Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Just Listened To ..."The Accidental Billionaires:"

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

--by Hanje Richards

I remember the horror in my 22 year old son’s voice the day I signed up for Facebook. I was a middle-aged invader into the land of the young and hip.

“You’re kidding….Right?”

But I was not kidding and, like so many others, I was reconnecting with faces and voices right out of my past.

There were days when I felt like I was walking into a bookstore I'd worked in over 20 years ago. And days when I engaged in pure silliness with good friends I only see very occasionally due to geographical constraints. I found it was a way to share my political causes and my personal pleasures. And, I found that I was meeting up with lots of middle-aged and older folks on Facebook. I probably check my Facebook pages more often than my son does.

Accidental Billionaires, written by Ben Mezrich, was fun to listen to and explains some of how Facebook got to be the way it is.

It's the high-energy tale of how two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers, trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex, ended up creating Facebook. Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends – outsiders at a school filled with polished prep-school grads and long-time legacies. They shared both academic brilliance in math and a geeky awkwardness with women.

Mark happened to be a computer genius of the first order. Which he used to find a more direct route to social stardom: one lonely night, Mark hacked into the university's computer system, creating a ratable database of all the female students on campus – and subsequently crashing the university's servers and nearly getting himself kicked out of school.

In that moment, in his Harvard dorm room, the framework for Facebook was born. What followed – a real-life adventure filled with slick venture capitalists, stunning women, and six-foot-five-inch identical-twin Olympic rowers – makes for one of the most entertaining and compelling books of the year.

Before long, Eduardo’s and Mark’s different ideas about Facebook created faint cracks in their relationship, which soon spiraled into out-and-out warfare. The collegiate exuberance that marked their collaboration fell prey to the adult world of lawyers and money.

Sound like a good read or good listen? Then check out The Accidental Billionaires at your Copper Queen Library!