economic theorists such as Adam Smith, John Mills [sic], even Galbraith.”

“Maybe feeding the chicken chicken was a mistake; how was he supposed to know what chickens ate? The thing hadn’t come with a manual. Eduardo had gone to a Jewish prep school in Miami. What the hell did Jews know about chickens, other than the fact that they made good soup?”

Read the full review of The Accidental Billionaires.

The 10 Delete Key Awards finalists are being named in random order, beginning with No. 10, but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 6. Janice Harayda also writes about the awards on her Twitter page (@janiceharayda) at www.twitter.com/janiceharayda. The Delete Key Awards winner and runners up will be announced on One-Minute Book Reviews and on Twitter on March 15.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

October 26, 2009

Getting Lucky at Harvard — Ben Mezrich’s Tale of the Founding of Facebook, ‘The Accidental Billionaires’

That red lace bra on the cover is the first red flag

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. By Ben Mezrich. Doubleday, 260 pp., $25.

By Janice Harayda

A new art form may have emerged in this heavy-breathing, sensationalized account of the founding of Facebook: pulp nonfiction. Ben Mezrich warns you up front that he wrote The Accidental Billionaires without interviewing Mark Zuckerberg, who created the first version of the social networking site by hacking into Harvard University computers, downloading students’ photos, and posting them online.

With no access to the prime mover of Facebook, Mezrich tells his tale through techniques such as “re-created dialogue,” scenes set in “likely” settings, and “imagined” descriptions. He also draws heavily on talks with Eduardo Saverin, who helped to bankroll the start-up as a Harvard undergraduate and later successfully sued for the right to be listed as a co-founder of the site. You know all those “disgruntled former employees” you used to read about before a lot of newspapers banned both that clichéd phrase and stories by driven their views? Mezrich doesn’t use those words — and Saverin wasn’t an employee but a partner — but The Accidental Billionaires suggests why the technique has fallen out of favor.

You get a fine sense of the book from a bathroom sex scene that has Saverin undressing a “tall, slender Asian girl” at Harvard who wears a red lace bra under a white shirt. Men, how often have you fantasized about finding yourself in such a situation only to discover to your regret that wearing a red bra under a white shirt is something that women never, ever do? Have you been forced to conclude that for far too many members of the other sex, this particular sartorial blunder makes visible panty line look like chump change? Are you wondering if that “Asian girl” was simply displaying an admirable loyalty to her school by wearing its colors for sex in a bathroom stall and that you haven’t seen it because you haven’t dated enough Harvard undergraduates lately? Or do you think the woman didn’t wear that combination but that someone decided that a red bra would work best on a book cover? Perhaps Mezrich believes people won’t mind his failure to answer questions like these. Or perhaps he thinks, as he writes in another context, “they’d hopefully see the humor in the situation.”

Best line: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s business card has a line running across the center that says, “I’m the CEO – Bitch.”

Worst lines: No. 1: “the end was really a foregone conclusion.” No. 2: “the moment itself became historical only in retrospect.” No. 3: “Thankfully, the Phoenix leadership hadn’t traced the fiasco back to Eduardo yet — though even if they did, they’d hopefully see the humor in the situation.” No. 4: “Eduardo had spent many evenings in the stacks of Widener – poring through the works of economic theorists such as Adam Smith, John Mills [sic], even Galbraith.” No. 5 “[Lawrence] Summers shook his head. His jowls reverberated with the motion, like fleshy waves swirling in an epidermal storm.” No. 6: “Slowly, Summers leaned forward, and his chubby hand crawled across his desk.” No. 7: “Both had bright red lipstick and too much eyeshadow, but they were damn cute — and they were smiling and pointing right at him.” No. 8: “His hands roamed under her open white shirt, tracing the soft material of her red bra, his fingers lingering over her perky, round breasts, touching the silky texture of her perfect caramel skin. She gasped, her lips closing against the side of his neck, her tongue leaping out, tasting him. His entire body started to quiver, and he rocked forward, pushing her harder against the stall, feeling her writhe into him. His lips found her ear and she gasped again –”  No. 9:At nine a.m. in the morning, in the Eliot dining hall, he had walked right up to the hottest girl he knew – Marsha, blond, buxom, in reality an econ major but she looked like a psychology major.” No. 10: “Maybe feeding the chicken chicken was a mistake; how was he supposed to know what chickens ate? The thing hadn’t come with a manual. Eduardo had gone to a Jewish prep school in Miami. What the hell did Jews know about chickens, other than the fact that they made good soup?”

Editor: Bill Thomas

Published: July 2009

About the author: Mezrich wrote Bringing Down the House, made into the movie 21. He lives in Boston. Kevin Spacey is producing a movie version of The Accidental Billionaires called The Social Network.

Janice Harayda is a novelist and award-winning journalist who has been the book critic for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and a vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

October 25, 2009

Tomorrow — Getting Lucky at Harvard, a Review of Ben Mezrich’s Tale of the Founding of Facebook, ‘The Accidental Billionaires’

Filed under: News,Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Is Ben Mezrich turning into the male Danielle Steel of nonfiction? You might wonder after reading passages like this one from his new The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal (Doubleday, 260, $25):

“His hands roamed under her open white shirt, tracing the soft material of her red bra, his fingers lingering over her perky, round breasts, touching the silky texture of her perfect caramel skin. She gasped, her lips closing against the side of his neck, her tongue leaping out, tasting him. His entire body started to quiver, and he rocked forward, pushing her harder against the stall, feeling her writhe into him. His lips found her ear and she gasped again –”

Does The Accidental Billionaires have more going for — or against — it than this sort of purple prose? A review of the book will appear tomorrow on One-Minute Book Reviews.

October 22, 2009

The Red Lace Bra on the Cover Is Pretty, But Would You Want to Sleep With the Writing in ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook’?

Filed under: News,Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 8:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Can there be any redeeming traits to a book full of lines like “the end was really a foregone conclusion”? Or is that pretty red lace bra on the cover the most appealing thing about The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal? A review of Ben Mezrich’s book will appear soon on One-Minute Book Reviews.

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 373 other followers

%d bloggers like this: