“Accidental Billionaires” tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. In an author’s note, Mezrich allows that he invents dialogue, synthesizes details, and puts imagined thoughts into his characters’ heads. Indeed, the resulting book reads like a novel – alas, a generic young-adult novel with crude plotting, cheesy descriptive passages, and grade-school vocabulary.
Clearly Mezrich is no scholarly historian. But despite an emphasis on engaging characters and a compelling story, and despite his self-described immersion in the world of Facebook’s founders, Mezrich’s is a haphazard and clumsy book.
Barely 20 years old, Mark Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University. He was also an impulsive hacker and an asocial loner, a mystery even to his more socially ambitious friend Eduardo Saverin. Then he turned a dating site proposed by upperclassmen (whose legal challenges continue to bedevil Facebook today) into a social-networking service for students at elite colleges, clumsily rebranding it as “TheFacebook.com, a Mark Zuckerberg Production.”
Recognizing Facebook’s game-changing power, Saverin underwrote Zuckerberg’s project, offering himself as a business partner and adviser and putting money he’d earned as an investment prodigy on the line.